DESERT STORM: LIVE

FIRST GIG SINCE THE PANDEMIC. WHO BETTER THAN THIS LOT PEELING STRIPS OFF THEIR HOME TURF?

The Bullingdon, Oxford, October 21st, 2021

Never bought a ticket as fast after seeing a listing … first gig after lockdown/s is going to be Desert Storm? YES. Deep down, I’d quietly hoped the scheduling stars would align like this – surely the most dependably metallic way to break back into Oxford gig action.

But before they take the stage in The Bullingdon, it’s APF Records labelmates Battalions, straight outta Hull, whose sludge grooves and downer riffs hit the target hard. Tasty filthy, mmmm. Phil Wilkinson’s hostile screams belie his friendly manner so be warned if you’re a Battalions first-timer, like what I is: his zero melody style is harsh. But it’s a good set and the mood is right.

And Desert Storm?

Nailed-on quality, end to end. Simple as that. Black Bile, Vengeful Gods and The Machine are among the Omens tracks aired in this comically/pandemically delayed Omens album launch party, and soaring Sentinels anthem Capsized is a natural high. Long-term gig anchor Queen Reefer helps stir up a lively bit of moshing – how long since we’ve seen that? – but it’s the gig-ending double hit of Enslaved in the Icy Tundra and Convulsion (wasn’t it?) that vamps it up into something wilder. Colossal tunes, both.

And in the thick of that peak mosh action is Battalions’ Phil, who’s been slamming hard all night already so he gets the Undiluted Commitment to Metal award, no question. Doesn’t even lose his glasses. Or his beard. Respect.

There’s not much more to write because, really, this is a celebration more than a review. When I went to buy some merch – a 7-inch split single – after the gig, I got a “Thanks for supporting the cause!” from singer Matt Ryan.

A riff-heavy pleasure, obviously. Got to get out there and support our bands: we all need each other. But these guys make it easy because the records and the gigs are so fucking good. Hope you’ve got a band or musician like this where you live – and if so, tell us.

WELCOME BACK, Desert Storm.

New Desert Storm album being recorded right now. Tour dates already announced for 2022. New line-up features bassist Mark Dennett who also plays with Battalions

Desert Storm red vinyl 7-inch split single Signals From Beyond
gig souvenir

DESERT STORM and DRORE: live review

DESERT STORM with DRORE at The Bullingdon, Oxford, February 1, 2019 (oh, and Conjurer headlined)

Is it the Deuchars IPA? The Guinness? The proximity of Conjurer?

Is it balls. The reason why Desert Storm turn out yet another magnificent support set is because Desert Storm just fucking are. How do they do it? Every time they take the stage you end up having the best half hour, so in some ways there’s little point reviewing the gig – go read any previous one. But that’s not fair, because we’ve got a duty to be in the moment to share the good stuff in this world, and this is definitely the Good Stuff. And we’ll get to it in a minute, because first, there’s the small matter of brute filth to get through: Drore.

As the band themselves put it on bandcamp, Drore is Drore. No-one can argue with that. What you want is what you get, and what you want is their uber growling scuzz-toned aggro all over your face. Job. Done. With pulverisers like Happy Accident and Skinjob loaded in the arsenal, the only losers are those who don’t get here early enough.

After that, what do Desert Storm do? Same as always: make you do your body-rocking swing thing through the Divine Power of Grooving Metal Riffs. The fact that the band feed off their creations as much as we do just adds to the vibe, like this kind of rock is not just a way of life but the very essence of life. Journeys End, Too Far Gone and The Brawl are among the Sentinels album airings, though there’s no room for the massive Convulsion tonight. Instead, the last two tracks are pulled from two Sentinels predecessors: we get Queen Reefer’s stupendous swing and thrash headcharge, and a closing Enslaved in the Icy Tundra, a track so confident that it drops a brief Clutch-funk break before remembering how metal it is.

Not much else to say really, is there? Desert Storm deal a proper metallic hit – again – and you WILL be rocking like a bastard to Sentinels at home the next day. Again.

Other Desert Storm and Drore wordage:

Almost forgot: Conjurer headlined. Who? Nah, not for me. Not that OTT scream thing. Maybe check Nightshift in March for a write-up.

Desert Storm and Drore

Desert Storm and Drore: no regrets