After four long years of waiting, the metal community are finally being graced with a new release from UK stoner metal behemoths Desert Storm. Picking up from their previous release, the fourth studio album from the quintet, Sentinels, is a collection of some of the most weighty, sludgy, and downright groovy metal you will ever listen to. It won’t take fans long to realise that the wait between albums has most certainly been worthwhile, as from the word go, Desert Storm unleash a barrage of grim, angry metal upon their listeners.
This is no exaggeration or mere compliment to Desert Storm, as when introductory track “Journey’s End” begins, it starts with the entire band hurling as much at the listener as humanly (and perhaps inhumanly) possible. Opening with a methodically paced and wickedly low sounding repeated guitar note, with drums and bass matching the same pace and style, and vocalist Matt Ryan roaring into the microphone, listeners better be prepared for an introduction capable of knocking them straight on their ass. Following this, “Journey’s End” continues in such a fashion for most of the track, though does mellow slightly into a more groovy pace, one which, whether knowing it or not, listeners will find themselves bopping their heads slowly along to.
Sentinels is not simply a collection of titanic soundscapes and punishingly crushing riffs, however (though there is quite a considerable amount of that), as there are several points within the release that sees the Desert Storm quieten themselves, playing in a much more calm style. What should be noted here though, is that while Desert Storm do play in a way that appears softer or more gentle throughout Sentinels, this is only in comparison to the heaviness which surrounds these interludes. If these more “gentle” segments were compared to anything else, then they would almost certainly crush whatever they are comparing under their sheer weight.
For example, “Gearhead” begins with a force of metal so strong that listeners will struggle not to be floored by it, with the track quickly amping up the heaviness with a series of quick-fire, single note attacks from Desert Storm as the band plays as one. Later in the track, the vocals resemble something which can only be likened to the voice of Satan, with Ryan’s voice coming across so heavy and low and utterly massive that you might need a change of underwear after hearing it. However, within the same track is a far lighter, Pantera-esque groove, with the band seemingly casting off their stoner metal sensibilities for a moment to provide some metal which is damn catchy. This simply acts as testament to the ability of Desert Storm, a way for the band to tell listeners and reviewers alike “Hey, we’re more than just a stoner rock band”, and my God do they prove it.
Sentinels is an absolutely massive sounding album, one capable of making you feel entirely consumed by the music. It has flourishes of difference within it, small footnotes where Desert Storm prove their musical capabilities outside of the sludge/stoner metal genre, though it must be said though the album itself is firmly rooted in said genre. If you think that you are capable of withstanding an astonishingly titanic force of grimly deep, yet entirely rockish metal, then Sentinels is the album for you.
Sentinels is out now and is available to buy here.