Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Rocktober Deep Cut Artist #18: Witchfinder General

For the criteria for bands and artists to be considered "deep cut artists," click here.

Band or artist:  Witchfinder General
Where from:  England
Years active:  1979-1984, 2006-2008
Number of studio albums:  3
Highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100:  N/A
Highest-charting studio album on the Billboard 200:  N/A

Today's Deep Cut Artist is Witchfinder General, who hailed from the glass-making capital Stourbridge, in England's West Midlands.  Named after a 1968 Vincent Price horror film of the same name, Witchfinder General were part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and like yesterday's Deep Cut Artist, Pentagram, considered pioneers of the doom metal genre.

The band released two albums in the early '80s, 1982's Death Penalty and 1983's Friends of Hell, both of which are both great metal albums.  I put them more in the category of Sabbath-inspired NWOBHM than doom metal, but genres are pliable, I suppose, and what is doom metal if not Sabbath-inspired metal?  Both of their first two album covers feature the band members on church grounds, surrounding scantily clad and/or topless women.  The cover for Death Penalty was taken in a church cemetery, with model Joanne Latham, topless, with a constable of some sort holding a knife to her throat and a soldier, a priest, and a deacon surrounding her.  It appears to be some sort of exorcism or sacrifice, as presumably she is a witch.  The cover of Friends of Hell also features Latham and some other scantily clad ladies -– again, presumably witches –- in front of a church, being held at bay by a soldier and some priests.

But I digress.  The band broke up in 1984, and their influence spread amongst the metal community.  In 2006, the band reunited and released a third album, the appropriately titled Resurrected, in 2008.  No funbags on the cover of that one, though.

With a name like Witchfinder General, it seems appropriate to use them as a Deep Cut Artist during Halloween week.  Like other NWOBHM bands, such as Angel Witch, Diamond Head, Cloven Hoof, Grim Reaper, Witchfynde, and Venom, Witchfinder General mixed wicked guitars and driving beats with dark imagery and lyrics about sorcery, evil, and the like.  The song I'm going with is the title track off of Friends of Hell.  It's a good representation of their sound, and it's about a human sacrifice to, wait for it, Satan.

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