Thursday, May 4, 2017

Album Review: Kobra And The Lotus - Prevail I

Music comes at us so fast these days that it's incredibly easy for even bands with growing stature to go completely under the radar. Kobra And The Lotus have been gaining steam with each release, but they have escaped my purview until now. Sometimes, it takes a big swing at something special to get attention, and the band is about to give that idea a try, as "Prevail I" is the first of two albums that connect to form one giant piece of art. When you think of these sorts of projects, there are certain expectations of what kind of bands do them, and what kind of music best suits the concept. A band like this is not one that would spring to mind.

Kobra And The Lotus are another of those bands that straddle the line between hard rock and heavy metal, not quite fitting on either side. The guitars have the heavy tones of a metal band, but the songs are written around Kobra Paige's vocals in a more rock-oriented manner. That's a wise decision, since nothing gets a band more attention than a great singer, and Kobra is the first thing anyone will notice about the band, in audio or visual form.

"Gotham" kicks the record off with a dramatic build, but once it gets going, we get a good idea of what the band is setting out to do. The guitars are deep and heavy, the pace is comfortable without pushing anything, and Kobra is able to soar over the top with her melody. It's a hook that doesn't sound cloying, but it manages to dig just a bit deeper every time it comes around. It's a great start for the record.

"You Don't Know" is the album's main single, and for damn good reason. It's another slow-burning song that unfolds into a huge chorus. It's at that point that I realize the comparison I was searching for. Kobra And The Lotus is in a similar position to Huntress, including similar vocal tones, but Kobra has a far better grasp of how to use her charisma in the service of the songs. She isn't overpowering the rest of the band and using these tracks as a showcase for herself. Her melodies are integral to the songs, and are deftly written.

Over the course of these ten tracks, the band hits the mark far more than it misses. A bit more diversity in the pacing could be used, but each of the songs makes a solid case for itself. It's a rock solid album that I can't really complain about, other than my personal nitpick that the few Devin Townsend-esque melodies I hear aren't my cup of tea.

"Prevail I" is a good statement that Kobra And The Lotus aren't resting on their laurels, but it does leave me with a nagging question; While I enjoyed this album a fair amount, if "Prevail II" is around the corner, how good would the result have been if the best twelve tracks from the sessions were combined into one killer album? It's the issue that haunts every double release. It doesn't keep "Prevail I" from being good, but it does make me wonder "what if...."

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