KOBRA AND THE LOTUS
Canadian metal band Kobra and the Lotus, fronted by the ever-inspiring powerhouse vocalist Kobra Paige, have released the second part of their double opus “Prevail” on April 27th via Napalm Records. Formed in 2009 in Calgary, Canada, the band also consists of lead guitarist Jasio Kulakowski, bassist Brad Kennedy, drummer Marcus Lee, and newcomer Ronny Gutierrez on second guitar (during the live shows). KATL have been on a constant upward trajectory since their debut in 2010 with “Out of the Pit”, touring with big names on the metal scene (Kiss, Judas Priests, Def Leppard, Xandria, Kamelot, Delain, Evergrey, Slash, and many others), and cementing their status as an up and coming heavy metal force with every new release. And “Prevail” I & II is definitely a giant leap forward.
First off, this is a very powerful, heavy record, just like the first part of this double disc is. And this heaviness comes at you from two sides – the music and the lyrics. This is an album that will make you take a good look at your soul and reflect upon your life because of its razor-sharp, direct lyrical content, while headbanging to the infectious rhythms of the guitars and drums.
Losing my humanity
Let me love you
Modern day hero
The chain (Fleetwood Mac cover)
Let me love you (acoustic version)
And this is one of the things I highly appreciate about North American bands (as KATL, Shinedown, Alter Bridge, Halestorm, or Stone Sour to name just a few), namely their inclination to write rock or metal anthems that deal with personal struggles in a very straightforward manner, as opposite to European bands who are more poetic and metaphoric in their approach. And the opening track “Losing my humanity” is the perfect example of this type of metal anthem, with its relentless guitar power and aggressive vocal work, coupled with some thought-provoking lyrics. As Kobra Paige explained in an Instagram post in March, “the lyrics in the bridge in ‘Losing My Humanity’ were primarily inspired by bullying. If you stand there, watch it, and do nothing, it makes you the same.” And in this way we are all losing our humanity bit by bit.
In the same vein we have the hard-hitters “Human empire”, with its powerful drum work courtesy of Marcus Lee, and “You’re insane”, which boasts a very well executed guitar solo from axe-man Jasio Kulakowski. “Modern day hero” is a more mid-tempo melodic rock track which seems to be the answer to the problems dealt with in “Losing my humanity”, as it urges us to see beyond ourselves, and regain our humanity by being the best possible versions of ourselves we can be in this day and age. The beautiful “Let me love you”, apart from its romantic aspect (which echoes a certain HIM vibe), can be seen as an ode to every human being, emphasizing the need for love of appreciation we each require in order to make it through the struggles of life. As much as I enjoy Kobra’s powerful vocals throughout the album, I do believe “Velvet roses” to be her best vocal delivery, especially during the very catchy chorus sections, while the acoustic version of “Let me love you” shows her more emotional side as well as her delicate, softer voice. On a softer note, we have the 2-minute acoustic instrumental piece “Ribe” (which in in stark contrast to “Check the phyrg” from the first part of “Prevail”), the power-ballad “Heartache”, and the very rockish and groovy cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The chain”.
All in all, the “Prevail” double album is a very intense collection of songs which are meant to empower and encourage people, giving them hope and strength to push through all the difficult times they face, and it does exactly that. Musically, it shows KATL evolving from a heavy metal band into a melodic metal band, with a fresh and modern sound, which and I do believe fits them perfectly, as it plays on their skills as musicians but also as individuals. It’s a definite contender for Album of the Year, it’s that good!
Rating: 10 / 10
Follow the band on-line:
Kobra Paige – Vocals
Jasio Kulakowski – Guitars
Brad Kennedy - Bass
Marcus Lee – Drums