Choosing a name can be complete agony for some bands. It can be relatively straightforward, of course, like Black Sabbath taking their name from a horror film poster or Deep Purple supposedly being the title of Ritchie Blackmore’s mum’s favourite song. Raven was “literally picked out of a hat and was the one everyone hated the least,” John Gallagher once told me. “It’s pretty good in that it implies a lot but it’s not like being labelled ‘Iron Testicle’ or whatever.” For other bands, however, the process involves endless deliberation over image, interpretation and association.
Not so Desolation Angels, who lifted their name from Jack Kerouac’s 1965 semi-autobiographical novel, or from Bad Company’s fifth album. Or did they? Things are never quite what they seem, as guitarist Robin Brancher is keen to point out.
“First off, let’s be putting the record straight once and for all on this matter. Our name Desolation Angels has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the book of the same name, nor did we take it from a Bad Company release either, although as a band we are massive fans of the aforementioned band’s output.
“The origins of the name started to formulate as Keith [Sharp] and myself were inspired by such album covers as Black Sabbath’s debut album and Priest’s ‘Sad Wings Of Destiny’. As we immersed ourselves in such thought-provoking music and art, the search for a new name intensified and inspiration came in many ways, either from films, more gothic album covers or reading matter. From this, we hit on such writings and images about Lucifer, and Lucifer being cast out from the heavens.
‘Another Turn Of The Screw’ from Desolation Angels latest album ‘King’
“As young metalheads and avid bikers too, the pair of us liked to indulge ourselves in what you might call the darker side of things – witchcraft, paganism and the occult in general. So in an attempt to find out more about all things darker, the occult and Mr Lucifer, we made a trip to the local library and discovered (much to our satisfaction) names like The Angels Of Death and The Cast Out Angels. Probably the best of the discoveries though was The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse, and alongside the descriptive text of the Four were some very interesting images too.
“I hope you’re starting to see where we’re heading with all of this?” he laughs.
“So, regrouping at Keith’s house, guitars in hand and riffs buzzing in our heads, we set about digging into all of this newly-found information to finalise our name. By chance, we discovered a totally motivating artist called Chris Achilleos. It was from one of his pieces of art that we decided on our logo. Then from within all of this spookily-new material we came across a piece of text describing The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse in more detail, especially a small piece in particular that related to one of the Four Horsemen being known as the ‘Cast Out Angel’ (Lucifer); and therefore The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse together were jointly known as the Desolation Angels.
“So there you have it,” he concludes with a flourish. “Our band now had the name, the logo and the righteous heavy metal sound to go with it!”
So now you know!
Desolation Angels’ album ‘King’ is available to buy/stream here