So we roll in to Sunday. After two days worth of blistering performances, the hangovers ran deep as Desertfest began to resemble an episode of The Walking Dead as the third day kicked in to gear. As had been the case for the rest of the weekend though, as soon as the first few riffs ripped out of the speakers the wooziness began to clear. With Sunday the festival expanded that one bit further, opening the doors of the Koko as its ‘Main Stage’ alongside its core. The day of the Wizard was here.


And it was in the Koko where we began our Sunday. Monolord (8/13) hit the stage to a packed out venue early in the afternoon and did well to help ramp up the energy in the room, especially after most were stung in to an almost coma like state after being told the price of their drink at the bar. Inexplicable drink prices aside, the Koko has served as a perfect home for the finale of Desertfest over the last few years, and today the sound for Swedish Doom Metallers Monolord was absolutely on point. By the end of their performance they’d certainly won over a lot of new fans.

Following them were the hugely popular Elder (10/13), a band who’s sound has been moulded around influences including tonight’s headliners Electric Wizard, it was awesome to see the old and newer generation of Stoner/Doom heaviness encapsulated in a few short hours on the Koko stage. As far as their actual show was concerned, they displayed exactly why they’re regarded in the same league as some of the older generation, riffing their way from one track to the next in what felt like one long effortless jam session. Guitarist Nick DiSalvo particularly shone through on a set which at times was let down by some sound issues.

Moving back across to Desertfest’s central hub we headed down in to The Underworld, and apparently a time capsule, to check out Siena Root (6/13). Whilst of course it’s great to have a core element of your sound dedicated to those who’ve been the strongest influence, to just become a band who end up feeling like a parody is not the way to go. For the first five minutes you’d be standing there with a beaming smile. A smile which would soon drift in to a bored faraway look before developing in to a thoughtful gaze as you’ve walked off trying to determine what you’d like to drink from the bar. In stark contrast to that at the Electric Ballroom, Blood Ceremony (10/13) have taken a genuinely original sounding approach to their music. The influences with old school psychedelic Doom bands are clearly there but when Alla O’Brien pulls out that flute the whole game changes. Who knew a flute could be so effective?

We come then to the weekend’s main headliner. Electric Wizard (11/13) are no strangers to Desertfest, and tonight the energy in the Koko before they hit the stage was absolutely buzzing. These are one of the true masters of this scene, a band who’s touch runs through at least 95% of the bands on the line up. They opened with the thunderous I, The Witchfinder and never looked back as the historic foundations of the Koko became seriously tested under the sheer weight of these dark, twisted and savagely heavy sounding riffs pummelling through the speakers at a relentless volume. The very popular Dopethrone proved to be the highlight in a set which truly highlighted why Electric Wizard are as revered as they are.

The fun didn’t end there though. Whilst Electric Wizard were the headliners on the day’s Main Stage, there were still a handful of bands playing some final sets of the weekend. One of these bands were Godflesh (12/13) who frankly delivered one of the best sets this festival has ever seen in its five year existence. Intensity is a word bandied around a lot in live reviews; we’re probably guilty of that as much as anyone, but to say this performance was intense would actually be a disservice. This was a full blown attack on the senses. At the start of the set the crowd was pretty thin, as one can only assume people were still making their way across from the Koko, but by about half way through the Electric Ballroom became packed out for one of the most unique and satisfyingly bonkers live experiences you’re ever likely to see. Tracks like Life Giver Life Taker and Shut Me Down were particularly well received, but genuinely as a whole set both Justin Broadrick and G.C. Green had everyone in the palm of their hands. On a day which featured more of your classic sounding Stoner and Doom, to have a bit of violent Industrial tinged Metal thrown in your face proved both unsettling and welcome at the same time. Brilliant performance.