Desert Storm : Sentinels

Well, here’s one we’ve been waiting for. Desert Storm are firm favourites here at CackBlabbath and ‘Sentinels’ would be very high up on our most anticipated releases of 2018 list; if we had such a thing…

Alas, we are not that organised, but here it is anyway, in all it’s glory.

With the utmost respect to Desert Storm, we thought we had a good idea what this album was going to sound like before we hit the play button (after we’d numbered the tracks and put them in album order for them, it was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle of a press kit). Desert Storm have a very distinctive and powerful sound, and we imagined that ‘Sentinels’ would be more of the same sort of stuff that we had lapped up with ‘Omniscient’ on their last outing.

While Desert Storm come nowhere near to shedding their ballsy towering doom and stoner clout with ‘Sentinels’, there are a few surprises here and there with this new album.

From the Celtic Frost tinged dark thrash battery in ‘Too Far Gone’ which sees Desert Storm speedier than ever with their metal; through to the traditional heavy doom-ridden chug of ‘Journey’s End’. The album certainly throws you a few curveballs from the start.

Like we said, Desert Storm have not done a complete U-turn here and they chuck in a rather comfortable feeling Desert Storm track for song number three. ‘The Brawl’ has a pounding repetitive riff and monstrous vocals from Matt Ryan. He maybe giving Matt Pike a run for his money in the guttural bellowing leagues these days…

Matt has expanded his vocal range considerably for ‘Sentinels’. Desert Storm’s sound is trademarked and stamped by booming vocals but there are clean vocals on display here such as on ‘Kingdom of Horns’ which are perfectly contrasted with a blast of even heavier and brash vocals than we are used to from Desert Storm.

‘Gearhead’ and ‘Drfiter’ are once again more of what we expected from Desert Storm with some Karma To Burn’ish riff-fuelled rock and roll. ‘Drifter’ in particular should be a live favourite very soon with its quick-fire momentum.

‘Capsized’ is one of the more curious numbers on the record. It has a dark and heavy atmosphere and and seems to be a real break from the norm for Desert Storm, but having said that t still sits quite nicely at the end of this LP. The monotonous riffing and splashing cymbals finally give way to one of the crispest guitar solos in the Desert Storm catalogue. All this seafaring atmosphere reminds us of that joke that Matt once told on stage many Hammerfests ago:

“Did you hear about the red ship and the blue ship that collided? Both crews were marooned”

Stick to the roaring and riffs lads…

Seriously though, Desert Storm are one of the many gems of our doom and stoner scene and it’s great to see them continue to evolve with every release and clocking up the miles on the tour bus. So many bands fall by the wayside or throw the towel in after a couple of releases, but Desert Storm seem to be going from strength to strength at the moment. We expect to hear some of these new tracks at many festivals over the next year or so.

So Desert Storm have well and truly delivered the goods once again. They have certainly broadened their pallet somewhat with ‘Sentinels’ adding a little more of a progressive feel to their work whilst also throwing in some little switches in pace to spice things up. It all results in a more rounded and bigger sounding record than we have had before from this band, and they sound all the better for it.

Most importantly, ‘Sentinels’ still thumps like a jackhammer between the earholes; and that’s all we’ll ever want from Desert Storm.