AMENRA TO CELEBRATE THEIR 20TH YEAR AS DESERTFEST’S SATURDAY HEADLINERS!

We at Desertfest are ecstatic to round off our most diverse field of headliners in the festival's history with Belgium's Amenra as they celebrate their 20th year of ethereal heaviness at The Electric Ballroom on Saturday 4th May.

Formed in Kortrjik, Belgium in 1999 by Colin H. van Eeckhout (vocals) and Mathieu Vandekerckhove (lead guitar) - both formerly of the hardcore punk outfit Spineless - Amenra's mission statement has always been to create music which leans more forcefully into the influences of the heart and the soul. Over the years, that goal has been achieved via a sound which, whilst rooted to post-metal, has delighted in straying into the realms of doom, sludge and hardcore to name but a small scattering of the paths Amenra have walked.

Always engaging, whichever era of the band you delve into, Amenra's series of six albums - titled Mass I through to Mass VI - and countless splits, collaborations, EP's and even side projects showcase a team of musicians with a singularly voracious aim of producing something special and meaningful with every ounce of their combined energies. Amenra's vision and DIY ethic is one with enough weight that it expands outside of the core of the band and into their hugely respected Church of Ra collective, which boasts Oathbreaker, Wiegedood, Hessian, The Black Heart Rebellion and more as proud members. To say that Amenra have a wide reaching influence on the world of atmospheric heavy is a huge understatement.

We would be proud to have Amenra headline Desertfest on any year, but to have them on the year they celebrate their 20th anniversary makes it all the more special for us and also the band themselves. Founding member CHVE had this to say about their upcoming appearance:

"Two decades of friendship brought us here. In this time, this place, of sublime gratitude, we all found solace in our sound; and are still around. It’s hard sometimes to look back - the moments of happiness we shared and those moments that broke us - through thick and thin; above anything I feel grateful. Grateful towards all band members, towards all people that stood and still stand by us throughout the years, thats why we want to celebrate it with you.

We realize that what we have is special, maybe one of a kind. That is why we want to celebrate it with you and thank you for helping us persevere.

Throughout the year we will do a select amount of specially chosen shows, and Desertfest London will be one of those moments where it all comes together - where we all come together - and persevere."

We cannot wait for May to roll along. Be sure to experience a show unlike anything else when Amenra headline The Electric Ballroom at Desertfest on Saturday 4th May.

Words: Tom Geddes

DISCOVER THE SECRET AT DESERTFEST!

Few bands out there hit you like a clawhammer to the skull and then continue do so repeatedly with no regard for mercy or empathy until they're done with whatever's left of you.

Southern Lord’s The Secret make no excuses that this is anything but their sole intention on each and every occasion, either live or on record.

Born in Trieste, Italy in around 2003, The Secret are not the most prolific in terms of landing new recordings, but their efficiency in extremism has never been questioned. With a blackened crust aesthetic marrying breakneck, blasting grind rhythms and caustic, buzzing death riffs to Marco Coslovich's septic, earth-splintering roar, The Secret land somewhere between Dragged Into Sunlight and Mgla in a death-match between the bleak and the harrowed. It's not just about raw power and pace though, a subtle blend of layered guitars and syths adds to an atmosphere that's as uncomfortable as it is uncompromising on both the most recent full length Agnus Dei and the blistering Solve Et Coagula.

Music for the faint-hearted this is not, but gather around the candlelight and amp stacks shrouded in darkness deeper within Desertfest 2019 to discover one of extreme music's most talented of Secrets as they play their first UK show in 5 years.

Words: Pete Green

CHVE & SYNDROME CONTINUE OUR 20 YEARS OF AMENRA CELEBRATIONS!

With Amenra marking their 20th year in 2019, we're playing host to not one, but two special sets celebrating their contributions to ethereal ambient sounds. On Saturday night, the band headlines The Electric Ballroom in what is sure to be a unique, captivating performance, whilst on Sunday at The Underworld, we bear witness to a more intimate project; CHVE x Syndrome.

As Amenra's two founding members, Colin H. van Eeckhout (vocals) and Mathieu Vandekerckhove (lead guitar) have a long history of working together musically, though, as with any great artist, both eventually desired an outlet for solo material; thus were born CHVE (Eeckhout) and Syndrome (Vandekerckhove) respectively. More delicate than their combined efforts, and both with a heavier leaning into the droning tones, CHVE & Syndrome have created legitimate masterpieces (See Rasa and Forever and a Day for clear evidence of this) whilst treading their own personal paths, producing music which is good for the soul. 

Whilst separate musically from Amenra and, indeed, each other, both projects, through the shared experiences of the men involved, have an undeniable influence upon each other; so much so that it only makes sense that the vibes emanating from their individual works were to collide. In CHVE x Syndrome, the musicians do just that, collaborating in a way wholly unparalleled to their previous collaborations with a much closer and more personal feel.

This will be perhaps the most unmissable event at this year's Desertfest. Be sure not to miss CHVE x Syndrome at The Underworld on Sunday 5th May.

Words: Tom Geddes

SKRAECKOEDLAN - HERE BE MONSTERS!

Sweden’s Skraeckoedlan have recently released their third album, a pivotal outing by the name of Eorþe. It’s out through Fuzzorama Records and it brings to light the core approach of what the now-trio have always brought to heavy: choice songwriting, right-on tones and a progressive metal sensibility that’s given them a ready expansion over the course of their decade together.

To say Eorþe -- which translates simply to “earth” -- is their most accomplished offering yet is to undersell it. It’s all the more appropriate that the album should arrive through Fuzzorama, the imprint helmed by members of now-defunct Desertfest veterans Truckfighters, because Skraeckoedlan would seem to have inherited that band’s penchant for fuzz-based exploration, and the songs on Eorþe have a character unto themselves, whatever elements they might share with the band’s past work on 2015’s Sagor or 2011’s debut, Äppelträdet.

It is a tale of grandiose seabeasts -- also landbeasts! -- and the madness they inspire, and a forward-thinking assemblage of tracks that finds bassist/vocalist Robert Lamu (ask him about his Dozer tattoo!), guitarist/vocalist Henrik Grüttner and drummer Martin Larsson coherently working as a trio for the first time while still holding firm to the infectious energy that’s always given Skraeckoedlan such sonic momentum.

Expect the earth to shake when Skraeckoedlan plods into Camden Town for the 2019 Desertfest. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Words: JJ Koczan

GET UNDER THE BLANKET AT DESERTFEST 2019!

Blackpool’s Blanket have risen to success on the strength of two EPs and last year’s How To Let Go LP, which was recorded under Music For Nations, a label that snapped them up quickly after their formation in 2016.

Initially started by Bobby Pook (guitar, vocals) and Simon Morgan (guitar), Blanket has been creating sweeping Post-Rock soundscapes for nigh-on four years, joined along the way by the ample talents of Steven Pellatt (drums) and Matthew Sheldon (bass). The band has toured Europe tirelessly for the last two years, both of which boasted crowd-slaying performances at throughout.

Ranging from cinematic piano-lead introspection that Radiohead fans will feel at home with, to violent crescendos that may even remind you of prime Deftones, each song is an event unto itself that explores the ultimate extremes that these skilled sonic conjurors can summon. Come wrap yourself in the varied textures and epic compositions of Blanket at Desertfest 2019! 

Words: Rich Sheppard

ONE FOR SORROW TO MAKE DESERTFEST 2019 A JOY!

This London quartet of Groove Metal marauders, One For Sorrow, have been scene regulars for over five years now and in that time have achieved such highs as playing Bloodstock & Download festivals, and supporting heroes like Honky and Soulfly.

The foursome of Joe Thompson (vocals), Jason Putter (guitars), Andrew 'Snakes' Louis (bass) and Ross Quinn (drums) have become a rock-solid unit from years of tireless touring and during that time their sound has developed into a unique English take on the masters of the craft like  Down, Crowbar and COC, bands which One For Sorrow gladly name as some of their most loved inspirations. Mix in the soulfulness of Alice In Chains and plenty of thrash metal attack, and you have a band that can coax any audience into awe then frenzy, from one song to the next.

With both their 2013 EP Backs to the Wall, and 2016 LP Blood Songs, they have received unfaltering great reviews across the board. One For Sorrow show the yanks that they are more than a match, ready to bring the Desertfest roof crashing down this year, to the sounds of the deep NOLA south, tempered with the ominous threat of slayer-thrashing fury bubbling away underneath.

Words: Rich Sheppard

Photo: Danielle Spires

HIGH PRIESTESS BRING MYSTERIOUS RIFFAGE TO DESERTFEST 2019!

LA's High Priestess are potentially a new name to many but we're delighted to announce that their brand of enchanting, bewitching doom metal will be gracing us in Camden this coming April.

The power trio, helmed by banshee-wailing guitarist Katie Gilchrest and rounded out by Mariana Fiel on bass and Megan Mullins on drums, have already made a name for themselves with their 2018 self-titled album out now on Ripple, as well as numerous shows around California and beyond. Meshing stiff, taut, metallic riffage on the one hand with the ethereal calm and mystery of Katie's near-gothic vocal layers and shimmering organ work, High Priestess offer both a comforting vintage rock front but with some more unsettling moments of psychedelic grandeur thrown in for good measure. If you think Acid King jamming with Chrch and Subrosa, with Year of the Cobra watching on from the sound desk is a your idea of a great night out, then you won't go too far wrong with these riff dealers n mind stealers right here in Camden Town.

Words: Pete Green