Live Review: Desert Storm – Manchester

Live Review: Desert Storm - Deaf Institute, Manchester
18th February 2022
Support: Goblinsmoker and Battalions
Words: Neil Bolton

I am not sure if the original venue for tonights show fell victim to storm Eunice, or the power outage was just one of those things, but fair play to all involved as the easy option would have been to throw the towel in and pack up! But no, a new venue was found, and the good side of social media was on display to inform audience members of the relocated show now at The Deaf Institute.

The doom of Goblinsmoker begins the night with distorted sludge guitars digging a trench for the black metal vocals of Adam Kennedy to wallow in. It is a mix that sets this band apart from others and they go down quite well. The tunes are slow and nasty whetting the appetite for what’s to come.

Up next are the incredible Hull boys Battalions. They smash the stage with 'Betrayal & Delusion' and Phil Wilkinson’s guttural vocals never sounded better. The beat and sway of their music grabs hold of the audience, several of whom know the words and grunts of tonights set.

Throughout many of the dates of this tour bass player Matt Dennet is playing double duty, with this band and Desert Storm. The energy levels and skill on show is most enjoyable. A couple of new tracks are thrown in the set and are as powerful and extreme as their existing material. The groove and bounce that is the trade mark of this band flows through the set. Pete Cross’s riffs cause heads to bang and faces to grin simultaneously. There is a cheery vibe in the room as we learn why another new song is named 'Diagnosis Fucked'.

By the time 'Devils Footsteps' makes an appearance there is a collection of leather jackets, satanic t-shirts, black hoodies, patterned dresses and plaid shirts dancing, head banging or both. This band create a marvellous atmosphere and seem to be enjoying themselves as well. The title track from their current release 'Forever Marching Forward' bounces out from Simon Harrisons’ drum kit, right to the other end of the venue and completes this amazing set. Leaving me to to surmise that, right at this moment in time, Battalions are the greatest band in the world.

The talents of Desert Storm are the headlining factor of this event, as they celebrate 15 years with this tour. This band have a progressive stoner sound with the amazing vocal aptitude of Matt Ryan blending perfectly with the powerful crunch and bite of their music. The punch to the stomach these gentleman can provide is just outstanding. All members are perfect in their job, and Ryan has an ease with the crowd that just adds to his front man arsenal.

We are only on the second track and 'The Machine' sees bassist Dennet pounding his bass with audience members carrying on the same atmosphere of glee and enjoyment that was created earlier.

By the time we get to 'Vengeful Gods' I am pissed wet though with sweat, while the band are just flowing through the set with ease and might. Remember one member is on his second stint of the night, and he shows no sign of fatigue.
We are treated to a new song called 'Master of None' (I think) and it revels in the same exciting elements that make this band such a joy.

To the call of “One last time Manchester” we finish off the set and the night with 2013’s 'Enslaved in the Icy Tundra' giving the crowd one last time to dance or bang their heads. The crunchy riff and face grimacing bounce of this track sums up this gig, this group, and this night. Fabulous!

Header image credit: Tim Finch Photography

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