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Witchfinder General : Friends of Hell

Witchfinder General is considered to be one of the more important bands connected to the formation of doom-metal. Although their impact has been perhaps less than that of bands like Black Sabbath and Pentagram it will be hard to find any older doomster who does not know of Witchfinder General. This is their second full length and again the cover shows the band torturing half nude women (and you new metal fans thought Napalm Records where the first to think of putting naked women on the covers of metal CDs to sell them to overly hormonal metal kids huh?).

Compared to their debut this one is perhaps a bit more metal and a little less rock. But all in all both releases are clearly identifiable. If you like one, you're bound to like the other. Overall the band plays mid-tempo songs and mix in that early 'Sabbathy vibe with more just good old NWOBHM. This is also why they at the time of release were considered to be just NWOBHM and the doom tag only came later. Al through I have also heard that Kerrang! Magazine at the time already mentioned them as being doom-metal (using the term far before Candlemass released their debut album).

I myself am also a tad hesitant to call this pure doom-metal to be honest. I know with this I'll tread on the souls of a lot of old doom hippies, but to me this at most is "proto-doom". I love Witchfinder General, especially as it gives me a lot of fond memories of when I first got into metal and the type of bands I enjoyed back then (I discovered Witchfinder General much later however). It reminds me of the good old heavy metal days, injected with a good dose of 'Sabbath-like riffs. I believe them to be influential on the development off doom-metal and you can hear doomy riffs all over the place. The overall concept and feel of the music however to me remains NWOBHM alike. As such I find the description "proto-doom" to be best suited. I'll patiently wait for the "old doomsters lynching party" who I am sure will disagree with me on this.

All in all this is a great and high quality early 80's proto doom release and it is part of doom-metal's history. If your into NWOBHM alike doom, or riffing doom you probably already know and own this, so I won't need to tell you to buy it. If you're a newer doom fan and want to go on a trip through time and learn a bit about doom-metal's past, this is a definite release to check out (together with their debut album).

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Love on Smack
2. Last Chance
3. Music
4. Friends of Hell
5. Requiem for Youth
6. Shadowed Images
7. I Lost you
8. Quietus Reprise

Duration : Approx. 36 minutes.

Visit the Witchfinder General bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Aldo Quispel
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