Prelude

by Wytch Hazel

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Jason
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Jason Admittedly love their shtick more than their music. A little light for my tastes, but very well done early NWOBHM sound none the less. Love the medieval tropes, like the sound, recommend the album, for sure! Favorite track: Mighty King.
Matthew Rukgaber
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Matthew Rukgaber Wytch Hazel is not far removed from Thin Lizzy. The other NWOBHM that it brings to mind is early Tokyo Blade in terms of its gentle touch. But its medievalism/folk-metal approach calls to mind both Jethro Tull and Blind Guardian. So with those sounds resonnating across these 10 tracks, it is no wonder that I rank it among the best traditional metal records of the year. It has a stripped-down production and limited use of distortion that reminds me of the first Witchcraft record. Favorite track: Mighty King.
Luke Flail
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Luke Flail If thin Lizzy went back in time and became bards. They would be Wytch Hazel. Total guitar mastery . Favorite track: We Will Be Strong.
Bill Hook
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Bill Hook Fenriz approved NWOBHM who sing about God, who'd have thought! Sounds like a modern Wishbone Ash mixed with some heavy guitars with a bit of added folk. Really enjoyable release. Some lovely harmonies and melodies. Favorite track: He Shall Reign.
Felix Lasitschka
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Felix Lasitschka this song goes straight into my heart! absolutely fabulous!!! thank you so much
paul rote
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paul rote NWOBHM except it's from 2016 ! Favorite track: Freedom Battle.
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about

In the parallel universe where the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal happened 600 years early, WYTCH HAZEL are the band of choice for the discerning Plantagenet headbanger. The folk-rock eccentricity of Jethro Tull, the mystical harmony of Wishbone Ash & Thin Lizzy, and the exuberance of prime NWOBHM, immersed in sacred medieval influences via David Munrow's Early Music Consort of London; on their debut long-player Prelude, Lancastrian hard rockers WYTCH HAZEL have happened upon an extremely singular and compelling alchemy.

As a child the band's founder member and guiding light, singer/guitarist Colin Hendra, played drums in brass bands and orchestras, studied classical piano and sang in the school chamber choir, but at 16 the direction of his life changed forever, after a revelation we can all relate to: "Iron Maiden was the main reason I started playing electric guitar," he reveals. "I remember borrowing The Number Of The Beast off a friend and was just blown away – heavy metal was an obsession from that point on!"

Cutting his teeth with Lancaster metalheads Lake Of Fire, Colin discovered sacred vocal music and medieval dance through his college music studies. This, he says, "gave me the distinct vision for the band, its name and image," and lo WYTCH HAZEL was born in early 2011. The quartet released a two-track demo the same year, followed by a couple of seven-inch splits, an appearance at the Swedish festival Muskelrock, and the four-track EP The Truth in 2012. This noble artefact garnered quite a buzz on the UK HM underground, securing WYTCH HAZEL a support slot at Manilla Road's first ever UK live show and was later reissued along with their debut demo as a mini album on High Roller Records.

Although visual presentation is important to WYTCH HAZEL - "I would define our look as ‘battle ready’!" says Colin of the band's rustic swashbuckler stage clothes; "Our performance is like a musical fight!" - the priorities are clear. "The songwriting is our thing, that's what we major in," Colin asserts. "In my life that's what I'm best at, that's what I'm most passionate about. But you've also got to record that well, with clarity, and signing to Bad Omen has been a really big thing for us. This album is a massive breakthrough."

To capture that clarity with sumptuous atmospheric results, Bad Omen honcho Will Palmer sent WYTCH HAZEL to the renowned rural retreat at Foel Studio in Wales, engaging ex-Purson multi-instrumentalist Ed Turner as producer. "Will and Ed were at one of our first shows," recalls Colin, "and Ed said to Will 'So when are you going to sign them? Because I'll do the album!' This was back in 2011, but I think that was always their plan! Having that outside perspective has been really good for us. Ed's very 60s/70s-minded in terms of sound, which is what we wanted and needed. When it comes to tone, amps and guitars are really the more important ingredient – old cranked Marshall amps are where it’s at!"

Accordingly, Prelude is defined by its stately duelling guitars and blissful expressive solos in rousing tunes like infectious opener Freedom Battle, anthemic gallop More Than Conquerors and their fist-throwing eponymous singalong. There's tasteful organ and resonant acoustic guitar, but no gaudy medieval ornamentation distracting from the album's purity and focus. "For me, influence has to be within the composition, within the very make-up of the songwriting," Colin asserts. "We do a lot of the Picardy third - a song in a minor key that ends in the major key - that's a real medieval French technique. I don't know of many other bands with that approach."

That's not the only way WYTCH HAZEL stand out from the modern herd. Although we've been saturated with the cartoon diabolism of the 'occult rock' revival, no other band has dared to offer the other side of the story. "I play in a heavy metal band and I write songs about God - it's actually quite a rebellious thing!" chuckles Colin. "Some people found our EP offensive. You can mention God, but when you start singing 'Praise be to God' it gets a little heavier." Whatever your spiritual position, for the creation of Prelude, all praise be to WYTCH HAZEL.

credits

released April 22, 2016

Colin Hendra - vocals/guitar
Neil Corkery - bass
Jack Spencer - drums
Matt Gatley - guitar

Recorded at Foel Studio, Wales
Produced & mixed by Ed Turner
Engineered by Tom Wild

Artwork: Burning Moon
Photos: Ester Segarra

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Track Name: Freedom Battle
I need to be filled with the Holy Ghost
I’m needing the shields of angel hosts
In heavenly armour I’ll enter the realm

Today I will fight so mightily
Taking my stance more seriously
But it is evil I must flee

Fight for your life, fight or you’ll die

There’s a battle one more battle
I will fight to be free

Pressing on in the present fight
Armed with freedom, truth and with light
I’m breaking the chains; I’m letting the captive go free

Victory in this war will be found
But fighting now must resound
I’ll prevail in the final battle

There’s a battle left to fight, it’s for freedom
I will fight with all my might, to live in freedom
Track Name: Fight
We fight to be whole
In the cleansing of our soul
We’ll fight to be free
‘Gainst a dark hostility

He will wear me down
His Demons all around
And I, I'll endure it all
As shields be with me

The fight
Holy war
With our might
And what for?
Be thou my all?

Cry out and you will be saved
From this world you've become a slave
May my words be of use
To save lives and to spread the truth

He, He will wear me down
His Demons all around
And I, I'll endure it all
As it is written
Track Name: Mighty King
He is mercy and power
Everything he sustains
Our home and a strong tower
He’s the hope we proclaim

Sing to Him for He
Is rich in mercy
How we adore Thee
For saving mightily

Mighty, saving King
We may die but His sacrifice
Brought death to life, we shall sing
Mighty saving King

We will shout and sing louder
He is our strength and song
Call on Him in the hour
For to Him we belong

Giver of restoration
You are mighty to save
There is no condemnation
In such a mighty name
Track Name: More Than Conquerors
All things work together for
Those that are called and adore
What can separate us from-
The first the last the ageless one

Who will bring a charge against
The chosen you just can’t condemn
What can separate us from-
The one who was and is and is to come

We are more than conquerors
None shall steal us from the love of our king
We are more than conquerors
We have power to stand and overcome

Persecution comes our way
Death we’re seeing by the day
We are more than conquerors
When we face deceiving evil ones

No angels, demons, life nor death
Present, future, height or depth
None can separate us from
The one who was and is and is to come
Track Name: Psalm
I shall not be in want I shall lie down
In pastures evergreen I’m safe and sound

These waters oh so still reclaim my soul
When my walk is pure it makes me whole

When I walk through the valley of the dead I’ll fear no evil
For I am free with my sweet company, thy rod and staff will lead me

A table prepared for me great favour bestowed
Around are my enemies yet my cup overflows

All the days of my life dwelt in this home
Here I diminish strife restore my soul

I shall not be in want I shall lie down
In pastures evergreen I’m safe and sound

These waters oh so still reclaim my soul
When my walk is pure it makes me whole
Track Name: He Shall Reign
In the spirit I saw a throne through an open door
Emerald rainbow adorned the mighty seat that I saw

There were thrones they seated elders robed in white
Flashes, peals of thunder surround the throne of light

He shall reign forever
He shall reign forever

Creatures worship day and night they never cease
Elders fall down cast their crowns at his feet

Seven torches blazing with seven spirits in
Sea of glass like crystal before the throne of him
Track Name: Dark Ages
There is no truth anymore; it seems there is nothing worth fighting for. We are our own deity, fulfilment cannot be found in me

We have been deceived, in an age of apathy
You can never know, you shall reap what you shall sow

We live in the dark ages
We live in the dark ages

They are so scared to offend, there is no need to pretend the truth of heaven and hell, they have defeated themselves

And we have been deceived, by a wave of apathy
You can never know, you shall reap what you shall sow

So dark, these dark ages
These dark, so dark ages
Track Name: Wytch Hazel
Waiting so long needing my remedy,
So far away so close to my heart,
Only one drop now I will take of thee,
Dreaming is only the start

Into the night, faces look down on me,
So very odd - the path that I take,
Only one drop - now I will need of thee,
Battle on for my own sake

Wytch Hazel
Wytch Hazel
Your spirit is calling me
Out of the Darkness I run

Feeling alone I’m needing my remedy
So far away so close to my heart
All that I can now I will take of thee
You've been there right from the start

Your spirit is calling me
Out of the darkness
I need you, I want you and
My heart will be yours again
Track Name: We Will Be Strong
Strength is in thee and thy mighty hand
Your army will be stronger
The fight will not be ‘gainst flesh and blood
But evil forces of Lucifer

Oh no! The skies around are falling,
Oh no! The seas begin to roll
Oh no! Take me from the picture
Oh no! Before it takes my soul

We will be strong,
Demons will flee cast out in his name
We will stand strong,
Satan will fall deceiving no more

We will be found with truth as our belt
So we can stand firm and
None can accuse those found in the king
A blameless body of salvation

A war of the realms we’re entering in
We will advance by the Sword and
Shield of faith now we will take up
For the flaming darts of the evil one