Original vinyl / cassette transfers and mastering by Patrick W. Engel at TEMPLE OF DISHARMONY in January 2019.
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.
»Figthing Back – The Studio Anthology« spans the years 1983 to 1985 and features all the songs that did not make it onto the band’s legendary »Fit For Fight« album. Guitarist and founder Mike Wlad (aka Mike Koch) explains: “All the songs we demoed with Cole on second guitar in 1983 made it to the album. But we had songs like ‘Neon Castle’ and ‘Fed Up On Iron’ that never made it to the album. ‘Midnight Mob’, ‘Damn The Klan’, ‘Night Hunter’, Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde’, ‘Chase The Shadows’ and ‘Close To The Edge’ were recorded after the album. The follow up album would have all of the songs included on it. Shame we never got to make the next album back in 1985. We had a manager and he wasn’t happy with the deals that were offered. In hindsight we should have taken it of course but at the time we trusted him. (R.I.P.) I’ve always loved ‘Midnight Mob’ and ‘Damn The Klan’. The latter is about the the Ku Klux Klan and their evil doings. Alex came up with the idea and I really like Black Sabbath’s ‘Heaven And Hell’, so the music was inspired by that.”
Kim Ruzz of Mercyful Fate fame plays drums on a number called “Close To The Edge”, and this is why: “Well, ‘Close To The Edge’ was written in Witch Cross just before we broke up. And when me and Alex formed a new band with Kim and Bennie both from Mercyful Fate we recoded the song. The band was called Wytch but it didn’t last long and then we formed Harlot.”
Apart from playing clubs in Copenhagen and around Denmark, Witch Cross did also appear at the prestigious Roskilde festival and played the Logo club in Hamburg as well as Eindhoven’s Dynamo. Surely the highlights of their early career? Mike Wlad confirms: “The first gig we played outside Denmark was at the Logo Club in Hamburg and we played it again in 1985. It was a huge experience for us all. I mean we were used to have a group of friends at most our early gigs so being well received in Hamburg was so awesome. Roskilde is the coolest festival in Denmark by far and when we got booked to play there, we thought this is it we have made it. Little did we know that it takes a lot more to ’make it’ but it was by far the biggest audience we had played for by then. Again Eindhoven and our first Dutch tour was truly amazing. We had so much fun and the people were great supporters of heavy metal. At the Dynamo we had a blast and will remember it always.”
As a guitarist Mike Wlad did have specific influences: “I was always into Deep Purple and Rainbow, so Ritchie Blackmore has been an inspiration for me. K. K. and Glenn from Judas and Tony Iommi. Hank Shermann and Michael Denner are also very good.”
Witch Cross had started their career way back in 1981, their first 7” single “Are You There”/”No Angel” was self-financed. Although the first album »Fit For Fight« was later licensed by Roadrunner, the band never signed a proper record deal. A shame. “Well, after the single we got played on the radio and started to do interview in magazines and through a journalist we hooked up with the small local record label that put out »Fit For Fight«. We did finance the recording and Cole did the front cover art work. After that we had a manager to take care of business.”