One of the stages I will be glued to at Desertfest 2018 is the Old Empire stage. The stage boasts an international selection of talent that contains something for everyone, from sludge metal to doom, experimental and even grindcore. The Old Empire Stage brings together some of the best of the Underground at the Electric Ballroom.
Winterfylleth are one of the leaders of the pack with British black metal. Winterfylleth may not be an obvious choice for Desertfest, but they have the lengthy black metal epics with a dash of beauty to back it up. The band have been promoting their latest album, the haunting acoustic album The Hallowing Of Heirdom and we may hear a few tracks from that at the Ballroom. But whatever they play, a mark will be left on the stage.
ADCX are one of those bands who have too many different genres in the mix to name. Space doom, hardcore, post-rock, avant-garde, it is impossible to name them all. But what the young band from Southend-on-Sea do is truly brilliant, they are a band who have got a bright future ahead if they carry on the way they are going. Challenging, boundary-pushing stuff at only 16:30 is something to marvel about.
Five the Hierophant are probably wizards, the instrumentalists who have somehow created an ungodly mix of a psychedelia, black metal, experimental jazz, post-metal and even ambient music. But what’s best about it is that’s it’s incredibly engaging, like jumping down a rabbit hole into a weird occult ritual, but it’s one that will be a unique trip for the viewer at Desertfest.
Eyehategod are the band I’m looking forward to the most on the Friday. They are a top five pick from the whole weekend. Eyehategod are legends who have influenced most of the sludge bands on the line-up, they are a band that for the last thirty years have been unrelenting, and despite many personal setbacks, they have kept on going. The 2015 festival headliners will make a triumphant return to the UK after a long absence, and we are so glad they are back.
Warning are one of the UK’s most prolific doom bands, having recently reunited last year, the band are finally returning to London to play Desertfest. Expect misery, heartbreak and astonishing beautiful riffs and melodies from Patrick Walker and his not-so-merry men.
Napalm Death are one of the best things to come out of Britain. Their sheer drive and determination along with being unapologetic for waving the flag for all good causes, has made them an even more relevant force for change in the era of Trump and Brexit. Napalm Death are one of the greatest bands of all time, they may not be a stoner band, but their crushing riffs make them a force to be reckoned with. When I interviewed Desertfest organiser Reece Tee in 2017, he said that Desertfest is a “celebration of underground music,” and there is no better band than Napalm Death.
After Napalm Death there is a DJ set from Old Empire and an afterparty with stoner legends ASG. The Electric Ballroom is definitely the place to be on Friday if you like your music a bit extreme.