By looking at the cover of this album, you might be fooled into thinking
that any band that descends to showing a woman's tits on an album cover is
doing so because that's all they've really got going for them. Not in this
case - for Witchfinder General, it's a perfect extension of the music.
Witchfinder General were one of the many bands of the NWOBHM scene, but
their style was closer to Black Sabbath, in a psychedelic stoner-rock-metal
kind of way - the band glorified mindless sex and drug use to the point of
self-destructive nihilism, and occasionally threw in an 'evil' song for
good measure (musically, think of mid-era Trouble and you'll be close).
The rhythm section of Woolfy Trope (bass) and Graham Ditchfield (drums)
laid a good foundation for guitarist Phil Cope's excellent Iommi-inspired
riffing, but Cope's much more adept and energetic soloing added a bit more
of a modern flair to the Sabbath-esque sound. The most unique facet of the
band, though, was frontman Zeeb Parkes' vocals - he uses some combination
of nasal whine and indistinct mumbling that actually comes off quite a bit
better than that description - truly unique, and something that must be
heard to be understood.
The whole album is great, but particular standouts are the opener
"Invisible Hate" (an ode to 'sex, drugs, rock, and beer'), the tale of
satanic grave-robbing in "RIP", and "No Stayer" - a modernized-rip-off of
Rat Salad that morphs into a hymn to the one-night stand, complete with a
straight, pounding rhythm and tacky double-entendre lyrics. Despite the
album's age, it has stood the test of time very well, and it was reissued
on CD in the not-too-distant past, so get one before they go away again.
© 1999 lord vic