Monday, 5 March 2018

Desert Storm - Sentinels (Album Review)

Release date: 16th March 2018. Label: APF Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Sentinels – Tracklisting

1.Journey's End
2.Too Far Gone 04:44
3.The Brawl
4.Kingdom Of Horns
7.The Extrovert


Chris White: Guitar
Ryan Cole: Guitar
Chris Benoist: Bass
Elliot Cole: Drums
Matt Ryan: Vocal


Desert Storm's fourth album - Sentinels - sees the band complete their journey and transformation into a proper Sludge Metal band. As the band have left behind their earlier Blues Rock driven sound for a more harsher and psychedelic NOLA adventure.

Sentinels is perhaps Desert Storm's most accomplished work to date with the band finally coming to terms with their own identity and sound. Not that there was nothing wrong with their previous albums. I'm a huge fan of their previous albums. It's just that Desert Storm didn't stick to a set sound. Each album sounded very different to each other.

With Sentinels, the band deliver a more focused and well-rounded experience with the band delivering their fair share of thrills and spills.

Opening track - Journey's End - is a psychedelic NOLA groove based number with the band taking influence from DOWN. The vocals from Chris are unexpected as he adapts clean/heavy growl persona. The music and the whole feel of the album is heavy from the start. The first song is a good representation on what to expect with this album with songs such as: Too Far Gone, The Brawl, Gearhead, Drifter, Convulsion and Capsized being the other standout songs on the album.

The main strengths of Desert Storm music has always been the close bond between the individual members. Desert Storm have been going as band for over a decade now. It's seen the band perform endless gigs and supporting some of the scene's biggest names to critical acclaim. Sentinels may not be the most easiest or accessible Desert Storm album to listen to. As the band embrace a more progressive attitude with both their music and vocals. 

It's an interesting approach compared to their previous albums. Some parts of the album see Desert Storm play elements of Heavy Metal and even Thrash Metal. Though the true spirit of the album is definitely NOLA influenced Sludge Metal. Maybe Desert Storm need to exorcise a few personal demons with this album as it can be very bleak in parts especially with the lyrics held on certain parts of the album. It's not all doom and gloom as there is some glorious guitar riff worship spliced throughout the album.

The production is superb with the overall sound having quite a dynamic presence especially when the psychedelic parts of the album appear. Kingdom Of Horns is testament to that statement. Sentinels is one of those albums that becomes better with each subsequent listen. It may not grab you at first, as the album leaves you wanting more on your first listen. However give this album a few more spins like I did and you'll be listening to this epic album non-stop.

Credit must also go to APF Records who are releasing this album. APF Records have only been going for a short while but they have pulled a masterstroke in releasing the new album from undoubtedly one of the UK's biggest Sludge Metal bands. This shows a statement of intent from APF Records that they can play with the big boys and release quality records from a wide range of different genres.

OK, back to the album itself. Sentinels is a brilliantly heavy album that should see Desert Storm's profile rise yet again with the Sludge/Stoner Metal community. This is the type of album that deserves to be heard by a mainstream audience. The band have paid their dues and deserve as much critical and commercial success hopefully coming their way.

It doesn't matter if you're a long-time supporter or not of Desert Storm, the only thing that matters is that you must listen to this album. As Sentinels is a brilliant, thrilling and bruising encounter of top-notch Sludge Metal.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to James at Division PR and Mona at Platinum PR for the promo. Sentinels will be available to buy on DD/CD/Vinyl via APF Records from March 16th 2018.