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Angel Witch has the honor of being recognized as one of the first NWOBHM bands – May 8, 1979 would be the night they gigged with Samson and Iron Maiden, a show called the Metal Crusade Music Machine. It was Geoff Barton who reviewed the show and is said to have originally coined the phrase, but I’m sure there’re a few other people out there who’ll take credit. Perhaps Neal Kay and his renown Soundhouse tapes (most infamous for the Dec. 1978 Iron Maiden recordings).
Two versions of Sweet Danger were released in ‘80, one of which had the extra track “Hades Paradise”, making it an ep, and which one came first is up for grabs.
Picture this guy Barton trying to describe the title cut. Was it traditional? What the hell was traditional then? UFO? Status Quo? Judas Priest? Starz? God, this must’ve been so fresh compared to the punk and tiresome hard rock much of the mid-late ‘70s wallowed in (the early ‘70s is another matter though, so don’t even get me started). The beginning of “Sweet Danger” could be Maiden in another guise…then again for all we know these guys influenced Maiden. Why not? Starting with a great collective surge of guitars and bass that rolls off their instruments like aural alliteration, the track is then vitalized by a simple, catchy chorus and a main rhythm that does nothing to downplay the new style. The vocals are a high mid-range and are one of the pioneers of what would become known as typical for this genre. Not quite as invigorating, “Flight Nineteen” is a little more their own style, strange with its down-turning rhythm and a chorus that only lyrically differentiates from the rest of the song, and to their credit floats away from any Maidenism.
A nifty little two-songer that raises brows amongst some collectors, NWOBHM cartwheeler or not. It’s also fun to rewind time and hear something that was truly original and it not be Maiden, Priest, or Sabbath. Too bad Saxon wasn’t at that show.