KOBRA AND THE LOTUS
Release: September 20, 2019
We have fallen farther into the shallows
Glorifying the surface, we come undone
It is in our nature, as humans, to grow and evolve, to find new ways of expressing our emotions and thoughts. And this is exactly what Canadian metal outfit Kobra and the Lotus have been doing over the past few years – growing and evolving not only as human beings but also as musicians. With the release of their seventh album (well, sixth if you count “Prevail” as one massive record), aptly titled “Evolution”, we get a new sound and a new façade, if you will, of Kobra and the Lotus.
In all honesty, this feels like a commercial album, meant to push the band forward, and it does just that. It’s a mixed bag, but not in the sense of different styles of songs (as for instance on
Kamelot’s “The Shadow Theory”) but in the sense of good and bad things mixed together. And among the weaker points of this album is the lyrical content, as what we have on this record is not on
par with the beautifully written lyrics from the “Prevail” albums (think of “You don’t know” or “Let me love you” versus “Circus” or “In the end”), relevant and relatable as these lyrics may
We come undone
Get the f*ck out of here
In the end
The singles themselves show a departure from the band’s metal sound, being very rockish and groovy, but also pretty formulaic, and by-the-numbers, especially “Burn” and “Get the f*ck out of here”. The anthemic “Thundersmith” is a bit better, as it is less generic but still pretty groovy.
Even so, I cannot deny that musically this album sounds pretty good, blending hard rock with heavy metal into a dynamic, high-energy album, which has a slight trace of Shinedown (think “Sound of Madness” or even a bit of “Amaryllis”). As such, “Evolution” is full to the brim with melody, hooky vocal lines, massive drums and shredding guitars, thanks to Kobra Paige’s vocal prowess as well as the band’s ability to mix the energy of hard rock with the aggressiveness of heavy metal into a fluid and cohesive sound. And there are some solid moments to be found on this offering, like the beautiful ballad “Wash Away”, the theatrical number that is “Circus”, the high-energy feel of “We come undone” or the neat choruses of “Liar” and “Wounds”.
Kobra Paige has some fascinating vocal moments, like on the aforementioned “Wash Away” or on the chorus of “We come undone”, but I feel like some of her vocals were overproduced (and I don’t mean this in the sense of vocal layering), which makes some songs sound emotionless, even impersonal, and again I am pointing mainly to the singles. The guitars are so much in the forefront, making a lot of noise and delivering great melodies and solos along the way (case in point: “Circus”), being the backbone of this album, alongside the massive drums, made evident by the intro to “In the end”. The opening riffs of the title track are as melodic as they are heavy.
All in all, it’s not all bad, but it’s not all good either, the ball falls somewhere in between. And I still have mixed feelings about it. I still consider their “Prevail” double album to be their best one yet, and maybe “Evolution” is the price they had to pay for that massive record. Time will tell.
Rating: 8 / 10
Kobra Paige – Vocals
Jasio Kulakowski – Guitars
Ronny Gutierrez – Guitar
Brad Kennedy – Bass
Marcus Lee – Drums