To any self respecting Rock/Metal lover, the emergence of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement will always be regarded as one of the greatest feats in the history of mankind.
Words: Brian Boyle
The birth of heavyweights like Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon and Motorhead sent a warning to the music listening public that a new kid was in town, and wasn’t intending on leaving.
But away from the high end pacesetter’s lay some midtable gold such as Raven, Venom, and Angel Witch whose respective bodies of work layed the foundations for a plethora of Metal acts, particularly Metallica whose cover of Diamond Head’s classic ‘Am I Evil’ has virtually become their own.
And London’s Desolation Angels are another act whose contribution to the genre hasn’t gone unnoticed. But bear in mind this mob don’t trade on the yesteryear. Hot on the heels of 2018’s Chris Tsangarides produced ‘Kings’ sees the imminent release of new album ‘Burning Black’.
But the re-issue of 1991’s ‘While The Flame Still Burns’ is a return to a time when Rock and Metal was vastly becoming a pariah in the music world.
That was largely due to the big grey cloud of the Grunge movement which at the time was at its most devastating and to a degree reduced regular arena acts to mere theatre/club fodder. So if you swapped denim and leather for a smelly teen spirit you missed out on a little gem here.
Opener ‘Only Time Will Tell’ is just good old fashioned pure British Metal that slams you against the wall and tells you, “we’re gonna play and your gonna bloody listen”. And it’s that no bullshit approach that endeared band’s of this ilk to the rest of the headbanging world.
With the album having been recorded in Burbank, California, ‘Soul Of The City’ has an unmistakable LA feel, but there’s still plenty of Blighty steel to leave it’s mark.
With the musical landscape changing rapidly there was certainly no doing a Leppard/Slang job and succumbing to a drastic change of direction. The flavoursome title track will tell you that in spades, and it’s also a tune that would have slotted in perfectly with the headbanging MTV viewers.
As would’ve the superb and very Scorpions meets Skid Row ‘Wings On My Heels’, a tune originally demoed in 1988 with Dave Wall manning the vocals, but Lee Addison’s forthright delivery is an all round better fit.
A few sprigs of Prog Rock along with a measured amount of Melodic Metal give closer ‘Feels Like Thunder’ some extra zing, and brilliantly caps off eight tracks of nostalgic majesty.
If you missed out on Desolation Angels the first time round, it’s time to get on board, and this album is the perfect place to start.