By: Keith Joshua Ham
Desert Storm | website | facebook | twitter | bandcamp |
If there ever was a band to drink to, it would be Desert Storm. Gnarly, gritty, and in-your-face these guys carry sufficient bite to appease fans alongside other up-and-coming doom greats such as Olde and High Fighter. And with a couple albums plus a split under their belt, I find it sort of surprising nobody has noticed this Oxford band slipping under the radar. Hopefully, with Omniscient things should change for this crushing 5-piece act.
No doubt, the name Desert Storm should hold some comparison to what you’re going to hear here. There isn’t any mention of 1990-1991 conflict of the same name, no, but the harsh gravelly nature of the desert holds close relation to the nature of this album – though moments of calm, limited, beauty exist. Sure, that might be a overly poetic way of describing what I’m hearing on Omniscient, but it’s completely accurate.
You see, pairing a bluesy doom laden sound barrier with almost death metal styled vocals provides a strange and very different balance to the chuggy formula Desert Storm chooses to embrace. Of course your initial listen might be a bit eyebrow raising but Omniscient is a grower – things may seem a bit silly, the vocals at times reminiscent of Gwar (a completely accidental effect, no doubt) – however, there is a lot to like here. It just may take you a few minutes to adjust to the somewhat unique style Desert Storm is offering.
Now, things aren’t all great – this album is incredibly top heavy. The first half of the album is put together well and doesn’t really falter in any real way. However, after ‘Home’, a excellent country-styled song, things start to drastically change. Tracks like ‘House of Salvation’ and ‘Night Bus Blues’ almost make me cringe at first. The band goes from bluesy doom to a cheap been-there sounding southern rock meets cookie monster selection of tracks. It’s almost as if halfway through this album, Desert Storm just started listening to way too much Lynard Skynard. What the hell happened? Things sort of pick up again but by the time the album is over, it sounds as if I’m sounding to a entirely different band with Desert Storm’s singer – excluding ‘Collapse Of The Bison Lung’, which is a fantastic track.
I stick to my saying Desert Storm is vastly underrated, despite the second half of Omniscient being mostly different from the first half, their previous albums are pretty good too. But this albums screams experimentation and that can turn a lot of people off when your songs go from doom to overly cheesy southern rock (paired with the semi-death metal vocal stylings featured in previous tracks?) in an instant. Not for everyone, but still worth a listen to see if it’s something you’d be able to digest. If it isn’t, drink a few and try again.