8 OUT OF 10
RUNNING TIME: 46:00
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
Now, I have never hidden the fact that I am not the biggest New Wave of British Heavy Metal fan, but that doesn’t mean I will shy away from reviewing it. And what better NWOBHM band to review than Desolation Angels?
Formed in 1981 in London, England, they released their self-financed first single Valhalla in 1983, by which time they had established themselves as a solid pub and club band throughout London’s East End, playing alongside other NWOBHM bands such as Chariot and Elixir. Their self-titled debut album, recorded at Thameside Studios in London, was finally released in 1984 and they earned themselves a great reputation for their potent live performances.
But the band thought their true path lay elsewhere and they relocated to Los Angeles, California soon after, spending eight years there. They returned to England in the early nineties before splitting in 1994.
The release of the Feels Like Thunder boxset in 2008 prompted original guitarists Robin Brancher and Keith Sharp to reform the band and by 2012 they were playing live again. New additions of Clive Pearson on bass and Chris Takka on drums in 2013 and the acquisition of former Elixir singer Paul Taylor on vocals in 2015 complete the current line-up.
2014 saw the release of a new EP titled Sweeter Than Meat, while their debut, self-titled album was reissued in 2016.
King (great name by the way!) is their new album, officially released on February 23rd, 2018 by Dissonance Productions. The album was produced by the late, great Chris Tsangeridis (RIP) and is a blistering return to everything that made the band so electrifying the first-time round.
I have often touched on the subject of progression in a band’s sound while writing a review, and this time will be no different. Many bands get berated for not progressing with the times, while others are criticised for doing just that. It seems the bands just cannot win whatever they do.
I sit on the fence with this one. I love to hear a band’s sound change as they progress through their career but, at the same time, I want to hear the sound that made them in the first place. Desolation Angels have maintained their sound from the NWOBHM wave in the early 80’s but have added a huge dose of contemporary aggression to their mix of classic, heavy, chorus-driven metal that will leave necks sore everywhere they go.
I saw a quote stating they were looking for “meticulous song writing, anthemic oomph, hard rock swagger and plenty of street level heavy metal grit” and I think that is exactly what they have achieved with this album. It’s a nostalgic snapshot of the early days of classic and traditional heavy metal that will leave older listeners harping back to the “good old days” while the youngers ones will wish they had been there (me included!).
I think the album gets better the further into it you get, with the second half featuring the stronger songs. Now, when I say, “the second half”, what I mean is from track number four “Rotten to the Core” (which also happens to be my favourite song on the album…. reminds me of so many people!) so really, we are talking about most of the album!!
The first single from the album “Another Turn of the Screw” is due to be released in March 23rd, the same day as the official album launch party that is taking place at The Devonshire Arms in Camden, and, although I can see why they have chosen this as the first single (appeals more to the mainstream etc etc) I would have liked to have seen “Rotten to the Core” or “Sky of Pain” but then that’s just my opinion!!!
Overall, this is a great album (over a week in my car is testament to that!) that I think all fans, old and new, of the NWOBHM sound will love and is must to add to any collection. I am not a NWOBHM fan and I loved it. A great album from a great bunch of guys!
When’s the next album out?!
- 01 – Doomsday
- 02 – Another Turn Of The Screw
- 03 – Devil Sent
- 04 – Rotten To The Core
- 05 – Your Blackened Heart
- 06 – Find Your Life
- 07 – Hellfire
- 08 – Sky Of Pain
- 09 – My Demon Inside
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities