Angel Witch

Frontal Assault

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Clearly, Angel Witch was onto something when the band recorded its 1980 self-titled debut, but the enormously different career paths (and creative achievements) of this band versus its more essential New Wave of British Heavy Metal brethren (Iron Maiden, most notably) demonstrate the importance of a cohesive band lineup and the elusive nature of genuine musical and personal chemistry. While many bands have survived occasional member changes (Van Halen, Metallica, etc.), many more suffer creatively, if they survive at all. Frontal Assault, the fourth recording from Angel Witch, features the third lineup for the band, and only one member (band founder Kevin Heybourne on guitars and vocals) remains from the group's seminal debut. While this 1986 offering isn't a bad effort -- there are a few decent tracks, including "Rendezvous With the Blade" and "Take to the Wing" -- the general sonic and personal disconnect between this and nearly every Angel Witch disc always prevented the group from capitalizing on the popularity of a musical genre it had helped to pioneer. Longtime fans of the band (or more appropriately, fans of Heybourne) might very well enjoy Frontal Assault, but by the time of this album's release, Angel Witch's failure to build upon or even sustain its early achievements had already relegated the group to secondary standing within the NWOBHM universe. While respectable, this record provides little evidence that would aid Heybourne in challenging that status.

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