As Desertfest descends on London once again, we at Echoes and Dust delved through the festival’s astonishing line up for 2023 and chose our Top 10 bands from each day that we at E&D HQ would hope to see. We’ll have people on the ground trying their best to cover as much of the bands as they summon riffs heavier than a neutron star… On the Friday, the festival kicks off in style with a smorgasbord of bands to fit any mood and taste. We can’t help but be drawn to the following bands, A-Z in order:

Bad Breeding – The British contingent present at London’s heaviest festival is strong, as it is every year, and the first on our list are the Stevenage anarcho-punk quartet. They’ve been making waves for years, but 2023 feels like a huge step forward for the four-piece, following on from and supporting the release of their last LP, Human Capital last year.

Church of Misery – Legends of the underground circuit, it’s always an utter delight to catch these stalwarts of the scene back in the UK capital, and when they’re playing a festival, Tatsu Mikami & co. always seem able to invoke a very special set from their incredible back catalogue. Who knows what the Japanese gloomsters have in stall for us this coming weekend.

Dawn Ray’d – Another British band and another holding deep seated anarchist beliefs. Something’s in the water… Well, actually most British people know our water isn’t fit for purpose, and the rage has been simmering for oh so long. With their blur of politics, folk- esque storytelling and stripped back, violin-led black metal, the trio have been turning heads of late, especially with the monumental release of third album, To Know the Light, very recently.

Discharge – Of course they were going to make this list. Absolute luminaries of the punk scene and another towering quality export from UK shores. 2016’s End of Days showed everyone who might have doubted whether the band still had it in them to deliver a venomous album with bite and twists on their core sound, that Discharge still has plenty left in the tank. We expect an unhinged performance that will make many a young punk band look positively tame and tired by comparison.

Earth Moves – While their sound is very much rooted in Desertfest’s metal de rigueur, Brighton’s finest also flirt with sounds from post-rock, shoegaze and even screamo. Growing day by day into an ever more fascinating musical prospect and project, we’re sure that the quartet will use the stage of the festival to grow and become many more people’s “ones to watch”.

GNOB – Despite next year marking a decade of the band, East London’s GNOB have only graced us with one full-length record so far, 2018’s Electric Dream Demon. Always a transfixing prospect live, with their heavy psych that has an undercurrent of Eastern and Arabic influences weaving through multicoloured waters, we can’t wait to hear material known to us, and hopefully some tantalising new jams.

Kurokuma – The Sheffield trio are one of the UK’s best kept (but annoyingly kept!) secrets at the moment. After a number of EPs, last year saw the self-release of their bewitching, transcendent debut album, Born of Obsidian. Psychedelic rock that is punctuated by howling, punishingly heavy sludge metal, the band are surely set to steal hearts and minds at this year’s edition of Desertfest. Make sure you have your earplugs at the ready as soon as you spot them take to the stage!

Sum of R – Our good friends at Consouling Sounds released a titan of an album in 2022 – namely Lahbryce, the new album from the reincarnated Sum of R. A musical project of Reto Mäder (Ural Umbo, JeGong, and more) from as far back as 2007, Sum of R on the new record and beyond is Mäder alongside Jukka Rämänen (Atomikylä, Dark Buddha Rising, Hexvessel, Waste Of Space Orchestra) and Marko Neuman (Ural Umbo, Waste of Space Orchestra, and many more). Hypnotic and uncanny minimalist music that still manages to crush you under its gravity.

Wyatt E. – The trio of the mysterious and perplexing Wyatt E. manage to conjure flashes of images from other lives; and the ability to travel back to the past leading to ancient gods, forgotten cities and lost civilisations. 2022’s mesmerising āl bēlūti dārû cemented them as a band that are on their own path, carving a different journey than most can even begin to imagine. Essential viewing live, have no doubt.

Year of No Light – How could we possibly leave the French post-metal stars off of Friday’s list? Having celebrated their twentieth anniversary in 2021, the band show no signs of slowing down, having released the astonishing new LP, Consolamentum, as well as reissuing all of their past work in a gorgeous boxset with the help of one of E&D’s favourite labels, Pelagic Records. YONL return to London to level the city once again,

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