Desolation Angels – Desolation Angels Special 30th Anniversary Ltd Edition

Special 30th Anniversary Edition Cover

Desolation Angels – Desolation Angels Special 30th Anniversary Ltd Edition (2CD) (2017)

Running Time     103:19

Release Date – January 2017                                                                              Self-Released

Album Review by Rick Tilley

8/10

In these days of receiving most submissions via a download or stream it’s very gratifying to get an actual CD to review so I would like to thank Desolation Angels and their Manager Paul for sending me this fabulous 30th Anniversary Edition of the, self-titled, debut album. If you’ve never heard of Desolation Angels before then you won’t be the only one. Even though they have a long history, having formed in 1981, they never achieved the success they deserved with many line-up changes and bad deals with record labels. They did manage to soldier on until 1994, with relocation to the US for six years included, before finally splitting up, but in that period they only released two full length albums. After a, very successful, retrospective Vinyl & CD box set of all their material was released in 2008 original guitarists Robin Brancher and Keith Sharp put a revised line-up together and ever since they have been playing as many gigs as possible and released the fantastic ‘Sweeter The Meat’ EP in 2014 which I reviewed and gave a thoroughly deserved 8/10. Now it’s 2017 and this could be a big year for Desolation Angels because not only do we have this re-release of the debut album but there is also a new studio album ready to go which I am really looking forward to hearing!

This 30th Anniversary Edition of the debut has to be reviewed first though and for all those who haven’t heard of the band but want to hear a great mix of Doomy Sabbath influenced Heavy Rock and NWOBHM with some Uriah Heep thrown in then go and get it because it’ll give you a great insight into what was happening in the Metal and Rock underground at the time. For those that did live through the 1980’s and were aware of the band then it’s a great nostalgia trip. Either way it proves that Desolation Angels should have progressed further than they did. Another reason you should purchase is not only does it include the full album but a second CD of ten tracks recorded live in 1983 at the infamous Ruskin Arms in London. It’s fair to say that the production on the album and the recording of the gig aren’t anywhere near what you would expect of todays standards but, to me, that only adds to the authenticity of everything featured here.

‘Spirit Of The Deep’ kicks off the album proper and after its very doom laden opening riff a wonderful cowbell appears (yes, you really cannot have too much cowbell)! When the main riff kicks in it reminded me of the cowbell break in Black Sabbath’s ‘Megalomania’ from 1975’s Sabotage album. Not a bad comparison to make but the song does have its own identity. What you’ll notice throughout all of Desolation Angels music, even the more recent material, is that they like repeating their riffs. Now in some cases that could prove very boring, especially on six or seven minute songs, but this band manage to write good riffs, simplistic but catchy, so the repetition works to their advantage. They find something that works and stick to it, so songs such as ‘Valhalla’, ‘Death Machine’, ‘Evil Possessor’ and ‘Dance Of The Demons’ instantly sound familiar in a positive way and, before long, I found myself singing and playing my very limited air guitar!

As for the live CD, yes the sound is raw and the crowd quiet, but what you get is actually a pretty good example of what Desolation Angels sound like live, in other words good! Dave Wall’s voice came across even more strongly than he did in the studio setting and the rest of the band are tight and were obviously enjoying themselves. Five tracks from the debut album reappear but there are also great renditions of ‘Hounds Of Hell’, ‘Boadicea’, ‘No Mercy’, ‘Satan’s Child’ and ‘Doomsday’ which were all live favourites at the time.

All in all this is a great little package and it thoroughly deserves to be heard by fans, new and old. It’s a big shame Desolation Angels never managed to fulfil their dreams 30 years ago but it’s great to be able to say that they are now probably stronger than they’ve ever been so if you get a chance to go and see them live do so, you won’t be disappointed. I’ll be back soon with a review of the new album but in the meantime get a copy of this and take a wonderful trip down memory lane!

TRACKLIST

CD1

  • 1. Spirit Of The Deep
  • 2. Evil Possessor
  • 3. Valhalla
  • 4. Unsung Hero
  • 5. Death Machine
  • 6. Wild Gypsy Woman
  • 7. Dance Of The Demons
  • 8. Angry Rain

CD2

  • 1. Spirit Of The Deep
  • 2. Unsung Hero
  • 3. Boadicea
  • 4. Hounds Of Hell
  • 5. No Mercy
  • 6. Death Machine
  • 7. Satan’s Child
  • 8. Angry Rain
  • 9. Valhalla
  • 10. Doomsday

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