Album Review: KOBRA AND THE LOTUS – Prevail II

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Kobra and the Lotus – Prevail Il

Label: Napalm Records

Release Date: April 27, 2018

One year after releasing the first half of the band’s double-disc record, Kobra and the Lotus return with Prevail II. The album’s first half, 2017’s Prevail I showcased a shift is direction that found KatL pushing new boundaries for themselves, and moving outside of the confines of their comfort zone. The result yielded one of the year’s best hard rock and metal records. Kobra Paige eclipsed all previous performances vocally, and the overall songwriting demonstrated the band’s willingness to blaze new paths for themselves.

As noted in our review of Prevail I, Kobra and the Lotus holed up in Denmark with producer Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Pretty Maids, Doro, Primal Fear) to record the album. The recordings for Prevail II were completed at the same time. It then became a decision on how to split the record in two to give them balance and cohesion. To that end, I believe they were successful. Prevail II is equally powerful in its own right. While there may not be as many tracks with the infectious echo of “TriggerPulse” or “You Don’t Know,” Prevail II has more depth and dexterity.

The album opens with the first single, “Losing My Humanity,” which ties to two records together seamlessly. Crunchy, chugging guitars and Paige’s soaring vocals combine with a powerful lyrical message and nice hooks. This segues nicely in to the bouncy and somewhat Gothic rhythms of “Let Me Love You.” After the intro the tempo shifts on the verse to allow Paige emotive space. By the time the chorus rides in, you have another addictive and memorable chorus on your hands.

The album shifts directions for the acoustic interlude, “Ribe” which recalls memories of early Heart from the Dreamboat Annie, Little Queen days. This rolls into “My Immortal,” which yields both epic heaviness and quieter, almost lilting moments.

Bassist Brad Kennedy and drummer Marcus Lee set a pummeling backdrop for guitarist Jasio Kulakowski’s dancing fretwork to open the aggressive “Fallen Empire.” This track really showcases the immense talents of each band member, with Kulakowski truly getting a moment to shine. The energy then shifts again to the radio-friendly “Heartache.” A song addresses regret and how personal insecurities lead to self-destructive choices.

The album’s second half takes off with the dirty edginess of “Velvet Roses,” which defies the expectation the title suggests. The track is a plodding beast of heavy riffs backstopping a tale about find one’s direction in the midst of a personal free fall.

Kobra and the Lotus tap into their spaghetti western ethos for the brooding track, “Modern Day Hero.” The song has a rambling feel to it, though it is thoroughly weighty and dark. The album then takes off at full gallop for the rampaging drive of “You’re Insane.” There is such huge European power metal feel to this song with the massive vocals performances and spiraling melodies. Yet on the breakdown, there is very much a modern North American sense to it.

The album winds down with the melancholic beauty of “White Water.” That mournful quality follows over to the band’s cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain.” The song originally appeared as a Japanese-only bonus track for Prevail I. It finds a home here and is a fantastic way to close out Prevail II.

Each trip through Prevail II bears new fruit and sonic nuances somehow missed in previous listens. Kobra and the Lotus have followed through on the expectations set by its predecessor. The band continues to evolve and expand its sound without ever ignoring its past or compromising to please others. Prevail I should have served as a launch pad to make Kobra and the Lotus a headline act. It is a sad indictment of the state of the music industry that it did not garner more notice. Hopefully, Prevail II will continue to elevate the band’s status as it deserves significant attention.

Check out last year’s interview with Kobra Paige as she talks about Prevail.

Tour dates:
KOBRA AND THE LOTUS
w/ Texas Hippie Coalition
19.04.18 US – Salt Lake City, UT / Metro Music Hall
20.04.18 US – Denver, CO / Herman’s Hideaway
21.04.18 US – Colorado Springs, CO / Sunshine Studios Live
22.04.18 US – Kansas City, MO / The Riot Room
25.04.18 US – Johnson City, TN / MarX The Spot
26.04.18 US – Atlanta, GA / The Masquerade
03.05.18 US – Lousiville, KY / Trixies
05.05.18 US – Winchester, VA / Blue Fox
07.05.18 US – Providence, RI / Alchemy
08.05.18 US – Watertown, NY / Exhibition Hall
09.05.18 US – Rochester, NY / Montage Music Hall3e
10.05.18 US – Clifton, NJ / Dingbatz
11.05.18 US – Brooklyn, NJ / The Kingsland
12.05.18 US – Harrisburg, PA / Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center
13.05.18 US – Warrendale, PA / Jergel’s Rhythm Grille
15.05.18 US – Cleveland, OH / Agora Ballroom
16.05.18 US – Flint, MI / The Machine Shop
17.05.18 US – Joliet, IL / The Forge
18.05.18 US – Battle Creek, MI / The Music Factory
19.05.18 US – Sturtevant, WI / Route 20
20.05.18 US – Saint Louis, MO / Fubar
23.05.18 US – Seattle, WA / El Corazon
24.05.18 US – Portland, OR / Hawthorne Theatre
25.05.18 US – San Francisco, CA / DNA Lounge
27.05.18 US – Los Angeles, CA / 1720
30.05.18 US – Phoenix, AZ / Marquee Theater
01.06.18 US – Fort Worth, TX / Rail Club
02.06.18 US – Houston, TX / Scout Bar
03.06.18 US – Austin, TX / Come And Take It Live

PREVAIL TOUR
08.06.18 ES – Spain Portugalete (Bilbao) / Groove Club
09.06.18 ES – Vigo / Transylvania Club
10.06.18 ES – Madrid / Sala Caracol
12.06.18 FR – Montpellier / Secret Place
13.06.18 FR – Nancy / Chez Paulette
15.06.18 CH – Wetzikon / Hall of Fame

Line-up:
Kobra Paige – Vocals
Jasio Kulakowski – Guitars
Ronny Gutierrez – Guitars
Brad Kennedy – Bass
Marcus Lee – Drums

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