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Witchfinder General | Live 83 | review | metal | Lollipop

Witchfinder General

Live '83 (Nuclear War Now!)
by Martin Popoff

Witchfinder General's stock has quietly grown over the 23 years they've been embalmed and becalmed like that icy dame in the gate of We Sold our Soul for Rock 'n' Roll. Their two arch-NWOBHM albums, Death Penalty and Friends of Hell, are now widely considered two of the first precious doom albums ever, save for the works of Sabbath and a half dozen weaker pale arguments for fit. Now, after years of countless doom imitators, discerning fan Russ Vrankovich has done a great metal service in arranging this authorized archival live CD. Unfortunately, the sound is pretty much boot quality, but what's engrained in the molten madness is sweet and salacious carb-loading. The bulbous guitars of Phil Cope pour out of tortured woofers like, er, a Sabbath boot, say Live At Last, which, yes, is pretty much a boot. Vocalist Zeeb Parkes is slightly more ragged and less accurate than he is on the studio albums, but the boyishness and spontaneity and preaching piety with which he worships these great songs... what a great moment in metal time. The 12 tracks and 67 dark, gray minutes enclosed cover almost all of both albums, but unfortunately, no rarities. Fortunately, though, the history lesson winds up with a thundering rendition of "Love on Smack," arguably the band's most erudite gutting and broiling of the doom genre.


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