Interview with Desolation Angels

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Desolation Angels were one of the forefathers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal era. Now, nearly forty years later, they are still rocking and I, recently, had the chance to interview them.

Hi, I’m Dawn from Ever Metal. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us and I hope you are all ok?

Hi Dawn, yes we are all ok thanks.

Ok, so for those who have been hiding in a remote cave somewhere for the past thirty odd years, can you give us a quick background of the band?

Desolation Angels was formed in early 1981 by childhood friends Robin Brancher and Keith Sharp based in the East End of London. The band started writing and rehearsing and soon built up a reputation playing live.

The band’s first single, ‘Valhalla’, was recorded at a studio in Cheltenham in 1982 and, by this time, the band was touring extensively the UK. In 1984, their debut self titled album ‘Desolation Angels’ was recorded at Thameside Studios, London

After spending eight years in the USA playing live shows and recording, the band returned to the UK.

* After various personnel changes since the reformation of Desolation Angels in 2012, the band members are: Robin Brancher (guitar), Keith Sharp (guitar), Clive Pearson (bass), Chris Takka (drums) Paul Taylor (vocals).

Answered Clive Pearson

So, your latest album “King” (great name by the way!) was released on February 23rd of this year (2018), how is it being received? I see you have had some great reviews.

The name seems to have been a good choice, well done to Rob on that one….. it needs to be mentioned first that we were so fortunate to have Chris Tsangeridies listen to the demos and see the potential in the songs to agree to give us his time to make this album so special in so many ways. It so tragic that this was to be his final gift to the music world as he certainly took this on to ensure he handed over a fantastic album. He brought out the best in DA AND we will be ever thankful to his dedication to produce and engineer these songs which the ‘reviews tell it all. The enjoyment of working with Chris and hearing all his tales of his past were very entertaining when recording can be such a stressful experience. He put the fun and enjoyment into those weeks of hard work…. the album is selling very well and so it should as it is one of those albums that gets better each time you listen to it. That is down to the song writing and the great man CT…. thanks Chris may you RIP in Valhalla with your great friend Gary Moore.

Answered by Clive Pearson.

And how was it working with the late, great Chris Tsangeridis?

I may have answered that in previous question.

He was a true musician who loved working in the industry and to help those musicians around him. His history speaks for itself and no air of greatness within his personality which could really have been the case. He’d work with anyone who had desire and commitment to their music… see his autobiography as it would take the whole Metal Nation edition to cover his character and albums.

Answered by Clive Pearson.

The official launch party for the album was on March 23rd at The Devonshire Arms in Camden. I was gutted I couldn’t get there. How did it go? Lots of drunkenness and shenanigans?

The Dev is a perfect venue for this event as it is a true metal pub in Camden which is one of the most diverse towns in London. Great atmosphere and punters. I think my other half should cover the drunken shenanigans as she won that one hands down. I give you her number and the Premier Inn in London where she was carried to after the gig and made a grand entrance…….. I am sure they can fill you in on that one… lots of punters were up for a big night and it did not disappoint.

Answered by Clive Pearson.

So, you are happy with the line up now?

It’s not just a line up it’s a big family with all the wives and girlfriends part of the group.

Answered by Paul Chatfield

I checked out your latest tour dates on your website and I see you are doing a lot of double headers with another great band Sacrilege (and some with support from Satan’s Empire). What’s is like working with those guys? They are all a great bunch.

They are all a great bunch. We have got a few under our belts already and the one that stands out was at the Underworld in Camden … I seem to get on well in Camden……… Sacrilege are a real good time rock and roll party animals that enjoy themselves on and off stage. We are also pretty much the same age so got a lot of those old days to catch up on and reminisce about. Satan’s Empire have a new album out and sure deliver live. I know Paul Lewis from when he was in Belladonna so cool to be gigging with them now..
Look forward to the next ones coming up…

Answered by Clive Pearson.

And you have the NWOBHM GDR #3 in Nuneaton in November. Are you looking forward to that? It’s a shame it’s not in London again though.

We played the first one in London and good to see it gathering pace a few years now. Great to have Tokyo Blade, Tysondog on the bill plus The Deep & Airforce. We all gigging regularly over the years so will be a big party.

Tokyo Blade will be the 2nd time we shared the stage who are good friends with Rob and Keith so good times will be had…

You play in Europe a lot. Do you think your music is better received there and do you prefer playing there or on home soil?

We really enjoy playing in Europe, the fans seem more dedicated, they know the material and really appreciate the fact you come over. I suppose we were a bit spoilt for choice in the UK. There is, and has always been loads of great bands evolved here through the years so fans have a massive choice. Don’t get me wrong it’s fantastic to play to a great crowd in the UK but the European crowds seem to let their hair down a bit more and really rock out.

Answered by Paul Taylor

I am the first to admit that I am not the biggest fan of NWOBHM (yet here I am interviewing one of the original bands from the era!) and I must say I prefer the last album to the earlier stuff. What have you done that has changed your sound so that even a NWOBHM-disliker like me loved your album?

The NWOBHM label is just that, a label! It was just a way to remarket what had always been there, good old-fashioned rock bands. All the radio stations just played either disco music or punk. Purple, Sabbath, UFO, Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash, Budgie, Lizzy and Priest were still all there and they inspired us, younger bands. So it could be that you like the King album because we’re now better at producing great rock albums than we were 30 years ago . The original values of the music are the same as they’ve always been, strong powerful guitar riffs with a solid rhythm section and melodic vocal tunes with interesting lyrics. We chose Chris T to produce the album because of his fantastic track record and his love of great rock music. He loved the album and did a brilliant job. It would seem that we’ve done what we intended to do, make an album traditional NWOBHM fans would like but also cross the boundaries in to the established hard rock fan base who would normally dismiss NWOBHM bands because of the label.

Answered by Paul Taylor

Ok, so I am friends with most, if not all of you, on social media of some sort, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and I have seen you “in the flesh” so to speak. You are all a great bunch of guys and I would love to interview you face to face after a gig at some point! Would this be ok with you guys?

For sure we always happy to give interviews and answer question for readers on Skype or phone.
Or come backstage after gig and we can have few beers and chat..

So, what’s next for Desolation Angels?

Keep on gigging for as long as we can and record the next album.

Answered by Paul Chatfield

Well, thank you so much for your time. I look forward to seeing you on the road and maybe we can get that interview squeezed in. Is there anything you would like to add?

Thanks for asking us to do this interview spread the word www.desolationangels.co.uk

 

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, 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.

Desolation Angels – King

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Desolation Angels – King
Running time: 46:00
Dissonance Productions
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
8/10

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?!

 

TRACK LISTING

  • 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

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

  • http://www.desolationangels.co.uk/
  • https://en-gb.facebook.com/DesolationAngels/
  • https://myspace.com/desolationangeluk

 

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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