Genre: N.W.O.B.H.M./Heavy Metal
Probably the name Desolation Angels may not mean anything to you, unless you’re a fan of the famous pioneer of the Beat Generation Kerouac or a guy that collects vinyl records from supergroups of the 70’s or a true (or trve) N.W.O.B.H.M. aficionado. Desolation Angels are generally regarded as one of the bands that delivered top notch (and mostly melodic) New Wave Of British Heavy Metal at its finest, despite the fact that they released only one studio album in the 80’s (s/t in 1986) and only one in the 90’s (‘While the Flame Still Burns’ in 1990) before they split up in 1994. Their heavy melodic twin guitar based rock was remarkable and especially their debut is still mentioned after 30+ years among the greatest moments of the second wave the genre. Having reformed in 2012, three years later in 2015, they released an EP of 5 brand new songs entitled “Sweeter The Meat” sounding fresh and motivated. Now their return is completed, with a full-length studio, 27 years after their last effort. Band’s current line-up, features a new vocalist, Paul Taylor (ex Elixir, Midnight Messiah), who replaced Curly Davies. The line-up is completed by 2 original members Robin Brancher and Keith Sharp on guitars and by Clive Pearson on bass and Chris Takka on drums. ‘King’ is one of these albums that includes straight forward compositions which do not lack of aggression or melody. Of course, the band performance and production are flawless. Thumbs up for the famous producer Chris Tsangarides, who did an amazing job here, as every instrument is easy audible and gets the opportunity to shine. Fortunately, the sound is not completely modernized – the guitars are thankfully not down tuned, making the sound so warm and analogic to my ears. The opener ‘Doomsday’ is a fast rocker with up tempo rhythm born-to-be-a-single anthemic song. ‘Another Turn Of The Screw’ is a somewhat dark and has that eerie, ominous riff, an excellent solo and it’s such a great song indeed. Third track ‘Devil Sent’ is a solid power ballad that has brilliant guitars at its climax. ‘Rotten To The Core’ despite its mid-tempo and raw sound, has an eastern scale oriented riff that gives variety on the album. ‘Your Blackened Heart’ is a crushingly heavy song combined with great lyrics. Probably among the best tracks on ‘King’ where the vocals are especially awesome, both in the verse and chorus. ‘Find Your Life’ that follows, is wisely softer and slower and rather emotional creating another nice ballad. ‘Hellfire’ once again tries to make you raise your fists in the air. Nice typical N.W.O.B.H.M. anthemic tune with impressive hooks and chorus. ‘Sky Of Pain’ is one of the highlights on this album too. It completely and totally rocks – simple ideas are at work and this song resembles old school aura. Here Taylor gives his best performance. Generally speaking, Paul Taylor ‘s vocals are excellent reminding me of Byfford’s tint. His totally sings every line carefully composed and delivered through his throat. ‘My Demon Inside’ tries to capture an epic feeling and it is a marvelous closer. To make a long story short, we are dealing with a more than you expected outstanding release that marks emphatically the return of a special and beloved band of all N.W.O.B.H.M. fanatics.