Off with a hiss and roar
Nelson band making waves in the USANAOMI ARNOLD
Heavy metal has never been one of New Zealand's strongest exports, but that's not stopping Legacy of Disorder. Nothing short of world domination will satisfy them.
The four-piece has just returned from a punishing but satisfying tour of the United States, where they played 53 shows in 63 days with US metal heavyweights Gwar, Fear Factory and Shadows Fall.
They covered 48,000 kilometres, with their only time off on days when it was too far to travel between gigs.
"Everything worked out to plan perfectly," Nelson-born guitarist Rana Freilich says of his time touring with the bands. "Those guys are real cool dudes and have a real loyal fanbase in the US.
"What's very popular [in New Zealand] is insignificant compared to what's popular in the States."
The tour went so well that they've been signed to another 35-gig tour in the States and Canada this October.
Their songs are "understandable, thoughtful heavy metal", based on life experiences, along with anger about injustice and issues including Middle East dictatorship, teenage suicide and alcohol abuse.
The band have been together for six years and just signed a distribution deal through Megaforce Records, which helped launch Metallica and Anthrax, via Legacy of Disorder's own label, Black Orchard Music.
Legacy of Disorder – Freilich, lead singer James Robinson, bassist Jason Keill and drummer Matt Thompson – will release their sophomore full-length album, Last Man Standing, in the US on September 11. It and their self-titled debut, were both recorded with legendary US producer Sterling Winfield, the man behind Pantera, The Fugees and BB King.
Even before its release, the album is drawing attention – it recently became the No1 most-added record on CMJ Radio and is currently sitting at No11 on the biggest college metal station in the country.
Freilich can't reveal too many details about their next US tour, but says they're thrilled with the opportunity.
"It's all A-grade venues, 1500-seaters on average, and we're opening for a couple of pretty well-known bands."
Freilich, who started playing in bands at 16, has also realised a lifelong dream in being welcomed into the ESP Guitar roster. He's now endorsed by the company – which means free top-of-the-line guitars – alongside the likes of Metallica's Kirk Hammett, Slayer's Jeff Hanneman, and Anthrax's Rob Caggiano.
Freilich is proud to say the band have done it all themselves, without any funding from the taxpayer through NZ On Air, apart from a contribution towards one video. They've forgone the endless touring of their home country, and instead plan to make it big overseas.
"Everything we've done we've been told it's been impossible to do by the New Zealand music industry," he says.
"We've got a lot of really good people around us. We managed to fall into the hands of many good people – but [that] was us putting ourselves in the right places.
"You hear the very odd story where someone was lucky enough to get `found' on the internet, but in reality you have to have great management and a focused band to get something out of it."
Now Freilich says they're going to kick back for a few months and write more music. Their ultimate dream is to headline their own international tour. "But there's a long way to go yet."
- © Fairfax NZ News