Forked Tongues is the debut album of groove-metallers Desert Storm… from Oxford. Don’t let their location fool you though, as this is a strongly executed platter of sludgy riffs, gravelled vocals and hooking rhythms. The album has its fair share of grinding moments (take for instance, the title track’s stomping mess of metal madness), but these are masterfully offset by more subdued numbers such as the almost Zeppelin-esque ‘Connected’. Similarly, the grit-shovellingly low vocals are often countered by a smooth, feminine voice throughout, with the resultant combination really illuminating segments of Forked Tongues. The material presented remains consistent, with ‘Ol’ Town’ boasting a flurry of winding riffs reminiscent of slightly more upbeat Sabbath numbers and the drawl of 'Smokes 'n' Liquor' has the smell of stale booze literally emanating from the track. Perhaps one of the album’s biggest highlights is ‘The Void’ – initially stating as a melancholic number with clean vocals, it erupts with shoveling riffs before ending on an almost ‘Planet Caravan’-esque vibe of mellowness. Likewise, the melodic vocals of ‘The Jackal’ will hook any listener in, providing the perfect break from the bulldozing guitars of the verse.
Forked Tongues isn’t the most original of offerings, but it does prove a well synthesised concoction of bluesy hard rock, groove and metal and has found a great balance between the aggressive and melodic. It’s a promising start for the band and is well worth checking out for anyone who wants something heavy but tuneful.
Listen and purchase here.