18 Jun 2019
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Like A Storm - Album Review: Catacombs

05 Jul 2018 // A review by butch181

Catacombs is an album that has been a long time in the making. Delayed by extra tours and re-recording, Like A Storm fans have been waiting in anticipation since the 2015 release, Awaken The Fire.

Opening with its debut single, The Devil Inside. The song features some didgeridoo that also provides some ambient backing throughout the track. The presence of the didgeridoo, as well as the distinctive vocal style and guitar distortion used in their music has been a consistent staple in the Like A Storm sound. Similar to the bands they have toured and supported (Sevendust, Breaking Benjamin, and Disturbed, for example), Like A Storm have created a sound that is quintessentially unique enough that you can hear a new song, and instantly know, without a doubt, that it’s one of theirs. The Devil Inside has an intriguing strumming pattern throughout the intro and verses that draws you in, with the guitar slowing in pace throughout the riff, despite the remainder of the instruments maintaining stride.

The vocals in the album show some evolution in the vocalist's style, with lead vocalist Chris Brooks moving further towards the heavier, more guttural, abrasive vocals, which makes it increasingly difficult to comprehend the words without seeing them on screen or written down in front of you. This is in stark contrast to Matt Brooks more melodic, clean style of singing. This is especially noticeable in Complicated (Stitches & Scars) which really pushes that dark, post-grunge sound.

While there are a few softer songs on Catacombs, there seems to be a departure away from the softer, emotive tracks such as Break Free or Southern Skies from the previous Awaken The Fire album. Out of Control and Solitary are the closest thing to Like A Storm holding back on energy and ferocity. The cleaner sound of these two tracks with the additional prominence of keys in the ambient backing tracks gives a post-Sempiternal Bring Me The Horizon vibe; great hooky choruses that will appeal to a live crowd. It does, however, have a heavily digital sound thanks to the autotune, which makes them more likely to be earworms, but they do lack the personal emotion that formed the basis of appeal in Matt’s earlier song features.

While it lacks the clean, emotive tracks that provide a buffer between hard hitting tracks, one of the strengths of this latest album is its lyrical content. The Bitterness highlights the internal struggle of fighting against yourself; mental health struggles and the false flags of society and fake sincerity being something that many people can empathise with, “I've got a sickness that eats me inside, lost in the shadows in the back of my mind…I've been living my life as a lie ‘Cause all they wanna hear is “I’m alright”.” Bullet In The Head was another track that has message that struck close to home, talking about a toxic relationship, with use of female vocals interjecting into the intro and choruses as a constant reminder of those feelings that will always remain no matter how bad the relationship got. The track begins with a great vocal contrast that gets the adrenaline pumping.

Stand out track on the album comes from Until The Day I Die, purely due to its uniqueness compared to the consistent formula used on the rest of the album; starting with a nice string sound, the track quickly transitions into a heavy hitting, grungy “call to arms” feel, with a simple beat, some great vocals, rhythm, and a good build. The track has a similar structure and to that of Devilskin’s Voices. These Are The Bridges You Burned Down has a heavier sound, with a vocal dissonance that is reminiscent of Mushroomhead. It has that consistent beat at the right pace, with a good build up to the breakdown. With a heavy hitting chorus that pumps to a great rhythm, it will work really well live and if performed properly will generate a circle pit. Every. Time.

In general, the album could do with more clarity in the vocals as they get lost in the music. Would love to hear a bit more clearness in Chris’ vocals (reduce that autotune and pump the volume up) to match that of Matt’s. A solid release, but really needs variety between the tracks. There is a lot of truth in the idea that less is more, and without that absence or pull back, the true power of the tracks can’t be felt. They have figured out their sound, and I can’t wait to see how they adapt it in the future to keep it fresh.


Review written by Alex Moulton
 

About Like A Storm

With their record-breaking new single, Love the Way You Hate Me, smashing its way onto American airwaves, Kiwi hard rock act Like A Storm have now achieved more successful US Hard Rock singles than any other New Zealand band in history. Hard rock anthem Love the Way You Hate Me, which features singer Chris Brooks playing the didgeridoo, has made an impact with rock fans all over North America - hitting #1 on satellite giant SiriusXM Octane.

Since their debut album, The End of the Beginning, in 2009, Like A Storm have created a compelling musical catalogue and earned the reputation as one of rock's hardest working bands. Five years of relentless touring has seen them share American stages with rock giants Creed, Korn, Alter Bridge, Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown and many others. As a result, the band of Kiwi brothers has developed one of the most loyal fan bases in the country, and are now a headline act in their own right. Like A Storm's diehard fans - many of whom are inked in the band's artwork and lyrics - are widely known to travel huge distances, and show up hours early, to see the band play at some of the most iconic rock venues in the US.

Originally formed a world away in Auckland, New Zealand, Like A Storm was born when musician brothers Chris, Kent and Matt Brooks first jammed together. Growing up playing in separate bands, the combined chemistry was apparent in an instant. "We just felt this amazing musical connection," remembers guitarist Matt Brooks, "We knew that we had to start a band together."

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Like A Storm

Releases

Catacombs
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Awaken The Fire
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Chaos Theory: Part 1
Year: 2014
Type: Album

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