Desert Storm is a four-piece progressive metal band that has been delivering crushing riffs and grooves into earholes around the world for the past 15 years….hailing from Oxford, the city of screaming spires, Desert Storm deliver their own unique brand of heavy music – their sound is loud, a touch unforgiving, but also inter-woven with elation and a great sense of track arrangements.
In some towns you have a music scene to work with and within – whereas in others, you have to make the scene around you. Desert Storm built the Oxford scene themselves. Launched into the world in 2007, Desert Storm’s mix of progressive metal and stoner doom was underpinned with a driving, pure rock ‘n’ roll strut. It’s a formula which makes for a reliably arse-kicking band! 31st March 2023 will see the release of their new album Death Rattle out worldwide on APF Records.
Vocalist Matt Ryan tells us: “Death Rattle is an album that leans to Desert Storm’s strengths in songwriting ability. It is cohesive and flows with each song telling an individual tale, bound by common topics throughout. Genre traversing, musically progressing from the extreme and hard to softer palettes, moments of the ethereal, we’d like to think the light and dark shades are synonymous with the Desert Storm sound, as that which is completely light or dark is neither truly without contrast.”
“This is true also for the lyrics which span thematically. The core string section of two guitars and single bass are complemented by an array of other instruments throughout the album, but act as a solid foundation for heavy grooves and riffs. Death Rattle is best served loud.”
After testing the waters with their 2008 self-titled EP, Desert Storm came up with 2010’s debut full length, Forked Tongues, a tight and forceful sound that continued through the follow-ups Horizontal Life and Omniscient, brought about by their consistency in touring. Always taking their wares on the road, operation Desert Storm has been in full roll-out on tours with the likes of Karma to Burn and Nashville Pussy, as well as when sharing the stage with bands such as Orange Goblin, Weedeater and The Atomic Bitchwax. By the time of 2018’s Sentinels [APF011], the band had ‘settled’ into a refined sound, with more “oomph” driving the power behind the band than in any previous outing, tastier riffs and more viscidity throughout the record. The springy, stoner stomp of Drifter, or the verging on thrash moments seen in Too Far Gone or everything in between, this was the band’s pinnacle at that time….before 2020’s Omens became their acknowledged ‘piece de resistance’. The band won an HRH Award in 2022 for this beast (in the Stoner Lords category), beating off stiff competition from Black Rainbows, Kadavar and Green Lung.
The band were unable to tour Omens due to the pandemic, so they focussed their energies into another creation…and Death Rattle emerged. We have nine tracks on this monster, none of which take any prisoners – without being compleletely head-crushingly heavy? – and that is the secret of their sound, it’s full of menace, angst, stoner fuzz, without alienating the music itself – this is a proficient band!
The album was recorded & mixed at the beautiful Woodworm Studios in Oxfordshire by Steve ‘Geezer’ Watkins. The studio used to be owned by legendary folk band Fairport Convention, and in recent years has seen the likes of Tony Iommi & Rob Halford recording there. Opener Master of None sets out the band’s stall, a stonking riff, powerhouse drums and bass, impassioned vocals that are impossible to ignore, this is a piledriver of a track. The drums are awesome, so powerful without being mindless noise! But amidst the mayhem, there’s some sweet lead guitar.
Cheyne Stoking comes next, but maybe it should have been last, it’s the longest track,possibly the heaviest at times, and feels like the core message….it’s a reference to our final moments when dreamlike “stuff” apparently flashes through out thoughts. The band say the lyrics are not cryptic, they are meant to quite explicitly describe what they imagine to be that “death rattle”, where the breath becomes irregular and raspy in the final moments before death. This seemed a fitting title for the track and subsequentially the album. Cheerful stuff, eh!
Bad Trip emerges gently, like a lot of these tracks, in much the same mould as Creed used to draw you in….then the behemoth hits you! Matthew’s vocals are half-screamo, without abandoning all sense of melody as is so often the case with screamo bands. Melatone follows in the same vein, I love the chordwork on this!
Salt of the Earth starts off acoustic, in an almost folky, balladic style except for Matt’s growls – it’s an unnerving combination! Onto safer ground when the riff kicks in, I love this track’s mix and production. Druids Heath is next, more growling on top of a great riff! about a third of the way in, the heaviness disipates into a dreamy kind of reflection, low-slung chanting, a touch of pyschedelic guitar work before the riff re-appears together with more nice lead lines. This is a clever, assured, composition of a track that works really well!
Insomniac is fittingly pacey, edgy, it rumbles on for a couple of minutes before dropping down the gears into a quiet, atmospheric section. It reverts to a meaty conclusion, it’s another classy composition! Self Deprecation starts off slow, brooding, again displaying the band’s excellent sense of pace. There’s a touch of Sabbath about the riff, perhaps Matthew’s most full-throated growl, balanced by another echoey, cavernous, really quite delicate section. The track fades out with a characteristic riff before the final track New Dawn comes in. Fascinating mix of instruments, a nice touch of bongos, it’s a brief but classy sign-off.
DESERT STORM ‘DEATH RATTLE’ EUROPEAN TOUR
31.03.23 | UK | Oxford | o2 Academy 2
01.04.23 | NL | Arnhem | Willemeen
02.04.23 | BE | Retie | Cafe Bazaar
03.04.23 | DE | Hamburg | Bar 227
04.04.23 | NL | Den Haag | Paard Cafe
05.04.23 | NL | Eindhoven | Effenaar
06.04.23 | DE | Dresden | Chemiefabrik
07.04.23 | CZ | Prague | Modra Vopice
08.04.23 | SK | Kosice | Collosseum
09.04.23 | PL | Katowice | Katofonia
10.04.23 | DE | Furth | Kunstkeller 027
11.04.23 | BE | Antwerp | Kids Rhythm n blues kaffee
12.04.23 | DE | Aachen | Musikbunker
20.05.23 | UK | London | The Dome
08.09.23 | NO | Stavanger | Checkpoint Charlie
09.09.23 | NO | Sandnes | Tribute
10.09.23 | NO | Oslo | Brewgata
30.09.23 | UK | Manchester | Riffolution Festival
17.11.23 | NL | Amsterdam | The Cave
18.11.23 | NL | Coevorden | MFC