DESERT STORM BROTHERS BUILD INSTRUMENTAL RIFF ACTION
They like to be busy, those Desert Storm fellas. Not content with being the best metallic band in Oxford, Desert Storm are striving to be the best TWO metallic bands in Oxford.
Because drummer Ryan Cole and guitarist Eliot Cole have built a no-vocals home of riffs and called it Wall. Last year they added their second EP, the Sabbathly-named Vol 2, to their first EP Wall. Let’s stack ’em up and go check.
Wall – Wall
WRATH OF THE SERPENT kicks off with a sludgy poundalong, which you’d probably expect given the Coles’ parent band. Give it two minutes though and we’re bullied off track by pacy thrash pickups, 5/4 riff interjections and headbanging slams, introducing us to the idea that Wall is perhaps the rougher, twitchier relative in the Storm clan. SONIC MASS plays the mid-tempo card, as does OBSIDIAN’s brutish Pelican-channelling-Godflesh beating, but LEGION is where Wall really cook, its ultra-weighty Karma to Burn-style riffage with added growl wiping a smile across your face. No disrespect to Karma to Burn RIP, who we love, but this is exactly the kind of energised attack that K2B’s later records lacked: a bit of spike or pace, something fresh. With Legion, Wall push the Karma legacy forwards.
Ending this EP is Black Sabbath’s ELECTRIC FUNERAL and, as a cover choice, it’s bang on – not too obvious, and Grand Mal voice Dave O is as Ozzy as it gets. No reworkings here, just a faithful tribute to one of Wall’s spiritual building blocks.
Wall – Vol 2
Another cover makes it onto Vol 2, this time by long-time Desert Storm touring buddies and mentors Karma to Burn. No doubt NINETEEN honours the late Will Mecum, who passed away in 2021, but before that we get AVALANCHE and THE TUSK. Avalanche continues the tone of Wall’s first EP, while THE TUSK veers more towards classic metal – faster rhythm picking, twin-axe style guitar licks – but the surging groove is never out of reach. Ditto SPEEDFREAK. Busy, tight.
Then we get our three minutes of Karma – no words needed, literally. It’s an instrumental band covering an instrumental band and it rocks mightily. Feels right.
Vol 2 ends with a Wall anomaly: FALLING FROM THE EDGE OF NOWHERE, a hazy acoustic skit teased from the dried bones of a supernatural Western. Problem? It’s too short. If Wall stretch out to an album one day, can we have a big acoustic psyche-doomer on there? Please?
Anyway, there you go. Two EPs packed with zero-indulgence riff-only rock, short and sweet-ish. Get both EPs and you’ve got a solid album’s worth of music, 42 minutes. And catch Wall live, too – they supported Boss Keloid the other week at Oxford’s Jericho Tavern and totally delivered. But if you’ve seen Desert Storm, you’d know they always do.
(for more background, check this Sleeping Shaman interview with Wall from last year)