On 16th March Desert Storm’s “Sentinels” is released on vinyl, CD and digital download, their fifth album following Desert Storm (2008), Forked Tongues (2010), Horizontal Life (2013) and Omniscient (2014). In advance of its release we caught up with guitarist Chris White for a chat.
APF: For those not in the know, tell us how Desert Storm got together ten years ago.
Chris: We are all friends from school. Myself, Elliot (Cole, drums) and Ryan (Cole, guitar) were in a previous band that finished, so from there we got in touch with Matt (Ryan, vocals) and Chris (Benoist, bass) to form a new band. From there we never looked back!
APF: Tell us about the recording of Sentinels. Any tales from the sessions?
Chris: The sessions for this album actually started 2 years ago. We recorded a selection of songs at Flesh & Bone studios in Hackney over the course of weekend sessions over a period of around 6 months. It was later that year that we wrote ‘Journeys End’, then felt that it really needed to be on the album. So in February 2017 we booked more sessions at Woodworm Studios in Oxford to record the song to round off the album. So it has been a long process to get to this point!
APF: Sentinels is distinctly darker and heavier than previous releases. Was this something you went for deliberately?
Chris: I think our style has evolved a lot over the past two to three years. As we were gathering material for our previous album Omniscient, we felt that we were starting to favour the darker more progressive sound over the more classic rock influences or our earlier work. That album had a wide range of musical styles present, so with Sentinels we wanted to focus on our heavier side, but still keep the blues influences that allow us to keep the groove in our music.
APF: Which of the new songs are you most proud of, and why?
Chris: I think Kingdom of Horns is a song we are all very proud of. I think it marks another evolution of our band stylistically, as we have a song that is both heavy and dynamic at the same time.
APF: Looking back at your previous releases, which one is your favourite?
Chris: I think Horizontal Life is an album we look back on with pride. It was the first album of ours that really started to get some acclaim in the UK, and I think it really helped to create a platform for us going forward. Plus there are plenty of current live favourites from that album too!
APF: What’s your aspirations with this band at this stage of your career? Any unfulfilled ambitions with it?
Chris: We really want to bring our music to as many people as possible. We are pushing to tour as much as we can, hopefully this album will get the critical acclaim to bring us to the attention of metal fans across the UK and Europe.
APF: What’s your favourite city or venue to play? And are there any places you’ve not gigged yet but would like to?
Chris: The USA has been a long term ambition for us to tour in, as musically the US and UK share so much heritage that it feels like a rite of passage for British bands to make the trip over the Atlantic. It’s difficult to suggest a favourite city to play, but hometown shows in Oxford still feel special as we are playing to fans who supported us from the beginning.
APF: What’s the best and worst things about being on the road?
Chris: The best thing is being able to do the thing that you love full time, as it’s something that most bands really aspire to do. The worst thing is the long hours sat in the van smelling whatever awful food Elliot or Ryan bought from the previous petrol station.
APF: How do you manage juggling having jobs and touring so often? Is it a difficult balance?
Chris: It is difficult as we all have very busy lives away from the band, so aligning 5 people to be in the same place at the same time is always a challenge. At the end of the day we love doing it, we may have missed a few birthdays along the way but unfortunately it’s sometimes a price you have to pay.
APFL You’ve joined a label which now has 16 bands on the roster. Which is your favourite of the other bands on APF Records and why? Be honest haha, the other 15 won’t be offended. Probably.
Chris: Well we have been friends with Diesel King for many years and have done plenty of gigs with them, so it’s great that we are now part of the same family with APF Records!
Desert Storm’s “Sentinels” is available to pre-order now from: