Reviewed: March, 2018
Released: 2018, Reaper Records
Reviewer: Pete Mutant
Desolation Angels have brought out their first full release since 1990’s ‘While The Flame Still Burns’. So that’s going on 27 years since their last major release; but not forgetting 2014’s EP ‘Sweeter The Meet’. The band who started back in 1981 whilst riding the crest of the wave of the NWOBHM with now well established -and doing rather well- bands such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Their paths may have been very different but Desolation Angels still have a lot to offer and ‘King’ gets us back on a very positive note.
There’s a bit of NWOBHM, some thrash and speed metal elements but there’s also more than just a little touch of the Sunset Strip on this album too. The original band members in guitarists Keith Sharp and Robin Brancher relocated to Los Angeles back in the late 1980’s so it is fair to imagine that their old haunts may have a lasting affect on them today. Since their reformation in 2012, they have signed up three well experienced musicians with Clive Pearson on bass, Chris Take on the drums and Paul Taylor on vocal duties.
The album kicks off with strength in ‘Doomsday’ and never really looks back. The four Englishmen know how to provide some highly catchy music both in instrumentation and lyrically. Their chorus structures are forged from good old British steel after all and these guys know what they’re doing. They have some great choruses, some not so good but the majority are good enough for me. I mean, ‘Another Turn Of The Screw’ may have sounded like a great line for a chorus or name of a song for that matter 30 odd years ago but I think we’ve all moved on from such metaphorical drivel. The music is still jammed full of quality and there is a high quality breakdown in this little number.
I would say that the best songs would have to be ‘Devil Sent’ and ‘Your Blackened Heart’ with the latter bringing images of Black Lawless doing the monkey with fire and brimstone in the background and the former, being the longest track on the album, is all about the chorus which has massive staying power. ‘Sky Of Pain’ also has that anthemic edge to it with perfect potential for some leather clad bros to join voice and sing as one which would surely send tear drops from an angel’s eyes…did I just out cheese the cheese there?
All jests aside, I really enjoyed this album and the mix is pretty tight too so all elements from all members of the band comes through very nicely.The tone is also very contemporary for the era in which the band was formed which helps pass their style through the test of authenticity. These guys were there in the thick of it after all so there should be no questions of their authenticity but when bands bring out music of this ilk and aren’t from that era, age or epoch then it can leave a bit of a sour taste as it’s a case of ‘it has already been done’. These guys have been out of the game for long enough to reconcile on what they knew best and, if you are going to bring out another Desolation Angels album, then it’s going to have to sound like this.
Another Turn Of The Screw
Rotten To The Core
Your Blackened Heart
Find Your Life
Sky Of Pain
My Demon Inside