Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Desert Storm - Omniscient (Album Review)

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 26th January 2015
Label: Blindsight Records
Omniscient – Track Listing

Queen Reefer
Sway of The Tides
House of Salvation
Night Bus Blues
Blue Snake Moan
Collapse of The Bison Lung


Hard & heavy blues rockers Desert Storm bring gigantic riffs, sludge and blues grooves. In 2010 they released their debut album ‘Forked Tongues’ on Buried In Smoke records. The five piece operation based in Oxford first formed in 2007, hitting the local rock scene with full force. Now having torn up multiple cities across the UK and festivals such as the mighty Bulldog Bash & DesertFest (Camden); on top of an 8 date UK tour with stoner rock cult legends Karma to Burn and support slots to the likes of Orange Goblin, Taint, Black Spiders, Turbowolf Weedeater, Zoroaster, CKY, Winnebago Deal, Firebird they're well underway spreading the NOISE.


Chris White: Guitar
Ryan Cole: Guitar
Chris Benoist: Bass
Elliot Cole: Drums
Matt Ryan: Vocals


Desert Storm have slowly been building their reputation as one of the UK's finest UK Hard Rock/Blues/Stoner Metal Bands over the last few years or so. Tours with Karma To Burn, Honky and Nasville Pussy, have taken these hard-edged rockers the width and breath of Europe and most recently an acclaimed tour with Stoner Rock legends - Karma To Burn. It helps they have released two acclaimed albums - Forked Tongues and Horizontal Life - which showed a band willing to change their sound with each release. Two years on from Horizontal Life, Desert Storm return with Omniscient.

Their third full length record sees Desert Storm blending Hard Rock, Blues, Pyschedelia, Folk with hard-riffing Sludge tinged grooves. Desert Storm have excelled themselves here while Horizontal Life was a great album for the guys, it was a little bloated at times. Though that is not the case here as Desert Storm have released an album that builds upon what came before it and only enhances their well deserved reputation.

Opening track - Outlander - is a 3-minute blast of high voltage classic style Desert Storm riffage. It is a fast-paced affair with Matt's vocals unleashing a furious style of passion and aggression. Then the trademark Desert Storm blues based Stoner Rock riffs kick in and it feels like you are meeting an old friend you have not seen in years and you start remembering the good times in your life. Up next is the track - Queen Reefer - that is already starting to win praise within the Hard Rock/Stoner Rock community. Desert Storm blends NOLA-esque Swamp rhythms with loud doses of Blues Rock for one of the albums standout tracks. Lead Vocalist Matt - is once again the perfect embodiment of calm and fury as he unleashes a torrent of emotions that gives the album a real volatile edge.

The song-writing has gone up a notch here as Desert Storm have written some great lyrics to sing-along to. The song has some soaring psychedelic guitar solos for you to check out. Fans of Down and Pantera will get a kick out of this track. Drummer - Elliott - even manages to get a few great drum solos in there himself and what an impression he makes once again. I rate Elliot as one of the best drummers within the UK Hard Rock scene. He pounds the heck out of those drums on the album, none more so than here. Third track - Horizon - carries on the heavy riffing style of the first two tracks, which will more than get your rocking along to. It starts as a more slow-paced affair with Matt singing some of the heaviest vocals of his career so far. It verges almost on death based growls. I have not heard Matt sing like this before. It is great to see him expanding his vocal capabilities on this album as he puts himself through a lot of pain.

I have praised Matt and Elliot's talents already and what they bring to Desert Storm. It's only fair that I mention Chris B, Ryan and Chris W as they all bring their "A" game to the table to make Omniscient such a heavy and pounding experience for you all to witness and survive from. Tracks such as Horizon and Sway Of The Tides - carry on the finely tuned Blues/Sludge/Stoner Rock vibes that came before it. However, Sway Of The Tides makes the lasting impression as the best track on the album. It's a heavy powerhouse packed full of great vocals and musicianship with Desert Storm venturing more into their psychedelic roots for one hazy and intense ride.

The album takes a different turn and style for the next track with the sombre and moody acoustic track - Home. It is a simply played track with a haunting acoustic guitar with Matt in more reflective mood compared against the heavier and angrier songs. Some people may criticize this song for being "lighter/mobile phone in the air" material. Trust me when I say it is much more than that as it is an emotionally charged track that has shades of classic Americana Rock.

Well if that song does not do anything for you then do not worry as Desert Storm return to the world of heavy based Blues/Stoner/Sludge rock carnage to damage your hearing to. House Of Salvation, Night Bus Blues and Blue Snake Moan are just some of the main highlights from the 2nd half of the album where the band unleash more of the same superb psych based riffs with some folk based influences showing up along the way. 

I don't know what more I can say about the album. I think I have covered all the bases here. The album does sound incredible from start to finish. Legendary Producer - Billy Anderson - has mastered this bad-boy so you know it's gonna sound fresh, loud and crisp. He gives Desert Storm sound such a dynamic feel that makes you feel you're seeing the band perform live in the comfort of your own home.

My final thoughts on the album - Well, what do you think? - Omniscient is a testament to Desert Storm's talents for delivering another great album to impress people with. It sees the band turning into one the UK's finest Hard Rock/Stoner Metal Bands we currently have to offer at the moment. On this form, who is going to stop them? Omniscient is a must have album. Plain and simple.

Thanks to Blindsight Records for the Promo. Omniscient will be available to buy on CD/DD via Blindsight Records from 26th January 2015.

Words By Steve Howe

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