About a year ago, the Sentinel Daily office received a communiqué from Desolation Angels guitarist and founding member Robin Brancher claiming the rights to the band’s name and logos after what appeared to be an acrimonious split from the band; in said missive he also reported that DA’s other guitarist and founding member, Keith Sharp, intended to carry on the band using recordings the band made with Brancher under Grim Reaper vocalist Steve Grimmett‘s production guidance. Those recordings were to be released under the title Burning Black.

Brancher promised new music from his version of Desolation Angels was in the pipeline, but the trail goes cold there and here we are with Keith Sharp’s version of the band. And Burning Black is indeed the name of that album.

Picked up for release by Skol Records (and mastered for vinyl by Skol head honcho Bart Gabriel), the songs that make up this version of Burning Black were recorded at KJM Studios in Hereford in the UK, and the liner notes supplied suggest the album was produced by Corin Myatt as opposed to Grimmett; No mention is made of Brancher – who claimed to have had a hand in the writing of much of the material on the album – and Sharp shares guitar work with Richie Yeates. (Brancher is credited as a co-writer on the video version of Stand Your Ground, so maybe the guys have reached an understanding – fact-loving Ed).

Anyways, make of all that what you will – is the album any good? Actually it is, being an almost total improvement on the band’s last offering, 2017’s King; Again the odd niggle remains about the quality of some of the material, and vocalist Paul Taylor is still too happy to resemble fellow Brit barkers Dougie White and Biff Byford, but above and beyond that there’s very little to complain about, even for a seasoned carper such as myself. Eyes of the Assassin and the highly retrogressive Stand Your Ground are fine slabs of stomping Brit metal, whilst the album’s two epics, the title track and closer She Walks In Starlight, both prove that there is more to this band than just a good night of pub metal down your local.

I’ve no idea what the future holds for Desolation Angels – either version – but for the time being Keith Sharp’s vision of the band seems to be heading in the right direction. Good luck to all involved!

Burning Black releases on August 26th.