New Zealand’s highest-charting rock act LIKE A STORM are back with their third offering, “CATACOMBS”
Since their breakout release, “AWAKEN THE FIRE,” which yielded 4 US Top 40 rock singles including, “LOVE THE WAY YOU HATE ME” (over 7 million views on Youtube), LAS has toured the world 5 times, playing in 22 countries alongsidethe likes of ALTER BRIDGE, VOLBEAT, GOJIRA, GODSMACK & OZZY OSBOURNE.
“That last album not only took us to all the major tourist places like NYC, London, Paris, Italy, but also to places we never thought we'd get to go, like Finland, Poland, Norway, Australia,” says Chris. “The first time we were ever in Warsaw we got out at the venue and the was a crowd of people holding LAS signs they’d made. To realize you’d made a connection with people on the other side of the world through your music is mind-blowing.” LAS was also invited to perform at some of the world’s biggest rock festivals including “ROCK ON THE RANGE FESTIVAL” in the U.S, “DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL” in the UK, and “NOVA ROCK FESTIVAL” in Austria. “We had the honour of playing NOVA ROCK with LINKIN PARK. Our dressing room was next to theirs and we were all just sitting in awe listening to Chester [Bennington] warming up,” says Kent. “Like everyone, we were so saddened by such a tragic loss, and are grateful to have this unique, private memory. Another was watching Lemmy and MOTORHEAD side of stage at GRASPOP FESTIVAL in Belgium… Things you’ll just never forget.”
LAS hadn't been completely off the recording radar since ”AWAKEN THE FIRE.” Last year they gave fans a taste of what was to come with “PURE EVIL,” a six-minute rock/metal opus to coincide with their European/UK tour with ALTER BRIDGE.
“We’ve always loved progressive metal, and saw that tour as the perfect chance to unveil this thing that we’d been
working on for years,” says Matt. The track was well-received both critically and commercially, being added by so
many radio stations that it broke the US Rock Top 40 before it had even been officially released.
Other than supporting ALTER BRIDGE in Australia/New Zealand, and a run of festivals in Europe/UK, for LAS, most of 2017 was spent in seclusion working on the new album.
“We could’ve rushed this album out, three of us write, so we had the ideas,” says Kent, ‘But that wouldn’t have done
anyone any favors - not us, not our fans. We wanted to take the time needed to really put everything we had into this,
and make something we’d be really proud of.”
But whereas the last album was made in hotel rooms after shows each night, this time the band set themselves up in LAS VEGAS. “Recording against the back-drop of the Nevada desert is epic. The weather’s always awesome, and you can either go be part of the carnage or retreat from it completely,” says Chris. Although even the tranquility wasn’t without its own potential for carnage.
“I woke up one morning to find a scorpion in my room,” says Matt. “It was only after capturing it that we realized it
was one of the most poisonous scorpions on earth, just hanging out!”
Prior to starting recording in Vegas, the band met with a myriad of US-based producers, but ultimately opted to produce “CATACOMBS” themselves, as they had done for “AWAKEN THE FIRE.”
“We’ve always had a really clear vision for how we like everything to sound,” says Chris. “Not always, but sometimes a third party can come in and they’re mainly acting from a position of fear, ‘If you don’t do this, or that, it won’t be a hit…” Matt explains further, “We’re not afraid of failure - we moved from New Zealand and started with nothing. We love what we do and we’re prepared to live and die by the music we make.”
They enlisted mixer PETE RUTCHO to man the board this time around. “I was listening to the PARKWAY DRIVE song
“Crushed” and was like, ‘Damn, who mixed this?” says Kent. “So Pete sent us a test mix, and totally nailed it. It’s always
awesome when someone gets what you do, and enhances it.”
“Pete really captured the energy of our live show in his mixes on this record,” says Zach.
The album was entitled “CATACOMBS,” as its lyrical content deals with introspection and reconciling what’s inside. “I
got the idea when we went to the actual Catacombs in Paris, on a day off on tour,” says Kent, “It hit me that how they
used to just bury away the sick and diseased corpses could be taken as a metaphor for what each of us deals with… In
life we’re told to suck it up, swallow it, bury it, deal with it… But it never goes away. Just like those Catacombs in Paris,
up above there are people sitting on cafe patios on the street, and 60 feet below them there’s this whole other darker world of past atrocities. We all have the ‘shop front exterior’ up top, but our own Catacombs down deep.” The album’s lead single, “THE DEVIL INSIDE” tackle’s head-on the theme of the album. “We all have this urge, this calling inside, this struggle with our own demons that we’re supposed to feel guilty about, but that’s part of what makes us human,” say Chris. “This song’s about grappling with that.” The track features a heavy, compound-time riff that intertwines with a tribal didgeridoo rhythm. “On this record we really experimented with how the didgeridoo could become one with the heavy guitars, in a way we’d never heard done before.” says Matt.
So what can one expect from this new album?.. “A lot of riffs.” says Kent, “We grew up on steady diet of riffage: METALLICA, RAGE, KORN… Not to mention watching our brothers in GOJIRA and ALTER BRIDGE tear it up every
night from side of stage.” “We also pushed the drumming,” says Chris. “This is the first LAS record Zach’s played on, and he’s taken the drumming to a whole new level.” And variety. Like the last two LAS records, “Catacombs” also spans the full spectrum, from the super heavy to the super melodic. “There’s one track, “These Are The Bridges You Burn Down”, which is four relentless minutes of heavy guitars, drums and screaming. And then there’s “Solitary”, with an epic, half-time groove and massive chorus. We love being able to write and play whatever we’re feeling, and are so grateful that our fans always come with us on the journey,” says Matt. “This album is definitely not the same song
done 10 times over.”
Once voted the “Most Fan-Friendly Band” 2 years in a row, LAS continued that goodwill by traveling all over the US
giving fans the chance to sing on the new album. “It was really cool,” says Zach, “One of the new tracks “Out of
Control,” has a gang vocal on it. We flew to 6 different cities in the US, booked a studio in each place and had fans
come in and be part of it.”
And yes, the trademark didgeridoo that led to their sound being coined “Didge Metal” is back, front and centre.
“There’s nothing else in the world that sounds like it,” says Chris, “I think there’s didge on like half the tracks on
Catacombs?.. I’m gonna need a new tech on tour just for all didges!”
Like A Storm is gearing up for what looks to be another epic chapter of global touring. So far confirmed for ROCK ON
THE RANGE, ROCKLAHOMA, ROCK USA, ROCKFEST and an Amphitheater U.S tour with GODSMACK/SHINEDOWN.
“We love both of those bands, as musicians, as dudes…” says Kent. “We’ve played with them both before and they always bring it. Between the three bands, this is gonna be one of those shows that doesn’t let up.”
If 2017 was the “calm,” you know what comes next…