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 Sunday, we’re spoilt for choice once again, but at E&D Towers we settled on these ten choice picks to finish up another brilliant edition of Desertfest London:
Acid Mammoth – Formed in Athens, Greece, in 2015, the doom metal four-piece can sound completely retro and crushing in the best possible way, while also injecting enough modern groove and sensibility into their sound that they have opened new doors in the mind, and on the road, for what doom can be in the modern scene.
BIG|BRAVE – An ever-evolving beast, BIG|BRAVE have become a stalwart of the post- everything scene almost since the trio first gave the project breath. Now, over a decade since their formation, the band continues to explore the subtleties of their unique blend of sounds; simultaneously feeling tightly composed and free form. With 2021’s Vital and their collaboration with The Body (Leaving None But Small Birds) they attracted a whole new legion of fans, and this year – only recently – they have already gifted us with a new bewildering sonic instalment, in the form of the breath-taking Nature Morte.
Blood Ceremony – The distinct style of flute-tinged witch rock that has evolved from an infernal marriage of occult-inspired acid folk and vintage hard-rock riffing could almost be the description of the band at the heart of a Spinal Tap-esque new film. . . If only the resulting music weren’t quite so mind-blowing. Blood Ceremony demand to be listened to, and within moments their curious riffage gets the head nodding. No doubt they will convert yet more to their coven.
Bloodswamp – Formed in only 2019, this London band have already grabbed the attention of many in the local and national scenes – and no doubt very, very soon far further afield. Taking their name from a Sunn O))) and Boris collaborative track, the four-piece will crush all in their wake, merging thunderous sludge/doom with choice flecks of black metal, post- metal and noise thrown in for good – bludgeoning – measure.
BORIS – Another band that no writer could possibly overlook when compiling a list of “must see” bands for almost any occasion, the Japanese legends return to London to be crowned as undeniably one of the best to ever do it. It’s the only coronation we’re happy to watch! It’s almost impossible to sum up their career and achievements to date, so we won’t even try. Safe to say they will blow everyone’s mind who chooses to witness them, hopefully playing some tracks from across their astonishing recent catalogue: LΦVE & EVΦL (2019), No (2020), Fade (2022) and Heavy Rocks (2022).
Celestial Sanctuary – Desertfest are never afraid to push the boundaries of what the initial remit and vision of the festival was, and while most may associate the festival very strongly with desert rock, stoner and doom, in recent years we’ve enjoyed some cheeky new inclusions to keep things fresh, interesting and sonically varied. In, then, come new-wave-of-death-metal-band Celestial Sanctuary, who tore many listeners a new one with their 2021 debut album Soul Diminished on London’s own Church Road Records.
Jo Quail – It’s no secret that Jo is a favourite of ours at Echoes & Dust, and we cannot wait to see what she has in store for the Desertfest crowd. An acclaimed composter and virtuoso cellist, at home in the heavy surrounds of the forthcoming festival or with a huge orchestra (we doubt they’ll be in tow for this performance, but never say never!), Jo has proven time and time again that she can blow away many with her unique compositions and performance. We can’t wait to see what is up that sleeve this time.
King Buffalo – Having formed in 2013 in Rochester, New York, the self-proclaimed heavy psych outfit, with four EPs and four LPs to their name, released Regenerator, their fifth full-length, late last year. The band may operate in a crowded space, incorporating classic space rock into their sonic arsenal over the last few years too, but with the sheer quality they regularly create alongside their stunning live presence, the three-piece are unmissable.
Wall – Elliot and Ryan Cole have been stalwarts of the international stoner doom scene for many years now, making a name for themselves as members of Desert Storm and touring relentlessly in that time. Wall – so helpful for an internet search, we know – was conceived during the anxious and frustrating time during lockdown. Instrumental sludge/doom that makes a shrine to all things Sabbath (even more than other like-minded bands!), the duo serve up irresistible music that Desertfest lovers will lose their minds to.
Warren Schoenbright – The London-based experimental industrial metal/noise project will be familiar to many who grace underground gigs across the capital’s myriad venues, but that’s no reason not to highlight them in this larger context. Consisting of Dan McClennan on drums and Alex Virji on bass and vocals, Warren Schoenbright continue to grow and transform into something very special indeed. A metamorphosis across years and even within a set itself, we at Echoes & Dust are sure the duo will take many by surprise this Sunday.