Angel Witch -

Angel Witch Biography

Heavy Metal - Great Britain


Angel Witch discography

Angel Witch biography


Angel Witch formed in the late 1970s from the ashes of the band Lucifer. Led by virtuoso guitarist Kevin Heybourne, they soon became one of the leading bands of the NWOBHM and a major influence on dark metal throughout the 1980s as well as the 1990s. The line-up stabilised for some time by 1979 with :- Kevin Heybourne (lead guitar, vocals), Skids (bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), and Dave Hogg (drums, percussion).

Angel Witch was at its most active at this time, appearing on the Friday Rock Show in 1979, from which the track "Baphomet" would be taken to appear on the legendary EMI compilation "Metal For Muthas". Oddly enough, the band's appearance on BBC's Friday Rock Show compilation records was taken from a 1979 demo tape and not from those BBC sessions. The band was signed to EMI Records with Iron Maiden, but the band was dropped very quickly afterwards (it may have had something to do with the fact that the band's first single " Sweet Danger " failed to remain on the pop charts longer than one week after its #75 debuting position). Despite this, Angel Witch were invited to perform at the Heavy Metal Mayhem Barn Dance with other contemporary luminaries Saxon, Motorhead, Girlschool, Vardis, and Mythra. The band signed onto Bronze Records after this concert performance. Recordings by this line-up were: "1979 Demo" , " Sweet Danger EP", "Gorgon" (single), "Angel Witch" (album).

Following the recording and touring of the debut LP, Day Hogg left the band. He was succeeded by Dave Dufort, who was the brother of Girlschool's drummer Denise. This line-up only recorded one EP, called " Loser ".

Towards the end of 1981, Angel Witch had dissolved, with Skids and Dave Dufort forming the pop dark metal band Tytan and Kevin Heybourne joining Deep Machine.
In 1982, Kevin Heybourne wanted to reassemble Angel Witch, and he, Roger Marsden (vocals), and Ricky Bruce (drums) left Deep Machine, adding bassist Jerry Cunningham to become a quartet. Roger Marsden's voice was deemed inappropriate for the band's sound, so the line-up of Angel Witch changed again.

Roger Marsden was sacked from the band, so Angel Witch decided to go back to a trio of Kevin Heybourne (guitar and vocals), Jerry Cunningham (bass), and Ricky Bruce (drums). This line-up made very few recordings, the only commercially available recording was a live album called "' 82 Revisited - Live At The East Anglia Rock Festival Mildenhall". This contained a short live set of about 35 minutes, plus three re-recorded studio tracks with Kevin Heybourne on vocals throughout.
Later that year, Kevin Heybourne split the band up, and in 1983, he and singer Lou Taylor joined forces to form Blind Fury, a soft rock band.

In 1984, Kevin Heybourne reformed Angel Witch yet again, taking bassist Peter Gordelier with him and calling Dave Hogg back into the line-up. Dave Tattum joined the band as a singer, and together, they recorded the album "Screamin' N' Bleedin'". However, after the release of this album, Dave Hogg left the band, and was succeeded by Spencer Hollman.
This line-up recorded and released just one album, " Frontal Assault ". However, these two albums "Screamin' N' Bleedin'" and " Frontal Assault " were seen as a departure from the Angel Witch of old, and as Kevin Heybourne explains, "The albums were a total mistake...I was trying to get into more melodic stuff, but it didn't work..."

Dave Tattum left the band soon afterwards and the band forged on for the next two or so years as a trio. The band made an appearance in 1987 at the Dynamo, with the band becoming heavier in sound.

In 1989, Jeff Weller, manager of the band Laaz Rockit, organised a tour through California for Angel Witch, adding Grant Dennison on rhythm guitar, to support Laaz Rockit. Angel Witch recorded a live record on this tour: imaginatively called "Live". This was released by Metal Blade records, and was not considered to as good an album as "' 82 Revisited ".

Heybourne considered moving Angel Witch to USA, but because the rest of the band had too many commitments in the UK, Heybourne came to San Francisco alone to make yet another new Angel Witch. Jon Torres, the bassist of Laaz Rockit, and Heybourne started spending time playing together and so an American line-up was established. Tom Hunting eventually joined the line-up through a mutual friend. This line-up recorded a demo that was critically acclaimed, although nothing much happened afterwards. Guitarist Doug Piercy joined the band and the quartet continued work with their new material while Jeff Weller continued focus on his main band Laaz Rockit, which led to conflicts between Weller and Angel Witch.

Angel Witch continued under new management but because Heybourne had no work permit at the time, he was arrested the day before the first Angel Witch USA gig and deported while the rest of the band performed the concert using proceeds to pay for his attorney. The USA line-up dissolved immediately, although apparently Jon Torres and Kevin Heybourne still keep in contact so there is some possibility that the band might resurface again under yet another incarnation.
A compilation of demos was released in 1999 called " Resurrection " and all initial copies of the CD sold out within two months.

Lots of gigs were planned over spring and summer 2000, but conflicts in the band led to Kevin assembling an all-new Angel Witch line-up in summer 2000.

Over the 4th and 5th of August, Angel Witch performed at the great Waken Festival in Germany. Playing a long set comprising of many older tunes, it was one of the first gigs to show the all-new (apart from Kevin Heybourne) Angel Witch line-up.