Improved remaster from a new source! Mastered by Patrick W. Engel at Temple of Disharmony.
Best sounding version ever!
Along with the legendary Mercyful Fate and some considerably more obscure acts such as Alien Force, Randy and Crystal Knight, Copenhagen's own Witch Cross must rate as one of the best Danish heavy metal bands ever. Their 1984 album »Fit For Fight« is surely one of the Top 5 albums in the history of Danish metal.
One of the two guitarists on this masterpiece is a certain 'Cole Hamilton' (his real name being Ole Hamilton Poulsen). He had joined Witch Cross after the recordings of their »Are you there« debut 7” single. His partner on guitar was Mike Wlad (birth name Michael Koch). Mike is not only a founding member of Witch Cross but also the main songwriter for the band from the very first day. He confirms: “Witch Cross was put together to be a dark version of my previous band Blood Eagle and I wrote most of the songs from day one. Later Cole was adding a lot of material, so we shared the writing on »Fit For Fight«. The band was born in and around a large town called Hillerød, about 30 minutes from Copenhagen. In the early 1980s the Witch Cross started to rehearse in Copenhagen and we shared a room with Mercyfyl Fate at one point. At the time, there were a number of bands emerging from all corners of Denmark so we had Evil, Maltese Falcon, Pretty Maids, Randy, Mercyful and a few others.”
Witch Cross' first 7” single »Are You There?« was issued in 1983. Was Jamara the band's own label, was it some sort of private pressing? How many copies were manufactured altogether? “Yes, we were used to doing everything ourselves with the help of some friends,” states Mike Wlad. “So we decided to record a single at Sweet Silence studios (later used by Metallica) and released it on our own label Jamara. I think we pressed 500 copies but a lot got damaged and Bullet Records in England ripped us off and never paid for the 100 copies we sent them.”
It took a further year until the debut album »Fit For Fight« was issued in 1984. Originally it was released by a company called Vision Music. “After the single was released we did some interviews and a few gigs in Denmark,” elaborates Mike Wlad. “We heard about a company called MRM, which had looked at our single. After meeting with them we signed a deal, but the label split up when the two partners fell out. One of the guys, Alan Ranfelt, put together Vision Music and released »Fit For Fight« on his label.”
After that the record was taken up by Roadrunner Records. How did this deal come about? The Roadrunner edition does not feature any extra tracks, it does not feature an alternative artwork, it’s more or less an exact copy of the original pressing. Why that? “Basically it was a licensing deal where they pay an upfront fee and then they release it worldwide,” Mike Wlad summons up. “Vision didn't have a global network as Roadrunner did, so it was great to get the album singed by them. We did small tours and gigs in Denmark and Sweden promoting the album. And also a tour of Holland and Germany. We had a lot of new songs which should have been included on a new album, but our manager wasn't happy with the deals available.”
A few years ago Witch Cross did record a comeback album, that was really well received … “We were very happy with how the press and fans responded to the comeback album,” confirms Mike Wlad. “We play a lot of the new songs live and they sit well in the set. The next album is taking shape and will be out very soon.”
A few years ago Witch Cross played Brofest in Newcastle, England. “First time in UK for Witch Cross, “ smiles Mike Wlad. “Like with all the festivals we play we are always taken aback by how great the atmosphere is and how amazing the people running these festivals are. We just love being able to play our music to a new generation of music lovers!”
After the demise of the original Witch Cross, Mike Wlad formed a band called Harlot, issuing one rarely seen album entitled »Room With A View« in 1988. “Harlot was the brain child of me and Alex Savage,” explains Mike Wlad. “We only did this one album as I moved to London not long after the »Room With A View« album was released. Thanks for asking these great question and I hope I have cleared up a few things with my answers. Let's keep metal alive.”