Wednesday, February 07, 2018

N.W.O.B.H.M. Wednesday: Desolation Angels-King

Dissonance Productions

Desolation Angels is a N.W.O.B.H.M./power metal band that was initially active from 1981 until 1994. During that time frame the group put out four demos, one single, one EP, and two full-length albums. Released in 1986, it was band's self-titled debut that would make Desolation Angels cult heroes of the N.W.O.B.H.M. movement! In preparation for this review I listened to "Desolation Angels" again. While it had been a longtime since I pulled the CD out, "Desolation Angels" still had that old metal magic that had cast a spell on me so many years ago. Here we are some 32 years and I had to wonder whether or not this U.K. metal band still had that special spark. Having re-formed in 2012, modern day Desolation Angels were a bit of a mysterious to me. I know the band released a EP in 2014 entitled "Sweeter the Meat", but beyond that I had no idea of what I was in for when it came to "King". Before playing the album I did see that the band is now fronted by Paul Taylor (Midnight Messiah, ex-Elixir, ex-Midas). In actuality the only original members left of this British metal band are the guitarists, Keith Sharp and Robin Brancher. Otherwise we have bassist Clive Pearson (ex-B-Side, ex-First Hand, ex-Lip service, ex-Lynx, ex-Pink Metal Kitchen, ex-The Mochines, ex-Thee Unknowns, and ex-Winter (London, UK)) and drummer Chris Takka (Gallow God, ex-De Marica). That was the line-up that I saw before diving straight into this new album. Hitting play, "Doomsday" opened this album and right away, I knew that it was a case of love at first sight sound!  I look back on this group now (with "King" once again blaring away in the background!) and I realize that this was the perfect crew to cut a killer LP like this! All five of these musicians are hotter than hell on this 9-track release, lead vocalist Paul Taylor giving a performance that is straight out the N.W.O.B.H.M. scene of yesterday! Stacked to the max with lethal numbers like "Another Turn of the Screw" and "Rotten to the Core", "King" is also a tale of two ageless guitarist in Keith Sharp and Robin Brancher. Early on in "King" it was abundantly clear that Desolation Angel's classic metal sound not only alive and well, but all set up to kick ass and take no shit! Songs like "Devil Sent", "Your Blackened Heart", and "Hellfire" offer further proof that Desolation Angels are back and that they are armed to the teeth for the upcoming metal attack. Mixing their classic sound with crunchy hard rock and straight-up power metal, "King" features strong material than is sure to please old and new metalheads alike. For those looking for something besides beefed up hard & heavy metal, "Find Your Life" is a slow burner with both power and passion. At six minutes and thirty seconds it takes a few emotional twists and turns, but ultimately it is a rewarding ride. Then there is the song "Sky of Pain". Falling somewhere between classic heavy metal and melodic power metal, "Sky of Pain" is a majestic number that has the heart of a AOR number and the soul of radio rocker. Sitting right next to the album's closer, "My Demon Inside", "Sky of Pain" is a song that hooks you in with it's message and then keeps you there with it's sound. The same thing can be said of the moody rocker "My Demon Inside". Here in the closing moments of "King" the members of Desolation Angles show us that there is more to the picture than just heart-stopping metal blazers. The songs "Find Your Life", "Sky of Pain", and "My Demon Inside" show off a different side of Desolation Angels, but they are just as slick as "Another Turn of the Screw", "Rotten to the Core", and "Hellfire". In closing, "King" would be worth it just for the amazing metallic moments and/or the well-written softer moments. With all of this versatility, "King" becomes a must-have for not only fans of Desolation Angels and N.W.O.B.H.M., but anyway that likes energetic, guitar-driven heavy/power metal. To the members of Desolation Angels I say "Welcome back" and "Congregations" for what I consider to to be the comeback album of 2018!

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