The importance of music videos is something that has been discussed for many years now. Since streaming and torrent sites like Pirate Bay became the most common way to purchase music and the sales of records went down big time, the need for music videos more or less disappeared – at least for some years. Back when, videos existed only as a marketing product, a way to sell more records and when the sales went down, record companies couldn’t motivate to put out the dough for them. Also, shows like MTV has almost stopped playing any music videos and important rock shows like Headbanger’s Ball hasn’t been around since the early 90’s. But in later years more and more bands have started to make them again. YouTube is now an important source for marketing music and many bands are posting videos there to make a name for themselves. Me, I used to love watching rock videos but in later years I really don’t have time to watch them much – I do occasionally but mostly I look for videos to post here on my site. And that’s how I discovered Kobra And The Lotus, a band I had heard of and read about but never listened to. I was searching for promo videos for my Liv Sin review when Kobra And The Lotus’ video for their latest single “You Don’t Know” showed up in the video flow. I decided to give it a spin to see what they were all about and what do you know, it really hit home. Which in turn resulted in me checking out their new album. So I guess that music videos are relevant today after all.
The band was formed in Calgary, Canada in 2009 by lead singer Kobra Paige together with guitarists Matt Van Weezel and Chris Swenson, bass player Ben Fraud and drummer Lord Griffin Kissack but today, Paige is the only remaining original member. Today’s line up consists of guitarist Jasio Kolkowski, bass player Brad Kennedy and drummer Lord Marcus Lee. The band released their debut album Out Of The Pit in 2010 and followed it up with a self titled album in 2012 and High Priestess in 2014 and they have also released an E.P. of covers of fellow Canadian hard rock bands such as Rush, April Wine, Triumph, Alannah Myles and Bachman Turner Overdrive called Words Of The Prophets in 2015. The new album – recorded in Denmark with producer Jacob Hansen (Pretty Maids, Volbeat) – is the result of the now so popular crowd funding Pledge Music and this album is the first of what is really a double album but released as two parts. The Prevail II will be released around autumn sometime.
Opening track “Gotham” starts off with a keyboard riff reminiscent of Muse but soon transfers into a metal bomber with double bass drums going off and layers of fat guitars going for the throat. It’s a pretty dark piece but it still holds a memorable main melody and a refrain that drills itself into the skull. I quote Joe Lynn Turner on this one – I surrender! First single “TriggerPulse” is a mid-paced hard rocker but the hard-hitting rhythm brings a metal pulse and the song is a sonic boom itself. The aggression marries fine with the catchy chorus that almost brings a hit feel to the table – a very strong number! Next up is the latest single and the song that made me wanna check the band out – “You Don’t Know”. The tune is an attitude laden and emotional melodic metal track. The kicking groove and the super catchy chorus should make this song a big hit in metal circles. “Specimen X (The Mortal Chamber)” shows the diversity of the band. It’s a big heavy metal stomper but it’s also symphonic and holds a Pretty Maids influence – at least that’s how it sounds to me. The middle break even brings up thoughts of symphonic black metal. Doomy and gloomy some – fist-in-the-face metal some – how awesome! They enter ballad territory with the slight romantic and somewhat lighter “Light Me Up”. It is dark and heavy, yet beautiful, sensitive and catchy and again, it shows that there are plenty of sides to this band.
The heavy and dark “Manifest Destiny” comes off as more modern sounding and even though there are traces of psychedelia here, it’s still a punching metal tune – very catchy in all its darkness. “Victim” is more straight ahead, balls to the wall heavy metal, mid paced with a modern metal touch. I usually have issues with the modern radio rock but this tune gets away with it as the “modern” touch isn’t that pivotal to the song – and the main melody is so damn strong. “Check The Phryg” is an instrumental, a fast metal track with a big neo-classical vibe all over it and I come to think of a mix Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert, Jason Becker and Marty Friedman with a bit of Wolf Hoffmann as the icing on the cake. This is guitar rock influenced by the 80’s and it’s a damn good one. Impressive guitar work from Kolkowski, I must say. “Hell On Earth” is definitely one heavy track, fast and raw and musically it makes me think of Yngwie’s Marching Out era. It also has a melancholic and suffering vibe which makes for a great contrast within the song. Very good. The closing title track is a real jawbreaker – an in-your-face metal blaster with a double bass drum that helps making the song the force of power it is. But the big melody is always present and the chorus is spot on. Awesome!
After only one spin, I’m pretty floored – and the album was even better when I blasted it through my head-phones. Musically, Kobra And The Lotus are a heavy metal band but there’s more to the band than just metal. The band has no problem mixing their brand of metal with other kinds of rock – pop, symphonic, gothic, hard rock, progressive – which makes all the songs come alive on their own and brings out the dynamics more. But the melody is always in focus and everything is preformed with a great deal of attitude and conviction – and let’s not forget about the groovy rhythm that is always present. The musicianship within the band is excellent and the gorgeous miss Paige sports a pretty clean but at the same time rough and attitude laden voice that holds a broad range. I highly recommend this record to all hard rock / metal fans out there. Me, I have some back catalogue digging to do.
3 You Don’t Know
4 Specimen X (The Mortal Chamber)
5 Light Me Up
6 Manifest Destiny
8 Check The Phryg
9 Hell On Earth