“Originating in Bonn Germany, Deserted has the potential to become one of the next big acts” – That’s what it says on their own website. Okay, they might be biased, but I’m not. The website is right. Need proof? Be patient – the new CD (their second full disc) ‘Heroes’ is due for release on 15th March. Having heard an advance copy, my advice for all lovers of Rock with a good Riff is to GET IT!
My love for Hard Rock music had it’s heyday in the late 70’s. You really couldn’t help but love what was coming out in those days: Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Dio, Thin Lizzy, Michael Schenker, UFO… more classic songs and riffs than you could shake an air guitar at…
… Now, 2014, and I’ve tried to keep in touch, I really have, but it seems like the old guard have either sold out, died out, or run out of ideas. I had high hopes for Black Star Riders but they seemed too close to the Lizzy sound to be more than a Thin Lizzy Mark II. Black Sabbath showed there was still life out there despite a dodgy production job though, and Ian Hunter’s ‘Rant’ album was a reminder to me that there’s life in Hard Rock yet even as Lemmy struggles against the odds to keep the magic alive.
Even before putting the new Deserted disc in to play I had a good feeling about this one. The ‘Banksy’ style cover caught my eye and my admiration straight away. I have no idea what it’s trying to say – particularly the inside shot mixing two boys with two old men – one in a wheelchair. Have to make a note about that for the CD release party this month.
One thing I am clear on though is that from the hard ‘n’ heavy riff that kicks off opener ‘Rewrite History’ this is a winner. Head down, take a big dollop of Motörhead, add a smattering of Stadium style U2 and just a tiny sprinkling of Bowie from his Mick Ronson days and you can hear the Deserted sound without even buying their CD (but doesn’t it make you WANT to?!) Talking of the ‘Thin White Duke’ there’s even a track called ‘Heroes’ here and even if it’s not the same as Bowie’s Pop classic it’s every bit as hard hitting with it’s ‘stick in your memory’ riff. There’s so much confidence in the mix it’s hard to believe this isn’t the bands tenth disc rather than their second full one.
Deserted has a ferocious rhythm section with super drums from Jens Fischer on ‘Going Down’ for example, and bassman Philipp Immenkötte does a solid job pushing things along – often at a breakneck pace. What puts this disc above your average Rock-out outfit though are the other duo from the band. Björn Donath is as good an axeman as I’ve heard in many a long year, reminding me at times of John Sykes when his enthusiasm recharged Lizzy for the late and great ‘Thunder & Lightning’ album. Just listen to his meaty electric phrasing on ‘Friends’ or his attack on ‘Going Down’ to hear what I mean. Only this time around we’re hearing a whole band with that Sykesian enthusiasm! That they don’t end up sounding like a second Lizzy (or a third Black Star Riders?) is very much down to vocalist Philipp Honrath. It’s his slightly clipped vocal style that gives Deserted it’s unique edge.
Stand-out track has to be the OTT Metal drama of ‘Head Up’ that sounds like it has a guest appearance of Darth Vader rasping out “We fight!” on top of a storming riff that any Kiss fan would love. I love too ‘Chasing After You’ with a melody that sounds like ‘Message in a Bottle’ on steroids.
The Bands own description of their sound is of ‘Retro-Rock and New-Metal’ . I can certainly hear the retro bit and if I don’t catch the Nu side maybe it’s because I’ve lost touch with the hellraisers of the 21st Century. I still know what I like though and I like this disc a LOT. Particular kudos goes out to Rammstein producer Dirk Burke who has got the sound spot-on: for hard, heavy and clear.
So is there anything not to like? I can’t fault what’s on the disc – Great sound, great songs well sung and with a passion that I haven’t heard in a while on a studio release. What’s missing is a bit more light amongst the dark. Every classic Hard Rock band has it’s classic Hard-Rock ballad after all, and I’m still waiting for Deserted to deliver on that one. Maybe a bit more variation in the songs would be nice too, a little less heads down stuff.
Ultimately though, what Deserted do they do very, very well indeed and this disc deserves to bring them attention not just in Bonn or even Germany, but the whole Rocking World. Still on target to become ‘One of the next big Acts’? You bet, a whole lot closer even.
Want to make up your own mind about Deserted? Catch them live at Klangstation on 15 March