Desolation Angels – Burning Black (Album Review)

Release Date: August 26th 2022 - Skol Records

DESOLATION ANGELS Burning Black (Skol Records 2022)

Desolation Angels are a heavy metal band from the UK formed in 1981 releasing two albums, ‘Desolation Angels’ (1986) and ‘While The Flame Still Burns’ (1990) before disbanding in 1994. Reforming in 2012, the band has gone on to release an E.P. ‘Sweeter The Meat’ (2014), their third album, ‘King’ (2018), and in 2022, the NWOBHM stalwarts will release their fourth album ‘Burning Black’.

Featuring ten new songs, Desolation Angels – veterans of the eighties NWOBHM evolution – pack ‘Burning Black’ to the rafters with old-school metal that old-school metallers (like myself) are gonna drool over! Despite nearly forty years since the band’s debut, they have lost none of their British heritage, delivering traditional metal across the album’s forty-five-minute run time. The album opener ‘Living A Lie’ fills the air with the smell of the eighties – the guitar tone resonating with the iconic NWOBHM sound. Think back to a time when bands such as Saxon and Raven were defining British heavy metal, and that’s exactly where Desolation Angels are taking me – the early eighties! A sensational time for metal, and a period I was very much a part of. Yes, readers, not only am I an old school metaller – I am old!

With a sudden change of pace, ‘Unseen Enemy’ flies outta the blocks and runs amok – the classic gallop of traditional metal in full flight. Not to mention the “foot on the monitor” feel as well!
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Desolation Angels delivers unabashed and unadulterated British heavy metal across the album’s first two songs. The band may not have reached the dizzying heights of countrymen Iron Maiden, but without a shadow of a doubt, fly the British flag just as high. Bringing a heavier tone to the album, ‘Hydra’ is an energetic and infectious slab of thunder. Heads will be nodding very hard to this one – the band projecting an aura of intensity that is all-consuming, keeping listeners hooked and fists punching the air in pure delight. And for the first time, the band slow things down a little, entering the realms of mid-tempo hymn-like majesty. For ‘Mother Earth’ is an emphatic melodic foot stomp, stacked full with enough heavy riffing to keep heads rhythmically nodding from start to finish.

I know I’m biased when it comes to British metal – being born here and growing up as a teenager during the eighties, with bands such as Angel Witch, Motorhead, Raven, and Samson turning me on to the heavy metal. So forgive me for being so in love with the sound of traditional metal – especially British. ‘Walking On Water’ returns to the pace of earlier, planting feet once more on the monitor, and spreading smiles a mile wide on the faces of listeners. Desolation Angels are a band to not let the spirit of the eighties NWOBHM evolution die – after all they were a part of the biggest movement in metal…ever! The title song ‘Burning Black’ is the longest song on offer, clocking in at over six minutes in length. And is an elegant epic with a ‘Maiden-esque feel, courtesy of an intro that would grace many of the British band’s atmospheric longer songs. ‘Burning Black’ (the song) maintains an eerie atmosphere as it plods on, bringing to mind the swagger of bands such as Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. The iconic guitar sound of the NWOBHM oozes from ‘Eyes Of The Assassin’ – an up-tempo stroll of heavy-hitting proportions. Clench your fists readers and punch the air in salute to a song that is British through and through, performed by a band proudly flying the British flag.

The first single off the album ‘Stand Your Ground’, is a fast-paced thunderstorm of everything great about British heavy metal…the foot on the monitor feel, the gallop, the guitar sound – take your pick! Desolation Angels may be a forty-year-old band, but their desire and passion smell of youth, the band standing their ground and not bowing down to modern-day trends. ‘Best Served Hot’ – noted as a CD bonus track – is a mid-tempo anthemic-based barrage of traditional metal. From minute one the band has steered the album along the heavy metal highway, not taking a single detour, just keeping the pedal to the metal.
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Kudos Desolation Angels, kudos. Bringing the album to a close is a second six-minute plus epic – ‘She Walks In Starlight’ an atmospheric and tense fuelled ahem, err, ballad! Maybe… ‘She Walks In Starlight’ has the serenity of a ballad and the elegance of a hymn, yet has the heaviness to keep it hovering just above landing fully into power ballad territory.

Overall, a traditional heavy metal march, full of NWOBHM aura, with an infectious array of songs.


Living A Lie
Unseen Enemy
Mother Earth
Walking On Water
Burning Black
Eyes Of The Assassin
Stand Your Ground
Best Served Hot (CD bonus)
She Walks In Starlight

Desolation Angels: Facebook

Release Year: 2022
Label: Skol Records
Category: Album
Country: UK

Reviewed by Iron Mathew for Frenzy Fire, and Metal-Roos.