The discovery of WITCHFYNDE's Lost Tapes illuminates a fascinating missing link in the history of British heavy metal. In the lull between the Purple/Zeppelin/Sabbath revolution and the angry charge of punk rock and NWOBHM, in the East Midlands county town of Derby, four lads came together to create a tentatively progressive and intriguing new sound, and get heads banging in boozers all over the Peak District. Recording a 40-minute demo of original material in 1975, WITCHFYNDE were the unwitting spearhead of the movement that was still a long way off being dubbed the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, and from the plaintive, spacey opening of Grimoire, this earliest of artefacts is rather more nuanced and versatile than the hallowed acronym NWOBHM traditionally suggests.
Even though they raised many tavern roofs in the mid-late 70s, this isn't your standard thick-eared pub metal. On this recording you can hear these young musicians enjoying playing their first songs together, sharing varied influences and building mystical atmospheres out of extended jams with quirky interplay and a relaxed delivery. Behind the odd forgivable bum note, missed beat or overstretched solo you sense the exploratory zeal of four music-obsessed friends casting their net wide: from the sprightly power-pop groove of Madam Noname to the creepy proto-doom of Halfway, with Pastiche somehow English gothic country rock and Slow Down having the feel of an epic melancholy folk ballad.
WITCHFYNDE released four albums from 1980-84, but split up due to line-up and label instability. Reactivated for the millennium, they continue to record and gig sporadically. Andro formed ZXY in 2010, and has announced that he'll be back on the road in 2014 on the Andro Coulton Gives 'Em Hell: Witchfynde Revisited 1975-1980 And Beyond! Tour.