Desert Storm – Omens Album Review

Time for another album review: as originally published by Ever Metal, now here for your enjoyment too…

Desert Storm – Omens

APF Records

Release date: 01/05/2020

Running time: 40 mins

Review by: Alun Jones

9.5/10

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.

STOP PRESS: Putting my money where my mouth is, I stumped up hard earned cash for a vinyl copy of this album.  I am very glad that I did!

Find Desert Storm on Facebook.

Buy their stuff on Bandcamp.

Find the band on Twitter and Instagram.

For APF records, check out their expertly crafted website here.

Ir find them on Facebook and Bandcamp, you won;t regret it.

Karma to Burn – Live Review

Karma to Burn + Desert Storm + Bad Earth

Thursday 28th August 2014

The Live Rooms, Chester

Another gig at the Live Rooms in Chester – and tonight it’s a night of stoner rock!

The first band on are Bad Earth.  Unfortunately (and as per usual, looking back at my previous gig reviews!) I missed the start of the set.  I saw most of their performance, however – and Bad Earth deliver a great selection of thunderous tunes in a Kyuss vein.  Awesome quality for an opening band, we are definitely not in the Kansas dust bowl of amateurs tonight.  These guys are professional and they rock.  I’ll ensure I catch the full set next time.

Up next are Oxford based Desert Storm.  Any punter would be expecting more of the same, but this band roar off in another direction.  Their sound is more riff based and reminds me of Clutch.  I love Clutch.  Their singer looks like Shaggy from Scooby Doo, and when he opens his mouth I first detected what I thought was a Death Metal bellow.  This instantly warped into a honey and bourbon drenched growl that was more Howlin’ Wolf than Napalm Death.  Astonishing.

I thoroughly enjoyed Desert Storm, and happily recommend them to anyone who loves chunky, funky guitar riffs with a bluesy, earthy voice whirling around it.  Wish I’d bought the CD. Karma-To-Burn-UK-Tour-2014

The unusual aspect tonight is that I have never listened to any of the bands before, not even the headliners.  I had heard of Karma to Burn, but not actually listened to them.  Now what the smart 21st century kids do is check out a few tunes first on YouTube or Spotify, to see if the band in question appeals.  But that’s not very stoner rock, is it?  We’re talking about bands forged in the fires of Master of Reality and Volume 4, not the digital age.  Also, it’s more of an adventure to take a chance!

Karma to Burn are from West Virginia, USA.  They play a set that is instrumental.  That’s without vocals, kids!  Not an easy task to pull off – without vocals the listener doesn’t have as many clues to song structure.  However there are less distractions from the mighty attack of guitar/bass/drums and the atmosphere that Karma to Burn are able to create.

With barely a breather between tracks, the riffs are constantly washing over the audience relentlessly.  The band create a psychedelic assault, as if in a Grand Canyon watched over by an Olympian Billy Gibbons.  It is indeed incredible, and unlike anything I’ve witnessed before.

The moral of this story is, take a chance on live music, you never know what you’re going to find.  Whilst it’s always a buzz to see a band you’re already a fan of, sometimes a little adventure is what we need.

Good night, and God bless.

The Live Rooms web page is here.

Karma to Burn’s website is here.

Desert Storm and Bad Earth both appear to have Facebook pages, check ’em out.