Desertfest London – The Heavy Hitters

By Luigi Sibona

Metalheads rejoice, Desertfest is upon us! This coming May bank holiday Camden will transform into the greatest inner-city festival for all things doom, stoner, sludge, grind, and most notably, anvil-heavy.

Here’s our picks of the heaviest headliners of the weekend. Stay tuned for our picks of the crème of the underground and the hidden gems of a rocking line-up.

Napalm Death | Friday 22:30 @ The Electric Ballroom



The godfathers of grindcore will be laying waste to The Electric Ballroom on Friday night and if you know what’s right, you’ll be there.

One of Britain’s most important and influential heavy bands, Napalm Death have been at the forefront of consistently challenging, socio-politically charged sonic brutality for over three decades. Never getting comfortable or familiar, they’ve had an ever-evolving career and will still blow your face out the back of your head with ease.

With everything from their genre-defining debut, 1987’s ‘Scum’, to 2015’s incredible ‘Apex Predator – Easy Meat’, they’ve got a career of pure gold to pull a setlist from. In this political climate, here’s hoping the play their pulverising cover of Dead Kennedy’s ‘Nazi Punks Fuck Off’ or anything off this writer’s personal favourite, ‘Enemy of the Music Business’. 

It’s a good thing they’re the last ones on the stage Friday night as, with a 30+ years of being one of the most savage live acts going, they will destroy it.

High on Fire | Saturday 20:30 @ The Electric Ballroom


The most consistent metal band going, High on Fire have released seven studio albums all filled to the brim with riffs, riffs and more riffs. If you like bastard-heavy riffs, and lots of them, you’d be mad to miss them headlining The Electric Ballroom on Saturday night.

Fronted by the great shirtless one and riff lord, Matt Pike, High on Fire rose phoenix-like out of the ashes of Pike’s previous band, stoner-metal titans, Sleep. After a legacy of albums that have only got better and better (check out the last two, both thunderously produced by Converge’s very own and deck wizard, Kurt Ballou), recent news saw High on Fire back in the studio so I’m salivating at the prospect of some new filthy riffs to stuff down my gullet.

I, for one, have never had the opportunity to see High on Fire, one of my favourite metal bands live, so will readily see you in the pit.

Monster Magnate | Sunday 21:45 @ The Roundhouse


What a way to see off Desertfest off than with the Space Lord himself! Stoner rock royalty Monster Magnate will be bringing the space-fuelled party to The Roundhouse Sunday evening at 21:45.

If you like raucous, hazed-up grooves and riffs for days, you’d be mad to be anywhere else. Inspired by the spaced-up sound of 70s rock, Monster Magnate have been killing it since ’89. They’ve released a string of classics (‘Powertrip’ being the slamming standout) all the way up to 2018, having released the brilliantly titled ‘Mindfucker’ earlier in the year.

With a treasure trove of psychedelic bangers there’s no better way to see out what will surely be a rager of a weekend then through the haze of smoke that will surely be engulfing Monster Magnate’s headlining set.