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Hard rock brothers take scene by storm

New Zealand metal act incorporates didgeridoo

Like a Storm headlines Saturday’s show at the Knitting Factory.
Like a Storm headlines Saturday’s show at the Knitting Factory.

The didgeridoo is probably the last instrument you’d expect to hear on hard rock radio, but Like a Storm is looking to change that. The metal band, founded in New Zealand by brothers Chris, Kent and Matt Brooks, considers didgeridoo as integral to its overall sound as the guitar and bass.

Matt Brooks, the band’s lead guitarist, said the decision to incorporate the didgeridoo into Like a Storm’s repertoire came about naturally.

“It was a very organic thing,” he said. “Chris, our lead singer, learned to play the didgeridoo after a vacation to Australia. And it’s a notoriously hard instrument to learn, and he taught himself how to play it in three days. … We’re always looking for ways to push our music in different directions, and so for us, the didgeridoo was the obvious choice. We really try to make it into a hard rock instrument.”

It’s the first sound you hear on “Chaos,” the opening track of the band’s new album “Awaken the Fire,” and the distinctive tones of the aboriginal wind instrument differentiate Like a Storm from the rest of the nu-metal scene.

There’s also the occasional blues inflection. The band’s latest single, “Wish You Hell,” features a stomping, Delta blues-style breakdown that almost seems at odds with the genre the band occupies.

Like a Storm’s first single, titled “Love the Way You Hate Me,” has made its way onto hard rock radio stations, and Matt Brooks said he and his brothers have delighted in bringing the unconventional to the airwaves.

“I remember when it first started getting played on the radio,” he said, “and I couldn’t believe it, because the last thing we ever thought is that we’d get didgeridoo on hard rock radio. … It definitely felt like a victory.”

“Awaken the Fire” is the band’s first release since signing with label Another Century, and Matt Brooks said they’ve been given total creative control, writing, producing and mixing the record themselves.

“They signed us as an independent band, and they’ve really believed in the vision we have,” he said. “We’ve had complete creative freedom to the point where we produced the album ourselves. I think ‘Awaken the Fire’ is probably the truest representation of Like a Storm that we’ve ever had.”

The Brooks brothers have been touring consistently since the album’s release, and Matt Brooks says that the experience has been as much about family bonding as playing music.

“You’d think three brothers touring the world together would kill one another, but it’s been really awesome,” Brooks said. “We’ve grown up together, so spending 10 or 11 months on the road every year is just second nature to us. One thing that’s cool about having your family in the band is that you get to share all these amazing experiences together. To look across the stage and see your brothers up there with you is pretty awesome.”

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