Sound — 9
I consider Angel Witch's first album to be the finest moment of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. If anybody else shares this belief they must get this album immediately. "As Above, So Below" has the same atmosphere and tones as Angel Witch, and Kevin Heybourne's return to lead vocals should be enough to convince you to buy this album. The song writing has progressed on "As Above, So Below" and tends to have more complex with longer songs than their previous albums. It is not a progressive album, but the songs sound like they had more thought put into them. And of course this makes sense because they had so much time to write the album, so anything less would have been disappointing. Almost every song has a memorable guitar riff and a well written solo (once again, its Kevin Heybourne!). Interesting rhythm changes exist in almost every song and make "As Above, So Below" a very replayable album.
Lyrics — 9
Angel Witch lyrics have always fit their image quite nicely. The lyrics on this album follow a similar theme to their previous albums. Expect fantastical, often witch-related lyrics that you are not exactly sure what they are talking about. But its the music that really matters. Kevin Heybourne is an excellent vocalist whose skills have not deteriorated since the 80s. His tone is very similar to his vocals on Angel Witch, the biggest difference is the lower average pitch on "As Above, So Below" compared to the 80s. Which is expected of course. Heybourne has adapted quite well to aging and it is great to hear him singing again on an Angel Witch record. I'm not sure why he replaced himself as the vocalist on their two albums in the mid-80s, but I could never like them as much as their first album because of it.
Overall Impression — 10
Angel Witch is finally back! This is an excellent return and certainly was worth the wait. I consider it their best album since their first from 1980. In terms of song writing it is probably better. Although it never bothered me that much, people may be happy to know that "As Above, So Below" is not dominated by the lyrically repetitive refrains like their first album was criticized for. And as mentioned above, the overall compositions are better developed here than on previous albums. Its hard for me to pick a favorite song from this album, but "Dead Sea Scrolls", "Gebura", and "Witching Hour" all stand out. After John Arch's successful return last year, Metal Blade continues to do a great job releasing comeback albums with "As Above, So Below". Let's hope for a new Liege Lord album next year.