Prevail I (2017) by Kobra and the Lotus: Dark, dramatic, and intense

Canadian heavy metal band Kobra and the Lotus released their fourth studio album Prevail I, the first part of the highly anticipated double album, on 12 May 2017 through Napalm Records. The record was funded through PledgeMusic, which made the anticipation even more exciting for this heavy metal aficionado, given the extra level of involvement with fans.

Prevail I encompasses 10 beautifully crafted heavy metal songs that follow in the footsteps of the band’s preceding albums. The band kept true to their unmistakable heavy metal style, but matured in songwriting and musicality. Something that becomes apparent with the first spin of the record. Songs like Gotham, You Don’t Know, Hell on Earth, and the title-track Prevail can be considered instant classics with the potential to become heavy metal anthems – if they are not already. Frontwoman and band-founder Kobra Paige’s singing ability was always one of my favourite attributes of Kobra and the Lotus, but the singer stepped up her game even more on Prevail I. Also, the distinct harmony vocals add an extra level of intensity and dynamic to the album.

The lyrics are strong on all Kobra and the Lotus albums, but seem more thoroughly crafted on Prevail I. The lyrics read like a good novel leading the listener from the darkness that surrounds us to the struggle within and the struggle of others until until reaching a place where ‘we will prevail’ – beautiful ending of the record, by the way! Underlining that is the exquisit musicianship of Kobra Paige (vocals, piano), Jasio Kulakowski (guitar), Brad Kennedy (bass), and Lord Marcus Lee (drums), with guest Jake Dreyer (guitar). The instrumental track Check The Phyrg highlights their musicality in a unprecedented way. Extreme kudos for all arrangements, as well.

It has been argued that that the album lacks diversity, because of its sonic monotony. I disagree and consider it sonic consistency. Despite that fact, the diversity of Prevail I is given by the greatness of each individual song. Not one filler song can be found on the album. Every song has its legitimacy and sits perfectly in the setlist. Coming back to the sonic consistency discourse: I love the fact that all 10 songs radiate the same sonic look-and-feel. It gives the album a strong theme that provides a clearly defined musical experience throughout the 45 minutes – call it a sonic concept, if you like. Producer Jacob Hansen captured the soul of Prevail I perfectly and wrapped it in the most beautiful and dramatic dark veil for our listening pleasure. The highly polished production elevates the band into new heights.

Kobra and the Lotus just released their best album to date. Prevail I is dark, dramatic, and intense, and one of the best heavy metal albums of 2017 already. And, I cannot wait to hear the second part to this double album.

Here an interview with #FHTZ in which Kobra discusses the PledgeMusic campaign for Prevail:

And here an earlier interview touching upon opportunities and challenges that the new generation of metal bands are confronted with:

Sebastiano Mereu

YouTuber + host of the #FHTZ online music show with co-producer @simonkurt + marketing & digital content producer + university lecturer