We've had a long and happy relationship with Old Empire over the years at Desertfest - mainly because of the astonishing and diverse lineups they put together for their very own stage. The Old Empire Stage at Desertfest 2018 might be the most astonishing and diverse yet.
Taking place on Friday 4th May at Electric Ballroom, 2018's Old Empire Stage is bigger than ever and to prove it, they've only gone and booked THE undisputed kings of the UK underground metal scene, Napalm Death, to headline.
The Midlands-founded and world-famous four piece have been called many things over the years, from extreme metal, to crust punk, to grindcore, but simply put, they are breakneck rapid and guttural as all hell. Innovating metal and all its subgenres from the moment their first record, the impeccable Scum, reared its furious head, Napalm Death have not only been innovators as a unit; they have also provided the launch pad for former members Lee Dorrian, Bill Steer and Justin Broadrick to name but a few.
Now, a quarter of a century from solidifying their mainstay lineup, Napalm Death have continued that path of breakneck brutality right through to their last record Apex Predator - Easy Meat... and it's looking likely to continue with their next.
Of Napalm Death's headline appearance, Old Empire say, "Napalm Death’s influence on modern metal, doom, grind and stoner music is immeasurable. From the utter head fuck of ‘Scum’ to the short sharp shock of ‘Apex Predator’, these legends have been firmly at the top of our wishlist since it all began. We are incredibly honoured to be hosting them and for a headline slot no less!" We couldn't agree more and are ecstatic to catch them at Desertfest.
Joining them on the bill are the recently reformed game-changers, Warning. Beginning life as a traditional metal band inspired by the likes of Baltimore’s doom forbearers Revelation, Warning evolved into a band unafraid to test the boundaries of what doom could be. In a genre dominated by fantasy, machismo, and morbidity, Warning proved that a metal band can be as much about heart as banging your head, contemplating relationships, longing, and loss.
Reformed early in 2017 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the perfect Watching From a Distance, Old Empire have convinced the band to stick around for a wee while longer. Old Empire tells us, "On the eighth day God (Patrick Walker) created ‘Watching from a Distance’ – he saw, and it was good… You better have my funeral in a big church because at 50 minutes long it’s going to be a slow walk to the Church doors."
The previously announced Eyehategod will be making their Desertfest appearance on the Old Empire Stage too. The NOLA sludgesters have survived everything from Hurricane Katrina to the untimely passing of former drummer Joey Lacaze, turning that pain upside down into walls of riffs punctuated by the unmistakable poetry of Mike IX Williams. Old Empire adds, "We think Eyehategod absolutely embody the spirit of what Old Empire and Desertfest is about. A little bit of heavy metal, a whole bunch of venom and tons of groove – we’re all well aware of the party that ensues when these NOLA heavyweights take the stage, so get fucking ready! "
Also joining the Old Empire stage are black-metal Mancs, Winterfylleth. Known as much for their historical aesthetic as for their dark, black-metal atmospherics, they'll be attempting to give Napalm Death a run for their money as heaviest band of the day. Old Empire adds, "We first saw Winterfylleth in the backroom of a Kingston pub in 2011. The output from this Mancunian quartet since then has been simply staggering, they have consistently been one of our favourite bands."
Shrouded in mystery, we're interested to see where Five The Hierophant take us when they finally take to the stage to perform. Given their releases, we anticipate one of the darkest, most unsettling sets of the whole weekend. Old Empire adds, "We were immediately grabbed by the intriguing artwork and the dark jazz soundscapes on FTH's new release ‘Over Phelgethon’ – Part doom, part drone, part jazz and all oppression. This mysterious band will be making their live debut at Desertfest 2018."
Last, but by not even the slightest means least, we're proud to be hosting upstarts ACDX of whom Old Empire say "New Kids on the Block, we were immediately impressed when their new EP ‘The Day I Heard the Moon Roar” turned up in our inbox. Equal parts Isis, Hawkwind and Opeth. The dictionary definition would simply say of this Essex group, ‘indefinable.’" The London based newcomers are sure to be an early treat, so make sure you're in Camden the second those doors open at Desertfest 2018.
We can't state enough how over the moon we are with what Old Empire has brought to the table yet again, so, before you rush off the page to buy tickets, we'll leave you with these final words from Old Empire.
“We have been comrades with Desertfest for a long time. Back in the day we were both promoting bands at spit and sawdust boozers and now here we are, together again for our 4th year, at Desertfest 2018 and the hallowed Electric Ballroom no less!
From the vitriol of Napalm Death to the haunting polyrhythms of ADCX, this is our most eclectic line up to date. We hope you will join us." Old Empire