Desertfest Belgium 2024: 15 More Bands Added to Lineup for Oct. 18-20

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 2nd, 2024 by JJ Koczan

From the kingpins Monster Magnet placed at the top of the poster to lumberwizards Monolord, British sludge-chargers Raging Speedhorn, the darkly crushing Morne and the deathly extrapolations of Inter Arma and whatever on earth Spaceslug might get up to when they take the stage, the latest announcement from Desertfest Belgium 2024 expands the scope of the Antwerp-based three-dayer in multiple directions at the same time. I suppose that could be said even if the only band joining the lineup was Green Milk From Planet Orange, but perhaps it’s that much truer with Dutch heavy rockers Drive by Wire listed alongside Portland, Oregon, extreme proggers Lord Dying, and so on, and as this batch of 15 acts is added to the glut of those already confirmed, the shape of the festival seems set up to benefit from playing all these different takes off each other. They’re announcing the day splits tomorrow, and it should be interesting to see who ends up where and how it all fits together under the headliners.

They say there’s more to add, so I guess that timetable will have a few TBAs. Still, in geographic and aesthetic reach, Desertfest Belgium has become a standout among the busy October festival season in Europe, and a point of convergence for a slew of tours besides. Even if they weren’t bringing anybody else on board, it would already be one to remember.

Dig it:

desertfest belgium 2024 second poster

As promised we quench your thirst for new DF24 names with this divine batch of bands! 👁️

Monster Magnet / Monolord / Black Tusk / INTER ARMA / Spaceslug / Raging Speedhorn / Lord Dying / MORNE / Your Highness / KARKARA
Drive By Wire / Five The Hierophant / Norna
Green Milk From The Planet Orange / Hell Valley High

This Friday (May 3rd) our day ticket sales starts at 11:00am CET.

Check out our website this Friday to find out which of your favourite bands is playing when.

We’ll be back with more news very soon…🤘

Monster Magnet, Live in Berlin 2023

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Full Album Stream & Track-by-Track: Esben Willems, Glowing Darkness

Posted in audiObelisk, Features on March 28th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

esben willems glowing darkness

This Friday, Esben Willems will make his solo debut with the full-length Glowing Darkness on Majestic Mountain Records, and I won’t mince words in telling you that for some of the built-in audience who know him only from his output as the drummer of Swedish riff magnates Monolord, it’s going to seem like a pretty stark departure. The path of influence that’s brought Willems to this nine-song, 33-minute long-player is more complex than a simple ‘band wasn’t on tour so I made a record by myself’ narrative one might try to impose on it, and from the insistent weirdo-pop urgency of “Cabaret Street” — as if to jolt one awake at the outset — through the guitar-led bounce of the title-track and the finale “Across the Everything,” which presents a sound that is full and atmospheric while still not tying itself to this or that microgenre, the personality of the procession becomes like a series of experiments brought to fruition in order to actively work against the generic in and around heavy music.

Recording himself on all instruments at Studio Berserk in Gothenburg, where there’s at least a 30 percent chance he also mastered your album, Willems runs through a succession of cuts that seems to owe its core ethic of creative freedom to Talking Heads no less than Masters of Reality, with “Dear Demon” and “Carte Blanche” building on the catchy structure of “Cabaret Street” in a way that allows Glowing Darkness to remain cohesive as it chasing down different ideas. Would it be a shock if I told you it’s well produced?

Those who’ve perhaps followed Willems through his various collaborations in recent years — lest we forget the “here’s some beats have fun” drum patterns he posted during the covid pandemic that led to his ‘guesting’ on releases from all over the world — or who even took on the earlier-this-year self-titled debut from doom-does-Slayer covers project Slower (review here), might be better set up to follow where Glowing Darkness is headed, but one way or the other, the reward is there for the open-minded, and the palpable defiance of expectation brims with purpose. As the standalone layered vocals and last guitar noodle of “Carte Blanche” give over to the more sauntering groove of “Embrace the Fall,” daring a bit of funk in the nuanced pattern of the verse before opening to the rolling chorus, Willems feels strikingly clearheaded in his arrangements and the balance of the mix.

And while mostly traditionalist in verse/chorus structures, the material is all the more able to explore and expand stylistically for that sure footing, but it’s also concise enough that only “Cabaret Street” and “Across the Everything” push beyond a four-minute runtime, the latter serving as the longest inclusion at 5:01. It may be that Willems sat down and plotted out measure by measure, layer by layer, waveform by waveform, the various reaches into which Glowing Darkness delves — I honestly don’t know and I don’t have the track-by-track yet, so maybe we’ll find out together — but whatever the initial spark might have been for the minimalist-Nirvana-meets-cavernous-nod centerpiece “Slow Rain,” the feeling of spontaneity, and of a creative chase, of an artist figuring out in real-time who they are and how they want to bring the songs in their head to life, remains amid the tight and Esben Willemshammered-out spirit of the finished LP.

Tucked away cozily in the procession of side B, “Space Bob” leans percussive intricacy on a fuzzy riff that’s simpler but sturdy enough to support all the activity and finds Willems repeating the lines, “I had to save myself/This head/Caught fire,” as the guitar grows more fervent before receding. It’s three minutes long and doesn’t come anywhere near summarizing Glowing Darkness as a whole — it’s not trying to — but it does capture a specific portrait of creative urgency. Have you ever felt like your head’s on fire? Like there’s something you need to get out, to express, to say or do or share and you’re consumed by that thing until you actually make it happen? I do, often. In that way, “Space Bob” feels like it’s about its own making, the way it’s built up to what Willems wanted it to be or until he was satisfied enough with what it became to say it’s done. Isn’t that what being an artist is like? Your head’s just on fire all the time? Maybe Willems intended the metaphor and maybe not, but the notion of artistic expression being what ‘saves’ you from the fire resonates. Sometimes it’s like that.

What Willems in the track-by-track/interview that follows refers to as “limitations” become quirks in craft and style. The way the vocals are layered and patterned. The stops in the guitar of “Fortune Teller” that bounce while feeling intimate and personal like some lost McCartney-era experiment, or the way “Across the Everything” lets itself submerge in the wash of tone and space before Glowing Darkness ends with drums and voice alone, heavy in tone and presence but still very much its own take. One could hardly ask a more fitting resolution, not the least because it also doesn’t attempt to summarize so much as to keep adding to the breadth of the whole album while staying grounded in structure. That duality becomes crucial throughout.

I’ve been fortunate enough to interview Willems a few times over the last several years, and probably could’ve fired up Zoom to make an ass out of myself for a video chat. But since the album’s streaming in full, you’re not likely to watch a video at the same time you’re listening to the record, and I think there’s something appealing about reading an artist’s view of their work while you listen to the work itself; a multi-sensory immersion. One way or the other, I hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading.

Glowing Darkness can be heard in its entirety on the player below, followed by the track-by-track:

Glowing Darkness track-by-track with Esben Willems

When did Glowing Darkness start to come together? How far back do these songs go, and at what point did you know you wanted to make an album under your own name as opposed to starting another band?

It’s been lingering for a long time, I wanted to get back to writing and recording music on the side again. I love side-projects and how they fuel the creativity in unexpected ways, I’ve always had the need to create in multiple different directions. The journey we’ve made with Monolord the past decade has been overwhelmingly amazing; the effect of that has also been that between tours, behind the scenes admin work and most important of all family, I haven’t had the time to explore much else. In 2019, we decided to take one season off from touring with the band – simply to recharge – and shortly after that the pandemic hit, so all that combined was the perfect opportunity to play around with these song ideas, some of them probably about 15 years old, I don’t really remember. Misfit, maladjusted little nuggets that didn’t really fit in any other project along the way, but all of them ideas I returned to when rummaging through the digital archives, as one does every now and then.

I figured that if these songs made me smile, there should be at least a handful of people on this planet that are wired the same way I am and would feel the same, so I started reworking them and rewriting most of the lyrics to what felt relevant in my life now. Also, I’ve often preached to people around me that they should embrace their limitations and create regardless of them, instead turning those limitations into creative tools, but I have been really bad at adapting that mindset myself, so I felt that this would be a great way to give myself a Henry Rollins asskicking to get going. So, that’s the reason this is not a new band and it’s also the reason that I’m playing all the instruments and singing all the vocals, warts and all, just to see what I could accomplish with the quite substantial limitations I have outside of the drumkit. And inside of it, for that matter. Incredibly scary, which also fueled the inspiration even further.

What do you most want people who only know you from Monolord to know about these songs? Imagine someone is about to put it on for the first time. What should their mindset be?

That it’s not Monolord, at all. I don’t want to deceive anyone into expecting that this will be a rumble fest in a slightly different direction. I love that and those projects of mine will also be recorded and released, but this one is a ticket to somewhere else. Speaking of describing music, I love how we all perceive music so differently. We can love the same thing, but most likely from entirely different perspectives and we can hate something the same way. I’ve seen this described as some sort of post-punk several times now and that is not even remotely close to what I hear myself. Which is really cool, it’s all been mentioned as a compliment and I’ll take it, regardless of whatever genre this might be considered as.

Let’s go through the tracks. “Cabaret Street”:

I was frustrated about how so much of my surroundings and even my own behaviour revolved around the insatiable search for validation. It might sound like a “social media is bad and I’m afraid of wifi” statement, but I feel that blaming social media only is a bit one-dimensional and lazy, to me this virus culture is equally fueled by how our society is constructed. Social media is just a tumorous result of that, I think. Social media is also an amazing tool, if used right.

If this song is anti- anything, it would be anti-capitalism.

“Dear Demon”

I guess many of us have that head demon that never sleeps, that beast who’s never out of energy to remind you that you’re not good enough, that your desperate attempts to matter are nothing more than embarrassingly transparent and laughable theatrics. This is my love letter to my own demon, just to confuse it. I know it won’t confuse it for long, it will be back with full force tomorrow. But so will I and my coffee is both stronger and real.

“Carte Blanche”

It seems to be a permanent human flaw that we in the bigger picture never – or very rarely – really learn from our mistakes. When a relationship, a job, any human interaction goes wrong we tend to just end it without reflection, replace it with something similar and repeat the process elsewhere with someone else, naively hoping that this utopia will be different. We start things the same way and we end things the same way, rinse and repeat. Denial is an addictive spice.

“Embrace the Fall”

Speaking of denial, the collective version of that in the shape of the silently socially accepted self medication is peak tragicomedy to me. Or rather, the tragicomedy lies in it’s collective denial, not the actual numbing by beers, by I’m-not-addicted-I-can-quit-anytime-there-are-no-side-effects-420brah weed or whatever your preferred sedative might be. Not saying that I don’t embrace the buzz of my gentrified hazy IPA – I really do – I just find some kind of dark humor in that I also participate in that game of pretending.

“Slow Rain”

A deliberately slow one about the process of breaking on the inside, over and over, but still keep functioning on the outside, no matter what. The constant battle between strength and fragility.

“Glowing Darkness”

Even though life can feel bleak and uphill, there are always bright spots in the darkness. They might be small and seemingly insignificant, but they sometimes shines a brighter light than you’d maybe expect.

“Space Bob”

I think and hope this one is self-explanatory. If not, it might be because you didn’t save yourself when your head caught fire. You have to.

“Fortune Teller”

This is to my life companion, what we have is incredible to me. Through all the bumps and twists and turns, we have the best of rides. I love her.

“Across the Everything”

I love playing live and being able to travel the world to do so. But it comes at the expense of deeply missing my loved ones, especially my kid as a parent. Not being there in the flesh is heartbreaking and something I always struggle with when I tour. This is to my son, my promise that I will always come home.

Now that Glowing Darkness is coming out – and releasing it has been in the works for a while, right? – how are you feeling about the release? Are you relieved to have it out in the world (almost), inspired to move forward as a songwriter, tired of the whole idea? What comes next?

It’s indeed been in the works for quite a while, yes, so it feels really good to finally have it out. Also, as with every new release, nervous. I hope that people that are into this kind of music will enjoy it.

I’m always inspired to move forward, to make new music. More projects are already in the works, both solo type stuff and projects with others. Regarding writing music, I’m finally getting back to it, having been away from it for almost a decade. I’m rusty, but I’m having tons of fun in the process.

Anything else you want to say about the record, or anything else generally?

Listen to music, a lot of music, as far and wide in genres and cultures as you can. Don’t limit yourself with predefined taste. Puritanism is boring. Curiosity is not.

Esben Willems, “Dear Demon” official video

Esben Willems, “Cabaret Street” official video

Esben Willems on Facebook

Esben Willems on Instagram

Esben Willems on Bandcamp

Studio Berserk

Majestic Mountain Records on Instagram

Majestic Mountain Records on Facebook

Majestic Mountain Records store

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Up in Smoke 2024 Makes First Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 14th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

With Pentagram at the top of its thus-far bill playing what will reportedly be their final Swiss show ever on a retirement tour that will also stop through Desertfest Berlin 2024 this Spring, the Sound of Liberation-associated Up in Smoke Festival has made the first lineup announcement for its 10th anniversary edition. Set for Oct. 4-6, it is at the spearhead of what will almost certainly be a busy month on the European underground touring circuit. And as one expects news to follow shortly from other October festivals throughout Western Europe — Keep it Low in Munich, Desertfest Belgium in Antwerp, Høstsabbat in Norway that I’ve been fortunate enough to go to a couple times, and so on — knowing that the likes of TruckfightersMonolord, LowriderGreenleaf and Slomosa will be out on the road, at least the latter two of them behind new records, warms the heart in February’s drear. Will I be there? Probably not, barring a miracle or some kind of grant that doesn’t exist, but someone will be, and that’s rad enough of a thought to get me through the end of this sentence, so I’ll take it.

Wonder if we’ll see new stuff from Gnome this year, and I think Messa were beginning the process this winter of their next LP. October is far enough away that just about anything can happen between now and then, and I guess that’s part of the fun in posting these things in the first place. Thanks for talking that one through with me.

And while we’re here, happy 10th anniversary to Up in Smoke, and many happy returns.

Here’s the latest:

Up in Smoke 2024 first announce


Hey Smokers,

Today, we are thrilled to announce the first bunch of amazing bands for the 10th-anniversary of our beloved Up In Smoke Festival!🖤

None other than Bobby Liebling and his crew in Pentagram will be joining us to celebrate their last show in Switzerland ever! 🔥

So great to see our Scandinavian friends Truckfighters, Monolord, Slomosa, Greenleaf and Lowrider joining the madness with exclusive Switzerland shows.

In addition to this, we are introducing the dark, haunting sounds of the female-fronted doom outfits Messa and Wolvennest, along with the experimental rockers Djinn, Belgium’s one and only Gnome, and the UK riffmasters Psychlona.

Up in Smoke takes place near Basel and Switzerland offers some excellent bands as well! Check out Tar Pond, Preamp Disaster, Norna, No Mute and Glue.🇨🇭

Make no mistake, this was just the beginning!👀

Up in Smoke 2024 will be a massive heavy rockin’ birthday bash and the stoner party of the year!🪩

Line Up:

Pentagram *last Swiss show ever*
Tar Pond
Preamp Disaster
No Mute
& many more

(link in bio)



Up In Smoke Festival
10th Anniversary
🗓️04. – 06. October 2024
📍Z7 Konzertfabrik
Pratteln, Switzerland

Your UIS-Crew

Lowrider, Live at Hellfest 2022

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Esben Willems to Release Solo Album Glowing Darkness March 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 5th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

They’re not actually the same, but I can’t help but be reminded that a long, long time ago, in 1993, another based-in-Gothenburg outfit put out a record with a reference to ‘-ing darkness’ in its title. It was At the Gates‘ second record, With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness, and unlike Esben Willems, known best for his work in Göteborg riff forerunners Monolord but also in the Slayer covers project Slower and at the helm at his own Studio Berserk — which I think might audition including a ‘the’ in front of it: The Studio Berserk, in Gothenburg; maybe not all the time, but just on some shirts like The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell or the Melvins — I’m pretty sure At the Gates weren’t talking about coffee.

Glowing Darkness — typed as I gulp my rapidly-cooling second cup of the day — is Willems‘ first solo foray and as a producer I think he’d probably be the first to tell you it sounds like it. It’s an exploration of songwriting and song-construction, an experiment in self-direction, and a display of personality quirk that not every artist is willing to make in manner that feels so sincere. “Cabaret Street,” the first single/video/opening track, is at the bottom of this post, and reminds me a bit of Masters of Reality in its weirdo-heavy take on pop bounce. See what you think.

Majestic Mountain will have the release and preorders are up, as the PR wire teaches us:

esben willems glowing darkness

Pre-order for Esben Willem’s solo album ‘Glowing Darkness’ is now open!


Preorder link:

“Glowing Darkness” is the fruition of many years of songwriting, conceptual exploration and the pursuit of creative expression no matter one’s limitations.

A completely DIY, and multifaceted release full of texturally varied composition and irreverent lyricism, ‘Glowing Darkness’ reflects the struggle and absurdity of the human condition through Esben’s personal lens, and though largely autobiographical, at no point does the album take itself too seriously. Exuding endless amounts of catchy, foot tapping hooks and a healthy dose of anthemic raging, ‘Glowing Darkness’ is an inspiringly raucous ode to creating regardless of one’s limitations and includes nine tracks of hook rich, punk spirited alternative rock.

“I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange.”

At Majestic Mountain Records you can except the unexpected!

Track Listing:
1. Cabaret Steet
2. Dear Demon
3. Carte Blanche
4. Embrace The Fall
5. Slow Rain
6. Glowing Darkness
7. Space Bob
8. Fortune Teller
9. Across The Everything

Performed, produced, mixed, and mastered by Esben Willems at Studio Berserk Gothenburg.
Photography by Jonas Andersson
Layout by Rickard Höök

Esben Willems, “Cabaret Street” official video

Esben Willems, Glowing Darkness (2024)

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Keep it Low 2024 Puts Tickets on Sale; Announces Fu Manchu, Truckfighters, Monolord, Greenleaf & More

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 29th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

If you’re the type who likes to take care of things early, well, you’re apparently in good company with the Munich-based Keep it Low Festival. The two-dayer fest, which is one of many under the umbrella of Sound of Liberation booking, is held annually in October, and that’s when it’s set to take place in 2024 as well, at Backstage in Munich on Oct. 11-12. Tickets, however, are on sale almost 10 full months early.

Why? I’m not sure, but I have a definite answer in “why the hell not?,” and I find that when I try to answer that question, I come up blank. So yeah, it seems like that’s really early, but on the other hand, why not put tickets for next year on sale while people are at the fest this year? It’s different, I don’t know if it’s been done before, but doesn’t that just make it a new idea, and is that something so terrible to be chasing down in a climate where live music is trying to draw people out of the entertainment hotbeds we’ve built in our homes?

I’ve gotten sidetracked from this lineup announcement, which came out the other day from Sound of Liberation and hints toward Fall 2024 European tours for at least Fu Manchu, Monolord, Truckfighters, Greenleaf, Messa and Psychlona, but I like to keep an eye for how things evolve from year to year and for all I know, Keep it Low has been doing this every year for the last decade (happy 10th anniversary, by the way) and I’m just picking up on it now because, well, I’m kinda slow sometimes, but it stood out to me as something you might not see all the time. And maybe you like to make early travel arrangements. I know I do.

From social media:

keep it low 2024 first announcement


Hey Keepers,

we are super excited to present you the first bands for next year’s edition of the Keep It Low festival!🔥

Please welcome:


🎫Weekend tickets are available in our shop.

Keep It Low Festival
10th anniversary
🗓️11 & 12 October 2024
📍Backstage Munich

Artwork by Sebastian Jerke

Your Keep It Low Crew

Greenleaf, Live at Desertfest Berlin 2023

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Desertfest London 2024 Makes First Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 8th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

desertfest LONDON 2024 banner

Getting Masters of Reality over has been a project in the works for Desertfest London since before the pandemic, and it looks like 2024 will be the year. The band burned a few bridges over the last couple years when frontman Chris Goss took a hardline right-wing stance on issues surrounding covid and whatever else (that kind of thing will win fans as well in some cases), but their work remains the stuff of legend and any time there’s a connection to OG-era Californian desert rock — as there is with Goss, who was there in his own band and as producer for Kyuss, etc. — that’s a boon and a good get for Desertfest generally, though even if you’re not a Masters of Reality fan owing to politics or just never having gotten on board, the entire line right under them on the poster is unfuckwithable: GodfleshMonolordAcid King and Ufomammut. Goodness gracious. And the next name is Brant Bjork. Gonna be Desertfest, to be sure.

Warms my cold dead ‘eart to see Stinking Lizaveta and Darsombra confirmed — I’ll put Domkraft in that sentimental-favorite category as well, and check out fellow Swedes Astroqueen doing some more traveling — and I look forward to the grandiose plaudits soon to be bestowed on Warpstormer and Goblinsmoker after their respective appearances, which is something Sergeant Thunderhoof should be able to help them through. With Clouds Taste Satanic traversing the Atlantic again, and others like Pijn and DuskwoodMantarMaserati and Monkey3, there’s a three-day fest’s worth of acts already revealed in this first announcement and probably two or three more three-day fests’ worth of names to come. I’ll tell you outright I’d shit a brick to see this. If you’re gonna be there, know how lucky you are.

From the PR wire:

Desertfest London announces 25 bands for 2024 edition including headliners Masters of Reality plus, Godflesh, Monolord, Acid King, Ufomammut & more

Friday 17th May – Sunday 19th May 2024 | Weekend Tickets now on sale

Desertfest London have unveiled 25 bands for their 12th edition, taking place across multiple venues in Camden next May 17th – 19th.

Following their pandemic induced cancellation in 2020, Desertfest is thrilled to announce desert rock pioneers Masters of Reality for the event. It will be the band’s first UK appearance in almost a decade. Masters of Reality is the brainchild of legendary producer Chris Goss (Welcome to Sky Valley, Rated R, Blues for The Red Sun, Dust, Songs for The Deaf). Their combination of hard-rock blues with a progressive tinge makes no apologies for not sticking within the stylised box listeners would expect, yet simultaneously provides the perfect lesson in the musical ethos and story-telling of the Palm Desert scene – all led by the man who laid its foundations.

Following an unforgettable performance at the New York edition of the Desertfest franchise a few months ago, industrial trailblazers Godflesh will return to London for a masterclass in sonic brutality. UK exclusive performances come in the form of Swedish doom masters Monolord, California stoner metal legends Acid King and the long-awaited return of Italian experimentalists Ufomammut.

Further Desert Rock royalty rolls into Camden Town, as Brant Bjork Trio will treat attendees to a back-catalogue few artists can compete with. Instrumental sound shifters Maserati, hard-hitting duo Mantar, introspective visionaries Cloakroom and heavy-psych rockers Monkey3 will take the concept of genres and set them ablaze.

Elsewhere the likes of Blanket, Domkraft, Pijn, Sugar Horse, Stinking Lizaveta and Darsombra will bring a captivating change of pace to the event. Whilst the stoner rock vibes remain alive and well with Astroqueen, Wet Cactus, Sergeant Thunderhoof and Duskwood.

If that wasn’t enough to get your teeth into, Desertfest rounds of its first announcement with Goblinsmoker, Clouds Taste Satanic, Warpstormer, Sonic Taboo & Wizdoom.

Weekend Tickets for the event are on sale now via with much more to still be announced!

Full line-up:


Godflesh, Live in Boston, Massachusetts, Sept. 15, 2023

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Desertfest Oslo 2024 Announces Initial Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 2nd, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Desertfest Oslo banner

Set across two days from May 10-11, the inaugural Desertfest Oslo has made its first lineup announcement, with German heavy rock magnates and now-four-piece Kadavar at the top of the thus-far bill with Monolord as the Swedish riff-huffers apparently will look to return to the road next year. Not a ton of names, but you’ll note those and a few other Desertfest veterans in Acid King and The Brant Bjork Trio (who obviously haven’t played Oslo but have appeared elsewhere under the Desertfest banner), as well as Norway’s own Full Earth, Bismarck (new LP in 2024?) and Agabas rounding out the initial salvo in representing Oslo and the surround country’s vibrant and varied native underground.

A bit of behind-the-scenes fun here as well. This past weekend in Oslo was the annual Høstsabbat Festival, and part of the team behind that event held each year at the Kulturkirken Jacob is also involved in putting together Desertfest Oslo 2024. So after no doubt working on the two at the same time, they’ve now finished one event and almost immediately begun announcements for the next. This is the cycle of festival seasons in Europe now, and that team is not the only crew in the heavy underground with more than one multi-day lineup in progress at the same time.

There are more names to come — certainly Norway has a ton of bands; I’d be surprised if Norna didn’t get added, and Slomosa seem like an absolute must — but there’s time for such things and tickets are on sale in the meantime if you’re either up for making early travel plans (I am) or just looking to spend a bit of cash. It will be interesting to see how this complements Desertfest London and Desertfest Berlin as those two begin their announcements as well for next Spring. Going to be a busy season, I think, but most are.

From social media:

desertfest oslo 2024 first poster

Finally! (#127797#)

It´s time to reveal the first band announcement for the first Scandinavian Desertfest edition ever.

And man, what a start!

We are more than thrilled to present this first batch of bands, including massive Desert-legends such as Acid King and Brant Bjork Trio, the ultra riff-worship from Monolord, German groove-excellence from the lords in KADAVAR, and steaming local talent from Agabas and Bismarck, and to top it off, the new outlet spawning out from wünder-group Kanaan, Full Earth!

This weekend in May will treat you with the best of the best, leaving no amps unturned(#128293#)

Ordinary tickets out now!

More to follow soon..

Kadavar, Live in Bremen, Germany, April 16, 2023

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Freak Valley Festival 2024 Makes First Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 28th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

I have every intention of being at Freak Valley Festival 2024 when it takes place next May into June, and given the first 11 acts to be announced for its lineup, I’m already glad for that. Yes, no doubt Monolord will crush and I just saw 1000mods like a week ago so I know they’re killing it, but the chance to see the likes of Daevar or Fuzzy GrassSpeckMouthFull Earth (begat by Kanaan) and Slomosa, the young Norwegian outfit at the potential spearhead of a new generation of Euro heavy rock — the kind of band who’ll be headlining in a few years if they keep putting the work in like they are and the songs hold up. Already there’s stuff I never thought I’d see, stuff I’ve seen and know will be awesome, and stuff I haven’t seen that I want to see. Call that a win for a first announcement.

I wrote a decent portion of the below, but some was added, so I’m not gonna take full credit or anything like that. Nonetheless, as posted on socials:

freak valley 2024 first announcement

Freak Valley Festival 2024 Lineup Announcement!

Ladies and gentlemen, freaks of all ages, get ready to rock your world at Freak Valley Festival 2024! We’re thrilled to unveil the first part of an incredible lineup featuring some of the most electrifying bands from around the globe.
Freak Valley 2024 is set for May 30 – June 1.

You’ve already seen that Early Freak Tickets are on sale for Sept. 30 at Vortex Surfer in Siegen, and Regular Tickets again Oct. 2. Online sales start Oct. 3 and tickets hit local shops on Oct. 4.
But enough about that!!

You’ve been waiting, we’ve been waiting, and the first band we’re ready to unveil for Freak Valley Festival 2024 is MONOLORD.

The Swedish kingpins of plus-sized riffs were last with us in 2019. Will they be back with a new album next summer? It’s cool to hope so, but either way, you can’t go wrong when Monolord come to crush, which they always do.

They’ll be joined by Greek heavy rock kingpins 1000MODS, Norwegian upstarts SLOMOSA — whose second record will be out by June — and ALEX HENRY FOSTER who you might remember was supposed to play in 2023, as well as DŸSE, SPECK, DAEVAR and FUZZY GRASS from France.

Newcomer Kanaan-offshoot FULL EARTH will join us from from Norway and long-running Chilean sludge outfit DEMONAUTA will grace our stage for the first time.

Rounding out this first announcement closer to home, we’ll bring Köln heavy prog stalwarts MOUTH on board, heralding this year’s ‘Getaway’ LP, which is must-hear if you haven’t!

(#128266#) Here’s the star-studded lineup:

Monolord – 1000mods – Dÿse – Slomosa – Alex Henry Foster – Mouth – Speck – Demonauta- Full Earth- Fuzzy Grass – Daevar

All killers, no fillers. That’s how we do it, freaks. Get your tickets now because they’ll be gone before you know it.

Prepare for an unforgettable weekend filled with mind-blowing performances, heavy riffs, and an atmosphere that’ll keep you rocking all night long. Freak Valley Festival 2024 is set to be an absolute musical extravaganza!

Monolord, It’s All the Same (2023)

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