Solid enough, but just in need of a certain something to push it to the next level...
Desolation Angels can loosely be linked to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal – they formed at the movement’s high water mark in 1981 but didn’t actually get any product out until after it’s death in 1985 – and perhaps their biggest claim to fame at that time was that vocalist Simon Wall was brother of notorious Kerrang! Journalist Mick (he of Get in the Ring infamy).
They reformed after a twenty-odd year hiatus in 2012, and are back now, sans Wall, with a hard-rock inflected metal album going by the name of King. And pleasant enough it is too.
New vocalist Paul Taylor has a strong, if slightly generic, voice, often coming across like a mixture of Doogie White and Biff Byford, which is, actually, ideal because much of the material here is strongly reminiscent of the post-Algy Ward era of Tank, especially cod-epic material like closing track My Demon Inside, which actually isn’t half bad if we’re being honest.
Guitarists Keith Sharp and Robin Brancher – both survivors from the band’s earliest days – each contribute sterling work to the cause, with some neat interplay, solid soloing and tidy riffage, but for too much of the album the music is essentially a pretty faceless serve of identikit bludgeon riffola with only the odd melody or hook emerging from the morass of heads down boogie mania to snare the attention.
Opening song Doomsday makes for a lively welcoming salvo, whilst Devil Sent features some nice Dio-era Sabbathian touches. Rotten to the Core is a feisty, uptempo rocker, with the other side of the coin represented by the brooding Find Your Life, which shows the band can handle epic as well as taut and punchy. Now they just need to expand these talents over the course of a whole album, beef up the heaviness a bit and we might be in business. But at this stage I’d say this is for long-term fans of the band only.
King is out now on the Dissonance Productions label.