Long time NWOBHM legends Desolation Angels have always been at the heavier end of the spectrum, if you have seen them live in recent years you will know what I mean. ‘King’ is the first release to feature Paul Taylor (Elixir/Midnight Messiah) on vocals, and this in itself brings a whole new dimension to the album that was merely touched upon on their ‘Sweeter the Meat’ EP release a little while ago (albeit with a different line up).
Opening with ‘Doomsday’, the band have captured their live intensity perfectly. You hear the pounding of the guitar strings, the energy from the drums and the precise vocal delivery. It’s simply like watching them live, what a great production. Taylor’s vocal range comes out more on ‘Another Turn of The Screw’, far from being torturous, it’s very pleasurable. ‘Devil Sent’ is a track I witnessed live at the Charity event Mearfest in London a while back (www.mearfest.org) and is slower, but very meaty in delivery. Overall I feel there is a slight nod to Sabbath about this band’s sound, as well as the infectious melody akin to the original NWOBHM scene. The low end grind and power is not really matched by other bands that originally came from their era, bar one I could mention I suppose. Other momentous tunes like ‘Rotten to the Core’ and the moody ‘Your Blackened Heart’ enhance the depth and range felt when the album is played.
That said, there is no loss of delivery when the tone slightly changes. Certainly for the closer, rather than being classed as “epic”, ‘My Demon Inside’ is exciting, thoughtful and dashes into the elite realm of real song writers giving inspiration sourced from many areas. Original members Robin Brancher and Keith Sharp’s lead work is very hard hitting and when I mentioned the similarities to the live sound earlier, I would also add in the use of sustain, this breathes more scope to each chord, riff and lead break, but yes as you have guessed, I am impressed with the production!
There are plenty of live dates, including a mini tour with Kent NWOBHM band Sacrilege which makes for a strong line-up. This album ‘King’ is powerful, precise and a pleasure to listen too. Living up to their heritage, Desolation Angels have progressed and augmented the sound that made them famous whilst proving that they are one of the heaviest bands around producing terrific British metal.
(8.5/10 Paul Maddison)