Desert Storm – Omens
Release Date: 01/05/2020
Running Time: 39:46
Review by Alun Jones
Put your feet up, relax – pour yourself a drink and take the weight off your feet. All you need to do is chill – I’ve already done the hard work. I’ve found your new favourite band: they’re called Desert Storm, and their latest album has just been released by APF records.
If you’re new to the name, Desert Storm are from merry old Oxford; and since forming in 2007, have been building their following formidably. They’ve appeared at major rock festivals; plus supported and toured with some personal heroes of mine (Corrosion of Conformity, The Atomic Bitchwax amongst others). I saw Desert Storm a few years ago supporting the mighty Karma to Burn; they managed to steal the show from the headliners, as far as I was concerned.
Opening with a sombre, haunting spoken word piece, “Omens” proceeds to take the listener on a journey that is powerful, yet also introspective. It’s an otherworldly trip that’s both visceral and immediate, but also demands greater exploration.
‘Black Bile’ demonstrates the strategy perfectly: heavy, grinding and relentless – with moments of melody that blend into the whole without jarring. In absolute basics, this is the sludge of Down combined with the aspirational progressiveness of Mastodon. Thudding, head banging riffs adorn ‘Vengeful Gods’, but there’s also an almost Morricone-like cinematic sensation as the song develops and grows.
At times anthemic, there are also magnificently effective sections of the songs that contrast beautifully with the hard driving doom metal. ‘Pain, Grief And Suffering’ features an extended mid-section that is beguilingly serene. When the heavy re-enters, it’s all the more neck-breakingly persuasive. Throw in a captivating solo and you’re on to a highlight.
‘The Path Of Most Resistance’ builds from humble beginnings to a massive groove riff of Sabbathian splendour; whilst ‘Lockjaw’ is short and brutal. This leads us to the final track, ‘Rebirth’: a masterpiece that is heavy only in sentiment. What a song. Despite a medieval vibe, it’s the ideal soundtrack to spin whilst driving through the desert in a stolen Dodge Challenger as the sun sets, with Smokey on your tail.
Every song on “Omens” can be enjoyed on its own merits, but as a whole plays as a genuine compendium that the listener can enjoy from start to finish. I knew Desert Storm were good, but I didn’t expect them to have grown so much. Or deliver a new album with so much scope. Here’s a British band that could step up into national – and then international – consciousness. They just need your support. Do it. I’m off to buy the vinyl version.
Talking about deserts – did I tell you about that infamous escapade on one of my legendary soul-searching soirees into the Mojave? I crept into my usual cave to seek shelter, only to encounter Jim bloody Morrison hogging it. He was out of his gourd on peyote and mumbling about Aldous Huxley or some such. There was no way I could meditate with that loon around, so I threw him out. Break through that to the other side, Jimbo! My Yaqui shaman and I needed the space to contact Atlantis.
02. Black Bile
03. Vengeful Gods
04. Pain, Grief and Suffering
05. The Path Of Most Resistance
06. The Machine
Chris White – Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Ryan Cole – Guitar
Chris Benoist – Bass
Elliot Cole – Drums
Matthew Ryan – Vocals
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