Kobra and the Lotus – “Prevail I” (Napalm Records)
From seemingly starting out’ve nowhere i.e. Alberta, Kobra and the Lotus have risen meteorically in under a decade to issue 3 albums, and now stand poised with their most ambitious project to date, a 2 album release! Remarkably well connected with established names like Triumph’s Rick Emmett to Gene Simmons, Kobra and the Lotus have toured with an astonishing number of bands – Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Delain, Black Label Society, Slash, Buckcherry, Sonata Arctica, Steel Panther, Fear Factory, Max Cavalera, Primal Fear and Stratovarius spring to mind – not to mention played just about every major festival from Hellfest to Wacken, Rock Am Ring, Gods Of Metal, Graspop, Novarock and Sonisphere. Like I said, from outta nowhere to being damn near a global name attests to the popularity of this band! With singer Kobra Paige also guesting as a vocalist for Kamelot, its clear that the band’s own sound (not to mention Paige’s voice) have evolved over time, and to be fair that’s hardly surprising given the huge inspirations they’ve been exposed to in their short time. Despite being labelled as ‘metal’, I wouldn’t classify them as only such, at least going by the 10 tracks on this album, being equally in the modern rock vein with bountiful amounts of catchy, commercial melody especially in Paige’s pop rock harmonies on ‘You Don’t Know‘. That’s not saying Kobra and the Lotus can’t kick it and songs like ‘Manifest Destiny’ do just that with its heavy metal back beat and neo classical guitar melded with Paige’s tender vocals and soulful chorus while the chopping groove on ‘Victim’ takes on a stylish dance beat led by Paige’s femme highs. Strangely, the contrast in the music makes me think of 70s bands like Rush and Triumph, who ably mixed rich melodies into their own brand of driving hard rock, so Kobra and the Lotus seem to be attempting the same thing, albeit in a modern rock metal vein? That said, the instrumental ‘Check The Phyrg‘ is without a doubt symphonic metal, with plenty of neoclassical arpeggios, pounding drums, and dragon fire solos exploding all over this mini concerto, with the heaviness continuing onto ‘Hell On Earth’ with Paige joining in a more metallic vein which will definitely appeal to metalheadz, especially on the warrior anthem of ‘Prevail’ with its determined gusto of heavy guitars and epic tones. There’s clearly plenty going on here and the range will no doubt appeal across the board, and if that’s the case you’ll be glad to hear the follow ups imminently due!