Witch Cross – Angel of Death
Reviewed: July 2021
Released: 2021, High Roller Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Like so many of their peers from metal’s classic era, Denmark’s Witch Cross released their debut album in 1984 and quickly found themselves in the loving company of so many other bands that “could’ve been…” Almost 30 years later and with a revamped lineup, Witch Cross returned with a proper sophomore LP AXE TO GRIND, which made some some waves in the trad metal circles but didn’t quite land the knockout punch they were hoping for. Fast forward another 8 years and with some additional lineup swizzles, we find ourselves with album #3, ANGEL OF DEATH. Despite the associations with that other band that we immediately associate “Angel of Death” with, said album turns out to be a remarkably solid platter of classic heavy metal.
With only a vague knowledge that Witch Cross used to be a thing, I was greeted with a collection of tunes that were immediately catchy, confident, well crafted and all together pretty fantastic. Tracks like “Marauders” and “The Chosen One” straddle a line between Dio and Tony Martin era Sabbath, while “Siren’s Song” recalls some Messiah-era Candlemass melodies. And gems like “Phoenix Fire”, “Eye of the Storm” and the almost ballad “The Chose One” are just beautifully executed heavy metal tunes. There were plenty of moments across ANGEL OF DEATH where I found myself making associations between this band and that band, but at the end of it all, I only found myself wanting to hear the album one more time. Props to current vocalist Kev Moore; sounding like Blaze Bayley by way of Ozzy, he offers a restrained sort of confidence in his delivery that works to compliment the music vs overshadowing it.
ANGEL OF DEATH has quickly become one of my favorite go-to records of the season. With so many gimmicks, schticks and one-upmanship in metal today, it’s incredibly refreshing to hear a band like Witch Cross just play quality tunes. Good things come to those who wait, and this may just be the moment for Witch Cross.