[star rating=”7″ max=”10″]
New Zealand’s Like a Storm released their third album “Awaken the Fire”, a melodic blend of hard rock and metal that navigates the same waters as acts like Fozzy on the harder side (singer Chris Brooks sometimes sounds just like Chris Jericho), and Creed on the softer side. Despite having moved to Vancouver ten years ago, the band (led by brothers Chris, Kent and Matt Brooks) haven’t forgotten their roots, and elements of their native land’s folk music creep up at times in their songs. The album’s opener, “Chaos” starts with a didgeridoo intro and the instrument pops up again in the break of the second track and first single “Love the Way You Hate Me”, a song they wrote about being labelled as freaks in certain conservative parts of the United States, and how they relish the freedom to be different. These unexpected moments are what’s most interesting about Like a Storm. Another surprise is their metal cover of Coolio’s “Gangster Paradise”, which blends in heavy guitars with the rap classic, with pretty effective results!
I was drawn to this album by the more metal songs, and intrigued by the use of the didgeridoo. But it often sounds like there are two bands on this record: the metal band that’s not afraid to add unusual instruments (but their Wikipedia page goes too far in calling it progressive metal; it is not); and the more commercial band that’s closer to Creed or even Nickelback (is this the Vancouver influence?). Frankly, I wish the former took precedence, because the latter is generic, and sounds like so many other bands from the last 10 years.
Still, it’s all very well written, it sounds great and the melodies are catchy. And if you’re a fan of Creed, Alter Bridge or any of those bands, you’ll probably appreciate it a lot more. Personally, I’ll be curious to see what side prevails in the future.
The album is out now.