Days of Rona: Ryan Cole of Desert Storm

Posted in Features on April 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

Ryan Cole of Desert Storm

Days of Rona: Ryan Cole of Desert Storm (Oxford, England)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

It’s proving very difficult and has affected us as a band like most others it seems. Our new album Omens is out May 1st and was also supposed to be the first date of our three-week UK/European tour to promote it, which included a slot at London’s Desertfest. All shows are cancelled and we’re working hard to reschedule the tour for October. The two shows in Netherlands will now be in January 2021.

I also feel that our PR could be slightly affected too, magazine’s like Kerrang! Have postponed their issues for three months, and I’d be surprised if more don’t follow. I do of course completely understand why they have taken those steps and measures, and Claire [Bernadet] at Purple Sage PR is working as hard as she can to secure reviews/features, etc., which we appreciate. The Covid-19 is crippling a lot of businesses, economies as well as people’s lives… but it is what it is. It’s very difficult as an underground band that has put in a lot of time, money and effort.

Luckily the five of us in the band are in good health as things stand, and we’ll just have to hope we can pick things back up again when it all blows over.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

In UK it’s all a bit odd… Many people have been furloughed and are isolating, but there are lot that are not taking it seriously, not complying with rules and advice. I think we’d benefit by more draconian measures and enforce a stricter lockdown. Hopefully the sooner that happens, the sooner we’ll be past the peak and see a fall in cases. I still think things won’t revert back to normal until August/September, but only time will tell.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

Yeah it’s really bad. Some people have lost jobs, or had to deal with pay cuts. A lot of bands are out of pocket and promoters/festivals have cancelled many events/festivals. We are so lucky to have a great NHS here in UK though. Doctors and nurses that are working around the clock to help people. It’s also nice to see people volunteering and helping more vulnerable people like the sick and elderly. It’s bizarre to be alive during a pandemic like this. It feels something out of a movie like 12 Monkeys or Stephen King’s The Stand!

It’s strange how our new video for the track “Black Bile” depicts the Black Plague… another pandemic. Strange timing…

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

We’d just like people to know that we are working hard to be on the road again soon, and if people want to help us, they can check out our new music on YouTube, Spotify or Bandcamp and pre-order the album, which would be greatly appreciated in these tough times. It would also help support our label APF Records. One thing about isolation which is a positive, is that it gives people the opportunity to explore more music.

www.facebook.com/desertstormuk
www.desertstorm.bandcamp.com
www.instagram.com/desertstormuk
www.youtube.com/desertstormuk
www.desertstormband.com
www.desertstorm.bigcartel.com

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Desert Storm Premiere “Black Bile” Video from New Album Omens

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

desert storm

Just last night at the Waterloo Music Bar in Blackpool, UK sludge metallers Desert Storm wrapped up a tour with veterans of the form Raging Speedhorn that began on Jan. 25, and with their new video for “Black Bile,” they bring word of a follow-up to their 2018 third album, Sentinels (review here). The new LP is called Omens and will be out May 1 through respected Britriff purveyor APF Records.

They’ll celebrate, naturally, with more shows. They play Desertfest London that weekend — it wasn’t on their list of tour dates I think because the fest hasn’t announced its day-splits yet, but since they’re booked elsewhere for May 1 and 2, I surmised they’d be in London on the third; apologies if I’m in error — and they’ll also headline the first night of Southwest Heavyfest 2020 with Sail and a bunch of bands with markedly-less-readable logos. There’s also a European tour in May and June (dates below) and a Fall tour of Europe in the works and they won’t by any means be the first for the Oxford five-piece, who appeared at Keep it Low in Munich this past October and have brought their hard-burl riffing hither and yon for over a decade at this point. You’ll note I called Raging Speedhorn veterans in the paragraph above. Four LPs and going on 13 years deep into their tenure, one can only say the same about Desert Storm themselves. They’ve been around.

Omens was recorded by Steve Watkins at Woodworm Studios, who also did some work on Sentinels, specifically on that album’s opener “Journey’s End.” One can hear some of the same tonal sensibility emerge in “Black Bile” in the new video, and though Desert Storm aren’t strangers to incorporating melodic vocals alongside the more gruff approach of Matthew Ryan, they bring that to a different place in the new track, more fluid with the rest of what surrounds and naturally integrated into the songwriting. That bodes well for Omens as a whole, but they’ve ever been a band to just do one thing straight across the entirety of a release, so it’s a wait-and-see kind of thing for how it’ll all play out.

May 1 it is.

As for the video: Cinematic in its photography, directed by Josh Horwood. It’s plague beaks and ominous running through the woods, being taken over by evil, murder, and so on. You know how it goes. Apparently this kind of thing just happens all the time in the UK. Good thing they have the NHS.

Enjoy the clip:

Desert Storm, “Black Bile” official video premiere

Elliot Cole on “Black Bile”:

“Black Bile lyrically is based around the idea of the black plague. In the video the plague doctor is also represented as a grim reaper / Freddy Kruegger type menace…haunting the sick in their dreams. Musically the song is one of the heaviest, yet most progressive songs we have written.”

Taken from the album Omens, released by APF Records 1st May 2020.

Order the album from:
https://desertstorm.bandcamp.com/
https://apfrecords.co.uk/shop

Recorded & mixed by Steve ‘Geezer’ Watkins at Woodworm Studios between August – December 2019.
Mastered January 2020 by Tim Turan @ Turan Audio.

Video by Josh Horwood

Desert Storm have been making a name for themselves since they formed in late 2007. From the beginning the band have worked hard…with 3 albums and relentless touring of the UK & Europe with the likes of Karma To Burn, Nashville Pussy, Peter Pan Speedrock, Honky and Hang The Bastard as well as support slots to the likes of Orange Goblin, Red Fang, American Head Charge, Weedeater, Crowbar, Mondo Generator, The Atomic Bitchwax and festival appearances at Bloodstock Festival, Hammerfest, Hard Rock Hell, Giants of Rock, The Bulldog Bash, Desertfest (UK/DE) & Roadkill Festival.

In early 2018 Desert Storm released their fourth album, Sentinels, on APF Records and spent much of the next two years playing live in support of it – including tours with Karma To Burn, Boss Keloid and Raging Speedhorn and support slots to Corrosion of Conformity, Skindred and Komatsu.

The quintet entered the studio again in late 2019 and return on 1st May 2020 with their fifth album, Omens. To celebrate the release they play at Desertfest London before heading out on a European tour with UK dates to follow in November.

desert storm tour

Desert Storm release shows:
MAY 1 Firehouse, Southampton, UK w/ The Earl of Mars, Under, Grand Mal
MAY 2 Southwest Heavyfest 2020 The Cobblestones, Bridgwater, UK
MAY 3 Desertfest London, London, UK

Desert Storm is:
Matthew Ryan – Vocals
Ryan Cole – Guitar
Chris White – Guitar / Bass / Keyboards / Backing Vocals
Elliot Cole – Drums
Chris Benoist – Bass

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