7 Songs, 30 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With its 1982 debut album, Death Penalty, Stourbridge, England's Witchfinder General garnered two tiers of controversy. First, the cover art featured the band ravishing topless model Joanne Latham. Second, the band starkly set itself apart from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal by mining much of its sound from early Black Sabbath. Its song “Free Country” mimicked Sabbath’s “Paranoid” right down to the galloping rhythms and sludgy, driving guitar riffs. “Invisible Hate” opens the set with a little more originality, as Phil Cope’s guitars go from lilting, acoustic folk arpeggios to the hard-blasting walls of distortion and sludge that helped make him and Witchfinder General a pioneer of doom metal. Zeeb Parkes puts his own twist on an Ozzy-inspired howl throughout Death Penalty, especially on the gloomy title track and “No Stayer,” a proto-metal juggernaut with mammoth riffs that must have confused the more technically focused heavy metal guitarists during an era of advancing fretboard wizardry. “R.I.P.” closes with the golden grooves of a cowbell.

EDITORS’ NOTES

With its 1982 debut album, Death Penalty, Stourbridge, England's Witchfinder General garnered two tiers of controversy. First, the cover art featured the band ravishing topless model Joanne Latham. Second, the band starkly set itself apart from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal by mining much of its sound from early Black Sabbath. Its song “Free Country” mimicked Sabbath’s “Paranoid” right down to the galloping rhythms and sludgy, driving guitar riffs. “Invisible Hate” opens the set with a little more originality, as Phil Cope’s guitars go from lilting, acoustic folk arpeggios to the hard-blasting walls of distortion and sludge that helped make him and Witchfinder General a pioneer of doom metal. Zeeb Parkes puts his own twist on an Ozzy-inspired howl throughout Death Penalty, especially on the gloomy title track and “No Stayer,” a proto-metal juggernaut with mammoth riffs that must have confused the more technically focused heavy metal guitarists during an era of advancing fretboard wizardry. “R.I.P.” closes with the golden grooves of a cowbell.

TITLE TIME
6:05
3:10
5:35
4:25
3:51
3:28
4:04

About Witchfinder General

In their time, Witchfinder General was considered one of the less-important bands to emerge from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement, but they have become a popular early influence among bands in the doom metal scene. Formed in 1980 by Zeeb Parkes (vocals), Phil Cope (guitars), Woolfy Trope (bass), and Graham Ditchfield (drums), the band was heavily influenced by Black Sabbath and released only two albums, 1982's Death Penalty and the following year's Friends of Hell, before breaking up. Ironically, these became more notorious for their comical covers (featuring the band in medieval costumes torturing semi-naked women) than the band's raw, post-Sabbath grind. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia

Top Songs by Witchfinder General

Top Albums by Witchfinder General

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