Witchfynde

Give 'Em Hell

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New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands came in many guises: Sabbath-derived traditionalists, flash-rocking Priest disciples, and even punk-inflected garage rockers. But as would become apparent with Iron Maiden's later releases, many acts also looked to '70s progressive rock dinosaurs like Genesis and Yes for inspiration. Only, when combined with the N.W.O.B.H.M.'s seemingly counter-intuitive "do it yourself" ethic, these progressive rock excesses made for a very strange and positively explosive mix of extremes. Mansfield's Witchfynde fell squarely into this category, for though their lyrics often echoed the faux-satanic imagery espoused by contemporaries like Venom and Angel Witch, the band's complex compositions quickly revealed their progressive rock fetishes, among which late-70's Rush was by far the most obvious. So whilst made-to-order singles like the title track; "Ready to Roll"; and the silly, clearly forced "Pay Now -- Love Later" catered to the simplistic hard rock trends of the day, the best offerings on the band's 1980 debut, Give 'Em Hell were those which thrived on shifting time signatures and epic arrangements. These included expansive cuts like "Unto the Ages of the Ages," and possibly their best-known track, "Leaving Nadir" -- an unabashed tribute (some would say "retread") of Geddy Lee and Co.'s "Xanadu." All of which makes Give 'Em Hell one of the more original and surprisingly lasting documents from this exciting era for heavy metal.

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