Monday, 5 March 2018

An Interview With Ryan Cole From DESERT STORM

UK Sludge/Stoner Metal Riffsters DESERT STORM have built up a well deserved reputation over the last 11 years for being one of the best Sludge/Stoner Metal bands the UK has to offer.

The band will be releasing their 4th album – Sentinels on March 16th 2018 via APF Records. This is the album that should hopefully propel the band further into the big leagues. As Sentinels is perhaps their heaviest album to date.

The band have a more NOLA direct sound with Desert Storm's earlier Hard Rock/Blues Rock sound being completely missing. That's a good thing as Desert Storm have reinvented themselves in a way and it pays off huge dividends for the band.
I caught up with Ryan Cole (Guitarist) from Desert Storm where we discussed the making of the new album and the evolution of their heavier sound.

Hi Ryan. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today. How’s the tour going.

Hi Steve, all good thanks, tour’s going great! Currently touring.

Before we talk about your new album. You’re now signed to APF Records. How did that come about.

Well the label owner Mr Andrew Field had been a fan for a long time, since the release of ‘Horizontal Life’ and expressed an interest in putting out the new album, so we took it from there really.

Did you know Andrew before signing for his label.

Yeah we met him a bunch of times at our northern shows. He used to come out and see us play in Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool. Too dude.

Did you have offers from other labels before signing for APF Records.

There was one other other, and some ‘interest’ from others but, this was the best deal for us.

Your new album Sentinels. What an album. Perhaps your heaviest record yet. What can people expect from this album.

Thanks, yeah we are all really pleased with it. Definitely the heaviest record we have put out. People can expect very powerful riffs, there is elements of sludge, hardcore, thrash and straight up metal on the album, but still with plenty of groove.

How would you describe the overall sound of the album. As you’ve moved away from your earlier sound to a harsher and violent Sludge Metal sound.

You said it right there, it’s a lot more harsh, violent and aggressive. There are still lots of dynamics and ‘Kingdom of horns’ takes things down a bit as it crosses over with post rock and is quite progressive. But on the whole it is a heavy metal record.

Would you class this album as the true definitive Desert Storm sound.

I think so yes. We all still love blues stuff and the earlier material, but everyone in the band is feeling the heavier direction. Matt voice I feel works better with the heavier sound too.

Was it a group decision to go for this heavier sound compared to your earlier albums.

Yeah absolutely, we were all in agreement.

Did you have any disagreements about adapting this new style of sound.

No, none at all. Just seemed like the right thing for us all.

Were you worried what the fans might think of this more brutal Desert Storm.

No I don’t think so. Even songs on the earlier albums were brutal in places..songs like ‘Queen Reefer’, ‘Titan’ and ‘Forked Tongues’ so it’s a natural progression for us. I mean there are obviously some fans that perhaps favoured the bluesy, groovier sound, but there is still groove in the new stuff.

Matt’s vocals are perhaps the heaviest they have ever been. Did Matt find recording this the most challenging album you’ve done so far.

Yeah they are, he did a great job! In fact Matt does great in the studio always. The clean parts and harmonies in ‘Kingdom of horns’ were probably the most challenging, but ‘Omniscient’ was more challenging for him as he had more vocal ranges to cover...especially with the acoustic track ‘Home’.

It seems you will be touring this record heavily. As you have done with your past albums. Will you be doing anymore gigs or tours later in the year. Perhaps places you haven’t visited before or for a long time. (Like Newcastle Upon Tyne for example. Four years and counting.)

Definitely. We’re currently in the middle of our headline European tour as we speak, which has been great! We have an awesome UK tour in June to be announced shortly and you will be pleased to know Newcastle is on the tour.

There are other dates and festivals in place too.

The album cover is very striking indeed. Who designed that cover and how much input did you have into the overall design.

It’s incredible. My brother Elliot (drums) was doing some research and came across the dude called Matthias Frisk in Sweden. The first of his work we saw was an oil painting for a band called ‘Night’, it was a boat on fire and just looked so cool.

We were all blown away, it also turns out he has completed work for Ghost too! So we contacted him and said the album is called ‘Sentinels’ and we like the idea of two figures (the Sentinels) watching over a burning town, and this is what he came back with! It’s absolutely phenomenal I think. Our best sleeve yet.

Thanks for doing this interview Ryan. All the best with the new album and your future endeavours.

Thanks a lot Steve! See you soon!

Words by Steve Howe and Ryan Cole 

Thanks to Ryan for doing this interview. Thanks to James at Division PR for arranging this interview. 

Sentinels will be available to buy on DD/CD/Vinyl via APF Records from March 16th 2018.


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