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Album Review: Like A Storm – Okura

Artist: Like A Storm
Album: Okura
Release Date: January 14th 2021

Seventeen years since their beginning, Like A Storm have released their most well rounded music to date with “Okura”. The band from Auckland, New Zealand, best known for combining heavy riffs while weaving in the Didgeridoo. Like a Storm have toured North America extensively as a headline act and have shared American and European stages with Godsmack, Alter Bridge, Gojira, Korn, Shinedown, Three Days Grace and Sevendust. The band has toured with Alter Bridge, Black Stone Cherry, Three Days Grace, Steel Panther, Shinedown and Hellyeah.

Okura still brings huge riffs with powerful vocals  but also is full of many different melodies and textures. Songs like “Empire Of Ashes”, “Death By A Thousand Cuts” and “Scarlet Retribution” intertwined huge riffs, screaming vocals with more laid back melodic vocals. You get so many different things in the one song, which for the listener makes it more exciting, as the songs are nowhere close to predictable with their many twists and turns.“Kingdom” lays it back a little but also still has a lot of fire and raw emotion running throughout the track.

“F@Me” shows the pure talent of Like A Storm. You get a bit of Rap Rock, Melodic Rock, Pure Metal with Female Gospel Backing Vocals for good measure, and not to forget a ripping yet tasteful solo. In fact all of the playing on this album serves the song rather than the player. Matt and Chris Brooks on guitars have really become masters of the riff, there are so many great ones and the rhythm section of Kent Brooks on Bass and Zach Wood on Drums have really come into their own. Also love hearing an album where the bass isn’t buried and the drums are not compressed, makes for a much better listening experience

There are 3 instrumental interludes on the album, which all tie in to significant areas from the Brooks brothers native New Zealand. The opener and title track “Okura”, which is a suburb just north of Auckland. The second instrumental Kariotahi is a didge-heavy interlude, which sets the mood for the following track “Scarlet Retribution”, and while only 40 seconds long it invokes images of Chris sitting on the sand at Kariotahi Beach, (which is just south of the boys home town of Auckland) looking out to sea playing the didgeridoo. “Tongariro” not only features the Didge, but also bears its name from a National Park, where  the mountains at the heart of the park have cultural and religious significance for the Maori people and symbolize the spiritual links between this community and its environment and the music certainly brings its own spiritual vibe.

While I think the whole album is amazing, my two standouts on the album are “Phoenix” and the album closer “Low”.  For me they both tie in together. “Low” tells the story of someone in the darkness, who is looking for a way out, and “Phoenix” for me is the same person coming out of the darkness, the ashes and soaring high. Both tracks for me show the crazy talent that is Like A Storm within a 10 minute time frame.

I remember first seeing the band when they opened for Alter Bridge in 2017 and was immediately impressed by not just their obvious talent, but also their down to earth nature and genuine thanks for being able to perform music. “Okura” shows such a natural progression for the band and I would love to see everyone add it to their collection.

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Track Listing:

Empire Of Ashes
Death By A Thousand Cuts
Pull Me From The Edge
The Phoenix
Scarlet Retribution

Like A Storm Are:

Chris Brooks – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards, programming, didgeridoo
Matt Brooks – lead guitar, vocals, keyboards, programming
Kent Brooks – bass guitar, backing vocals, guitar, keyboards, programming
Zach Wood – drums, percussion

Hear2Zen Magazine
Hear2Zen is a "Non Genre Specific" publication that celebrates all things sensory.

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