WITCHFINDER GENERAL Friends of Hell (February 1st 1983)
No, not the Vincent Price movie.
I enjoy a lot of bands who were influenced by Witchfinder General and I've heard songs by them but I've never sat down and listened to an album in full.
It kicks off with "Love on Smack" and the structure and main riff sound like something I'd hear on a punk record or something. It breaks down into a more doomy style and I'm liking it. For some reason I had it in my head that these guys had a "hate it or love it" kind of vocal style but it's pretty standard stuff.
"Last Chance" is more like what I expected going into this. Classic NWOBHM riff. Catchy stuff but two songs in and I'm feeling like I'm going to have a bunch of competent yet unspectacular songs.
"Music" starts off with a nice doomy riff and I'm liking the slight pitch change in the vocals as each line pans between the right and left speaker. Another song that while not bad, fails to impress.
The title track gets my head moving and is one of the strongest on the record. I'm a huge Pagan Altar fan and I could see them doing the main riff, so I might be biased, otherwise it's nothing to write home about. The breakdown in the middle of this track is just way too long. I was hoping it would pick up and take the song up into a different level and it did, but it was still way too long.
For the record, I rarely notice drums but I really don't like the drums on this album.
Another thing is that they don't seem to know how to end a song. A couple have already just kind of faded out which is a pet peeve of mine.
"Requiem For Youth" has another standard style NWOBHM riff and is that audible bass I hear? Indeed it is. Ok I get it now. The vocals are beginning to grate on me a little bit, so I'm pretty sure I was right on about "love it or hate it" style vocals. Love hearing the bass though.
Next up is a ballad "I Lost You" and I've heard this before. Not sure where, not sure how and I had no idea that it was Witchfinder General. Short little acoustic track. Nothing terrible, nothing memorable.
"Quietus" is more Sabbath worship but it probably contains the best riff of the record. The solo at the end is placed inexplicably low in the mix. Kind of strange. The song fades out and comes back for about 10 seconds for no good reason at all.
When all is said and done, this is an average record. Overly long and reptitive, I wish the whole album was Doom instead of Doom sprinkled with NWOBHM as they are much better as a Doom band.