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Desertfest UK 2022: Day 3 Featuring Electric Wizard, Yob And Eyehategod

There's no feeling more bittersweet than the last day of a good festival. On the one hand, you know that you've still got another day of fun ahead, but on the other, it's back to the real world tomorrow and all that goes with it. If it's time to go though, it's best to do it in style and so it was that the final day was spent entirely at The Roundhouse, a beautiful venue a little further away from the others in Camden, but well worth the small trip. It's hosted so many legendary bands over its history and has been the setting for live albums from such bands as Kreator, Opeth, X-Ray Spex and Paradise Lost to name a few. There really was no better place to experience the atmosphere and spirit of Desertfest, which by now has become as important in the doom fans' calendar as Roadburn.

While there were of course many upset fans when it was revealed that The Obsessed were unable to perform, the announcement of Dvne as their replacement was met with a great deal of excitement. Promoting their latest album, "Etemen Ænka," it was easy to see why people were so fascinated to see them. The band are hard to pin down, taking elements of doom, progressive and post metal and creating a soundscape which borders on the ethereal. Despite having two albums under their belt, it seemed to be only songs from the aforementioned "Etemen Ænka" on display, which didn't seem to bother their fans at all, who were lost in the atmosphere created by the Edinburgh quintet. If you're interested in music that paints a picture, then Dvne should definitely be on your list.

Up next was one of the most anticipated bands of the festival, Liverpool's own, Conan. It has been said numerous times how heavy Conan are, especially live, but they certainly have to be seen to be believed. The trio took to the stage to the sounds of Conan The Barbarian's famous "What Is Best In Life?" scene and immediately began crushing the skulls of everyone in attendance with opening number "Hawk As Weapon." It's surprising how relatively recent Conan were formed, now in their sixteenth year, you'd be forgiven for thinking they'd been around for decades, such was the hero's embrace they received with every song.

Frontman Jon Davis confirmed during the set that a new album would be on its way later this year (he did reveal the title but unfortunately the name escapes me,) and the audience were treated to two new songs from the record, each being a gargantuan and punishing treat. Almost certainly, Conan will have gone down as one of the top performances of the festival, disappointing no one, making their mark and cementing their place as one of British doom's greatest bands.

Eyehategod are a law unto themselves. The New Orleans legends should be on every metal fan's bucket list, even if you think that you don't like them, because they are one of the most memorable live acts you will ever see. As soon as they attempted to begin their set, a problem with the bass amp delayed their performance, prompting frontman Mike IX to declare to the audience, "We're fuck ups, but if you're one too then you'll probably like our music." Eventually however, they got going and everyone in The Roundhouse was treated to some of the most aggressive music of the weekend, with staples like "Blank/Shoplift" and "Sisterfucker" (which included a typically curt introduction from Mike IX) being delivered with full force to the ears of the crowd.

More recent favourites weren't ignored either, with "New Orleans Is The New Vietnam" and "Medicine Noose" also getting an airing. Eyehategod are the perfect blend of punk rock attitude and metal weight and should be treasured for as long as they're still around, just don't call them a sludge band, as Mike IX made clear on stage, "Sludge doesn't mean anything. I hate that fucking term. We're a fucking rock and roll band."

I cited Conan as 21st century legends earlier and the same can certainly be said of the next band, Yob, whose debut album, "Elaborations Of Carbon" celebrates its twentieth birthday tomorrow (May 13th.) However, tonight was more about their latest release, "Our Raw Heart," from which four songs were performed. Not that the fans seemed to mind, as Yob turned The Roundhouse into their own arena of reflection and sonic discovery, with one festival goer even excitedly walking up to me and shouting, "This is amazing isn't it!? This is unreal!" Indeed it was, random man, though one does suspect that fans were feeling the vibe more than neutrals or interested onlookers.

That's not to say that this was for fans only however, as there were plenty of new ones by the time Yob finished their set, which also included two songs from the 2009 album, "Atma" (namely "The Lie That Is Sin" and "The Burning Altar.") I had joked with friends beforehand that given their hour and fifteen minute set time, Yob may have long enough to play four songs and the run time of their tracks may be a stumbling block for some metal fans who prefer short sharp shocks, but then, if ever there was an appropriate festival for Yob to ply their craft it's Desertfest. A wonderful set which saw the trio live up to the hopes and expectations of every fan in the venue.

I'm a strong believer that festivals should have a strong closing band. I've been to a few where by the third night, the audience seemed pretty nonplussed about who was on stage or worse yet, too tired to care. There was no danger of that happening at Desertfest, as last up at The Roundhouse was Electric Wizard, undisputed doom royalty of Britain and an essential part of the any self respecting doom metal fan's collection. The air was suitably electric for the quartet founded twenty nine years ago in Dorset (I thoroughly recommend it,) and rightly so, because when it comes to live doom, Electric Wizard are untouchable. Launching into their set with "Return Trip" from the superb "Come My Fanatics..." album, which itself celebrates its silver jubilee this year, the band had the audience in the palm of their hands immediately.

Electric Wizard gave the crowd a complete package of performance, with perfect lighting and footage from all manner of horror and biker movies or psychedelic colours rolling on the giant screen behind them, setting the mood wonderfully. They also utilised their back catalogue to a good extent, with five of their nine albums being represented in the setlist, including "Satanic Rites Of Drugula" and "The Chosen Few" from "Witchcult Today" and "Incense For The Damned" and "Time To Die" from the album of the latter's name. Naturally, when you have a bona fide classic in your arsenal such as "Dopethrone," that has to be brought out to and so it was when the band closed their set with "Funeralopolis" from said record. It was also going to be an unforgettable time when the lineup for The Roundhouse was released, so it seems pointless to point out just how amazing the day was, with every band putting on the best show that they could and providing a perfect end to one of the best festivals on the British circuit.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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