Prevail I and II – from 2017 and 2018 respectively – are both great albums, albums I still listen to quite the bit. The first one was also the one that I discovered Kobra And The Lotus with. The albums contained everything that I love about Metal. Well-written songs, striking and memorable melodies, hooks, good musicians and a stellar singer, heaviness, rawness and catchy choruses. The bands first three albums, however, was more underwhelming when I checked them out afterwards. Not bad but they left a bit too much to be desired for me. Let’s say they weren’t really there yet. When the band now releases their 6th record, big expectations follows it – and a hope for the big break, both from me and the band itself. The first spin of the record turned out a disappointment for me. Not a crappy record but nothing really stuck and I missed the immediate hooks of the two predecessors. However, every record needs a few spins before the final judgement.
Beginning with the intro-song “Evodem” in a dark and slightly twisted ambience, it leads us into the title-track that runs us over with razor-sharp riffing over a classic Metal rhythm – thunderous, pounding and heavy. During the refrain the tempo slows down a notch, taking the tune into a even heavier yet more laid-back laden territory. The refrain catches on pretty quick albeit not in a single-friendly way. This is why an album – any album – needs a few spins because this is not disappointing at all. Leading single “Burn” is one of those bouncy, fist-in-the-air, let’s headbang tunes. It’s holds a slower pace but the riffs are still crunchy, built on a punchy foundation. The refrain is powerful and direct and hits like a ton of bricks but I really wouldn’t call it radio-friendly at all. A very good song. “We Come Undone” brings on the style of the last two albums – upbeat, punchy with a kicking groove and a big, tough and beefy refrain that’s catchy and effective but not hitty where the harnessing of Kobra Paige’s mighty voice brings a crafty edge to the song.
Starting out slow, dark and heavy, “Wounds” gets faster and more in-your-face as it goes along. Still very Metal, the verses goes a bit spacey without losing the grit or edge but the chorus is out for blood but never without melody or hooks. Another good one. “Thundersmith”, the latest single, breaks some new ground for the band. Leaving the Metal behind for some gritty party-rock vibes, the song brings on a crunchy groove, some “HEY!” chanting and a style reminiscent of Gotthard’s “Lift U Up” or Dynazty’s “Raise Your Hands” and just like these songs, it comes with an effective and contagiously catchy refrain that screams hit. It might not sound like we’re used to but it actually fits the band and Paige’s voice and dammit if it doesn’t deserve to become a smasher. If radio doesn’t pick up on this song, something is definitely wrong. I love this song!
Another slightly ground-breaking song here is “Circus”. The dark and goth-laden sound and the big, smooth refrain might be a flirtation with modern rock-radio but it’s more than that. It’s also heavy and ballsy, it holds a tough beat and said refrain is incensed in-your-face with a catchy punch without straying too far from their Metal past. I quite dig it. With “Wash Away” it’s ballad-time but don’t expect power-balladry from this lot. With a mellotron and dream-like acoustic guitars, the tune starts off as melancholic, laid-back and even soft but then the band comes in and toughens it up some and when the refrain hits it takes on a slightly heavier turn, all with this beautiful melody arrangement that paints a sonically positive picture. In my book, one of the album’s finest moments. Do release this as a single because it holds massive hit-potential. With the ballad out of their system, it’s time to get rowdy and hard again.
On a straightforward rhythm, “Liar” bounces off striking and punchy with an effective main melody that goes into this big, catchy chorus that sticks right from go. The song might not break any new ground and it is a typical album track but I really enjoy it. Second single “Get The Fuck Out Of Here” – which radio-station will even consider playing this one? – is more of a pop-metal number built on solid ground and a heavy beat. It’s upbeat and striking with a very memorable main-melody and a monstrously catchy chorus – maybe the most pop-laden (yet sugarless) chorus I’ve ever heard from this band. Why they chose to use this song to throw around f-bombs, showing attitude and trying to be edgy is beyond me as it limits the chances for them to spawn a hit. Because it sure has the musical potential for one. KATL closes the album with “In The End”. It begins dark, somewhat eerie, keyboard orchestrated and laid-back only to continue with some classic Metal, Dio meets Judas Priest riffing over thunderous drumming and a punchy bass-line. It’s still melodic and the refrain catches on right away. A good closer!
This album is proof that you should always give an album a few spins before passing the final judgement. The disappointment that struck after the first listen took a hike right after the second – and the record kept growing with each listen. I’m sure some hardcore fans that were there from the beginning will raise their voices towards some of the tracks here. “Sell-out”, “commercial” and “this is not how they should sound” will probably be thrown around, but for me, the fact that they have tried new stuff is why the record grew on me so fast. Listen, it might not be exactly as strong as the Prevail records but I actually embrace their poppier stuff here – it makes for more variation and I think Paige’s voice comes off brilliantly on the more melodic stuff. Hard and heavy doesn’t always equal greatness. Does this mean that Evolution is a lame sounding record? No, it’s still heavy – all the songs are, only different kind of heavy. This might even be their big break. I do hope so.
More Kobra And The Lotus reviews:
4. We Come Undone
8. Wash Away
10. Get The F*ck Out Of Here
11. In The End