NWOBHM legends ANGEL WITCH have confirmed that they have reunited and are planning on hitting the European festival circuit next summer.
"Following recent soul-searching times, fate dealt metal a gentle hand for a change and the result was that [ANGEL WITCH] have reassembled the awesome 2000 line-up consisting of [guitarist/vocalist] Kevin Heybourne (naturally), [bassist] Richie Wicks, [drummer] Scott Higham and [guitarist] Keith Herzberg," reads a statement posted on the group's official web site. "This is, of course, the same line-up that starred on the live release 2000 — Live At The LA2, took Wacken 2000 by storm and recorded the legendary Halloween Session demo in the same year.
"Many have rightly said that this is the definitive ANGEL WITCH. The band had several set backs last winter, Scott had departed, drummers proved difficult to attract to such a heavy outfit, record companies were not biting at the demos and pressures were high. Ultimately the band called it a day before the ill-fated ICED EARTH show in Sweden in 2001 took place. The four went their separate ways. Whilst Kevin and Keith kept writing for their own ventures, Scott established himself in two other recording bands (EUPHORIA and SHADOW KEEP) and Richie became the singer with fellow NWOBHM giants TYGERS OF PAN TANG. All these projects remain firmly intact, but the heart of ANGEL WITCH beats again.
"It was the devastating news of [SAMSON founder] Paul Samson's untimely death that threw the four back together ultimately, coupled with an invite to play at the Bang Your Head festival in Germany in 2003 that soon followed. All the hatchets were buried."
Heybourne commented on the reunion: "Whatever our own problems were, they have been put behind us, as they are insignificant."
He also went on to pay personal tribute to Paul Samson: "Paul Samson brought us back together. I wish I could do something back for him. Here's to a great rocker, guitarist, songwriter, person and friend. Respect for Paul, we are all going to miss him."
Bassist Richie Wicks added: "The easy option is to sit back and talk about how and why ANGEL WITCH split up last year. Anyone can point the finger and apportion the blame. The hard option is to realize that we don't have forever to get things right, and to get on with it the way it should be. We all had shit going on back then — life's like that — but now we're older, wiser, and better equipped to deal with the work ahead of us. Paul Samson indirectly put me in this band twice now! Let's not let him down."
According to the statement, ANGEL WITCH's immediate future will include preparations for the upcoming summer festival appearances, with Bang Your Head festival confirmed, Headbangers Open Air "almost there" and Wacken and With Full Force "next in line". "The boys aren't interested in rushing things like last time," concludes the statement. "There is no talk of recording or touring as yet, even though one record company has already inquired about the band's plans to release something. The plan is for right now to enjoy the music, plan ahead for the festivals, and just get used again to being one of the heaviest, most sought-after bands on the face of the planet!"