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Desert Storm - Death Rattle review

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Band: Desert Storm
Album: Death Rattle
Style: Psychedelic hard rock, Blues rock, Stoner metal
Release date: March 2023

01. Master Of None
02. Cheyne Stoking
03. Bad Trip
04. Melatone
05. Salt Of The Earth
06. Druid's Heath
07. Insomniac
08. Self Deprecation
09. New Dawn

Desert Storm's sixth full-length release is an enjoyable yet inconsistent piece of stoner rock.

Since their formation in 2007, UK five-piece Desert Storm have delivered generally well-received albums of stoner rock that mixes harsher moments of sludge with classic stoner psychedelia. Their newest instalment, Death Rattle, follows the example of its predecessors and features dark cover artwork that reminds more of death doom than bluesy rock. An indication, perhaps, that the band want to stress a heavier, more metal side this time around.

The album starts with its best song: a very catchy, fist-pumping groove called "Master Of None". Clean singing makes for a good contrast with the crunchy riffage. Then, "Cheyne Smoking" stops the momentum in its tracks with an intro of calm ambience that is soon overwhelmed by a crushing sludge riff. In the middle of this second song, the harsher, more guttural vocals make a first appearance — one of many more to come. This delivery resembles the signature style of the vocals from a High On Fire record such as The Art Of Self Defense, in which the growls mesh very effectively with the buzzing drone of the guitars. However, with Desert Storm, there exists a jarring disconnect between the harsher vocals and the rather light, bluesy guitar melodies featured on songs such as "Melatone" and "Druid's Heath".

It must be acknowledged that there are some very pleasant melodies on this album. "Bad Trip" and "Salt Of The Earth", for instance, showcase exquisite acoustic guitar playing that create extremely soothing atmospheres. However, those croaky, rather unimpressive vocals are a constant distraction from the otherwise good instrumentation. "Insomniac" and "Self Deprecation" at the end of the tracklist are the only songs in which the guitar riffs truly match the aggression of the growls, making for some of the most striking and satisfyingly metal moments on the record. The album finishes on a high note with the tranquil, desert rock instrumental "New Dawn".

In sum, Death Rattle is bookended by a pair of highlights: the catchy, light-hearted groove in the first song and the successfully constructed heaviness on tracks 7 and 8. However, it's very difficult to make it through the full album as the middle tracks are filled with a seemingly aimless alternation between psychedelic atmosphere and hard-hitting yet distracting guttural vocals. In the end, it's an album with some very good moments, but is overall unfortunately inconsistent in its quality.

Written on 05.04.2023 by The sign of good music is the ability to both convey and trigger emotion.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 54 users
05.04.2023 - 15:21
Discovered these guys with 2015's Omniscient and loved their unique sound, but I haven't felt like there was one album where they really really nailed it for me. I'll keep rooting for them regardless.
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
15.04.2023 - 02:10

Great album, packed full of riffs, layers, dynamics, and mixture of clean vocals and heavy...personally feel this is far more interesting then most doom / stoner / sludge bands that churn out the same shit.
disagree with the review saying inconsistent, mismatched and unimpressive vocals to be honest...but hey we are all entitled to an opinion. Probably is an album you need to invest time in though since it's such a journey.


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