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Desolation Angels: King
Desolation Angels - King CD Album Review

Desolation Angels: King

Melodic Heavy Metal (NWoBHM)

The history of England's NWoBHM band Desolation Angels, like many other upstart bands in the Eighties, reads like a Greek tragedy: promise and potential get beaten down by the lingering pessimism of defeat. The band scored an underground hit in the UK with their self-titled debut. Then they probably made the worst possible mistake of their career; they decided to move to Los Angeles and break into the American heavy metal scene. The move is a twist on the old Tony Bennett song, Los Angeles, if we can make there, we can make it anywhere. Eventually the band moved back to England and promptly broke up. Warping to the present day, founding members and guitarists Keith Sharp and Robin Brancher resurrected the band in 2012, and now deliver their third album, King.

Desolation Angels Band Photo

Desolation Angels

King could be described as something of a time warp, a nostalgic snapshot of the early days of classic and traditional heavy metal. The album and Desolation Angels could also be seen as a modern example of the seminal roots of the genre. That heavy metal that has grown and continues to flourish today, though mostly away from eyes of the mainstream music industry.

When it comes to Desolation Angels' NWoBHM, constant and loyal readers of Dangerdog Music Reviews know the drill: twin guitar harmony in the riffage which develops into thrilling solos; a strong rhythm section for both groove and speed; generally clean melodic vocals; and song arrangements that turn on melody, harmony, and notable rock groove.

Picking these things apart a bit more, I found that vocalist Paul Taylor can seem a bit muted in the mix. But eventually my ears were able to pick up on them. Even so he still seemed hard to understand: a lyric sheet would have been nice to have. Additionally, both the bass and drums have an organic and warm feeling while still giving the bottom end its power. Yet, the real, and signature, strength of the Desolation Angels heavy metal is the guitar lines. The riffage is harmonious yet bracing and sharp; the lead solos are abundant and quite fiery. But that should be no surprise to fans of classic heavy metal: guitar solos are the sin qua non of the genre and should be killer.

All in all, with King, Desolation Angels has brought the past to the present, delivering solid and signature classic melodic heavy metal in the NWoBHM tradition. Get it. Top song picks: the galloping Doomsday, the speedy Your Blackened Heart, the riff rousing Hellfire, the bit doomish Another Turn Of The Screw, and the heavy metal anthem Find Your Life. - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

The Bottom Line

All in all, with King, Desolation Angels has brought the past to the present, delivering solid and signature classic melodic heavy metal in the NWoBHM tradition. Get it.

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