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Witchfinder General

About Witchfinder General: This Midlands-based New Wave Of British Heavy Metal group are rather better remembered for two controversial album covers than for any of their actual music. Formed in 1979 by vocalist Zeeb Parkes and guitarist Phil Cope, with a name taken from a classic horror film, the initial line-up settled with a rhythm section of Toss McCready (bass) and Steve Kinsell (drums). Their debut single, "Burning A Sinner" (also jokingly known as "Burning A Singer"), revealed a primitive, Black Sabbath-influenced doom metal style, and was quickly followed by the Soviet Invasion EP, and a track on the Heavy Metal Heroes compilation. Saxon producer Peter Hinton was drafted in for Death Penalty, recorded in three days with a session drummer - this position remained unstable - and bassist Rod Hawkes replaced the departed Kinsell and McCready. The album showed promise, although it suffered from the rushed recording process. Most attention centred on its sleeve, which featured a mock-sacrifice scene photographed in a graveyard, with a well-known topless model and friend of the band, Joanne Latham, appearing semi-nude. The subsequent publicity reached the UK tabloids, and the band attempted to repeat the formula with Friends Of Hell, with the sleeve featuring several semi-naked models daubed with theatrical blood in a similar sacrifice scene, this time photographed in front of a church. This cynical effort succeeded only in losing what little support the band had garnered, and they quickly faded.

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