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Desert Storm – Omens

Desert Storm
by Dave Nowels at 03 June 2020, 5:28 PM

Look, I don't know how many times it can be said. If you want coverage for your band, you have to help us help you. Going into this review, I had nothing to go on. No press packet was provided, and it was difficult to locate the band's Facebook and Bandcamp pages. The reviewer and/or editors shouldn't be the one having to dig and dig for information to promote your band. Not a good start. My thanks to Encyclopaedium Metallum for the information assist, as my first inclination was to just boot this review and band all-together. But, I'll do my best, but I still stand by the belief that it shouldn't be this difficult to learn about or promote a band.

DESERT STORM's “Omens” is the band's second release, one that's following 2018's “Sentinels”. The record released on 5/1 via APF Records, and finds the Prog/Sludge (huh?) band delivering some pretty heavy riffage. First things first, the album opens with the title track, “Omens”. No music, just an eerie creaking door and a overall spooky atmosphere, before a cryptic spoken portion that seems pointless, especially considering it runs nearly two minutes. The second track and first single, “Black Bile” though, kicks off with crushingly heavy guitars and an absolutely pounding rhythm section, and things are looking up. While I'm not a big fan of the vocals, I do find the track overall promising. The third track “Vengeful Gods” roars in with a slow Sludge groove that really appeals, but loses momentum in the back half with another meandering spoken portion. Thankfully, it revitalizes itself and is probably my favorite track.

Track four, “Pain, Grief and Suffering”, provides a bit of clarity about the Prog portion of the band, as again the momentum finds itself thrown out for another melodic wandering that lasts too long. “The Path Of Most Resistance” follows the same pattern with yet another minute and a half spoken portion. Though this time at least the speaker, vocalist Matthew Ryan changes uo the approach with the vocals taking a droning aspect. Mid-song finds another Prog approach with an almost YES-like harmony vocal. There's a pattern here, and it's just too common and predictable. Track 6, “The Machine” opens with more atmosphere, crushes, and then again another spoken portion and loss of momentum. “Lockjaw” restores my faith a bit, and is probably the most straightforward track to be found. The final track, “Rebirth” touches on that YES-like vibe again for it's duration, and I found myself really liking it.

DESERT STORM is a band that seems conflicted about what direction to go. They have tremendous potential, but the whole Prog/Sludge thing combined just doesn't work for me. It's confusing for the listener and, I'd speculate for the band. It's almost as if they're trying to be too artsy. I couldn't help but keep thinking they should pick one or the other. Best of luck guys.

Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 4
Production: 5


2 Star Rating

1. Omens
2. Black Bile
3. Vengeful Gods
4. Pain, Grief and Suffering
5. The Path Of Most Resistance
6. The Machine
7. Lockjaw
8. Rebirth
Chris Benoist - Bass
Elliot Cole - Drums
Chris White – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Ryan Cole - Guitars
Matthew Ryan – Vocals, Lyrics
Record Label: APF Records


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