The Desertfest Diaries
~Words & Snaps by James Yeats~
It was my first trip overseas, and what better way to spend it than at a doom metal festival in London? Many people say that Europe is the place to be for the genre, and after attending DESERTFEST LONDON 2017, I can certainly see why. Taking over an entire borough of London and spanning over five different venues, the fest still managed to sell out completely, filling the streets of Camden with patch jacket bearing doomers from around the world. I travelled there and spent the weekend in a main group of six, including myself and Sam (of Wizzerd.), and our good friends in Elder Druid and Electric Octopus from Northern Ireland, Jake, Gregg, Dale, and Tyrell. Here I will take you through each day of the fest, highlighting some of my favorite sets, as well as the sights and sounds taken in during such a festival.
A serious hangover did not stop anyone from starting early the next day. I found myself at the Underworld first, just in time to catch the full set by the epic San Francisco doomsters Brume. Brume was a band that I had only heard and read about before this set, and I made sure to be there because of all the praise I’d seen regarding their new album, ‘Rooster’ (2017). Many have said that it is one of the best doom albums of the year, but after seeing this set and subsequently listening to the album dozens of times, I would argue it’s one of the best doom albums of the past ten years. Slow and heavy was the best way to get my neck ready for the rest of the day, and Brume gave me just that. With strong rhythm and massive tone, the set kept me intrigued with Suzy’s soaring vocals and clean breaks with psychedelic guitar effects that put the listener in an ethereal state before dropping the hammers of doom again. For the final song of the set, guest musicians were brought to the stage to provide extra guitar and vocal texture, which vocally created a play between clean female vocals and harsh male vocals that satisfied all of my cravings for something a little more blackened. All around, this made for what may have been my favorite set of the festival.