Up until a few years ago (and the release of The Lost Tapes) Chesterfield rockers Witchfynde were considered more or less as a classic NWoBHM band, but the band actually pre-dated the movement by a good four or five years. Bassist Andro Coulton explains: “Witchfynde actually started in 1974, with a line up of Montalo on guitars, Gra Scoresby on drums, Richard (Butch) Blower on bass and Neil Harvey on vocals. It was basically a band of school mates plus Montalo. I joined as a roadie/lighting engineer in 1974 and later when Butch had a car crash I took over on bass in early 1975. Steve Bridges then joined on vocals around early summer of 1975.”

In 1979, when the glorious NWoBHM hit the United Kingdom, the members of Witchfynde were between twenty three and twenty seven years of age. “We, as a lot of bands at the time were just swept along on the wave of new interest for heavy metal,” reflects Coulton today.

For the band’s debut album Give ‘Em Hell -now seen as one of the classic albums of the NWoBHM period – there was a certain pool of material: “If you count Why Dontcha and Twilight Lady, which we played live up to recording of the album, we had eleven songs to choose from. Those two songs mentioned, Why Dontcha and Twilight Lady, were later on the Live Sacrifice album recorded at Ipswich in 1979 and at the moment the only way to hear these tracks.”

Give ‘Em Hell was originally issued on local Mansfield-based label Rondelet Records in 1979, as Andro Coulton knows: “Rondelet was the first after Montalo and Gra took a demo tape of half of what became Give ‘Em Hell to them and they loved it. Half of the album was self-financed. Rondelet was a fledging label from Mansfield and Witchfynde were their first signing.”

The lengthy Unto The Ages Of the Ages probably is the most unusual composition on the album, as Coulton explains: “That song was written in very early 1976 and is in the lengthy three to four part style that we first did with Grimoire. This was written with all of us making our own contribution to the writing of the song and we also used the same style with Tetelestai and many others, some of which have been lost in the mists of time. This was because we were influenced by such bands as Rush in their early years and their long opuses such as By-Tor And The Snow Dog and of course their album 2112. It became a firm favourite of our fans as it was used as a ritual with incense burning and Steve ringing out a bell-like tone in the middle part on a piece of metal tube, whilst Montalo did his solo using the violin bow.”

“My bass playing on the album and in general was influenced by quite a few people,” continues Coulton. “The first time bass really got to me was Mel Schacher’s playing on the Grand Funk live album, quickly followed by Lemmy’s playing on Hawkwind’s Brainstorm. Witchfynde being musically a three piece means that the bass cannot just sit playing root notes, but needs to have its own melody within the rhythm.”

Give ‘Em Hell Tracklist:
Ready to Roll
The Divine Victim
Leaving Nadir
Gettin’ Heavy
Give ’em Hell
Unto the Ages of the Ages
Pay Now – Love Later
The Devil’s Gallop
Wake Up Screaming

Steve Bridges – Vocals
Montalo – Guitars
Andro Coulton – Bass
Gra Scoresby – Drums

Give ‘Em Hell was audio restored and mastered for High Roller by Patrick W. Engel at Temple Of Disharmony in September 2020, using cutting by SST Germany on Neumann machines for optimal quality on all levels… The ultimate audiophile reissue of this eternal NWoBHM classic releases on July 30th.