Live Review: Desert Storm with Blind River, Big Mono and The Grudge at The 229, London (20/05/23)

The 229 in London is playing host to a cacophony of noise as the progressive sludge and groove metal band, Desert Storm are in town with the ‘Death Rattle London Launch show’. Death Rattle being their new album (released March 31st via APF Records), an imaginative record that is exceptionally listenable. Read our full review here.

The heavy noise of Desert Storm in the 229 being complimented by the hard rock energy of Blind River, the rock groove of Big Mono, and the rock and roll sound of The Grudge. That’s a lot of rock, which does make for a head-scratching line-up when you consider the sound of Desert Storm. Ok, they’re not a million miles away from the sound of the rest of the line-up, but they are notably heavier and more intense.

A prior engagement meant were weren’t able to get to the venue in time to see The Grudge (sorry!) but we did see most of Big Mono. Who have drawn a sizeable crowd down early and got them moving in what is a bit of a sweatbox. Thankfully, someone in the 229 found the ‘on’ switch for the aircon near the end of Big Mono’s energetic and riff-heavy set. There’s a lot of grooves, there’s a lot of moves, and there’s a lot of heads banging along. Big Mono are at home in a venue like this, and the crowd lap up their big rock tunes gratefully.

Talking of sizeable crowds though, it sure seems like a lot of people have come to the 229 for Blind River. A band who performs as though they are the headline act, in awe of the response to their energy, but confident in their abilities too. There are a few songs that fall a little flat personally, and there’s a bit too much talking between tracks, however, there’s no arguing with the majority here. Blind River grab this opportunity with both hands and leave the masses breathless and grinning from ear to ear. An extremely tough act to follow.

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Which is a small problem for Desert Storm as the venue is notably emptier when they hit the stage at 10pm. It’s a shame, but those who do remain (and there are plenty) are treated to a momentous example as to why this band are so impressive. It’s meaty, it’s mean, it’s deliciously groovy, it’s gurn-inducing, and head-banging encouraging stuff from this band. The new tracks sound immense live, sitting comfortably beside the best of what Desert Storm have put out previously. An hour flying by in a blur of big riffs, pounding beats, and delightful intensity. An exceptional live show from this band.


  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!

Desert Storm with Blind River, Big Mono and The Grudge at The 229, London (20/05/23)
  • Desert Storm - 9/10
  • Blind River - 7.5/10
  • Big Mono - 7/10
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