The first part of a double album – the second half of which is set to be released within the next year – Prevail I (Napalm) finds Kobra and the Lotus at not only their most ambitious, but also in their strongest form to date. Formed in Calgary, Alberta in 2009 by lead vocalist and songwriter Kobra Paige, the Canadian quartet have gone through a number of changes in sound and personnel, but this latest release could very possibly be the one to give the band that big push towards the next level.
A rather uncommon animal in Metal, double albums have always been tricky beasts to control, with many acts shying away from them for fear of committing career suicide. However, the decision to split the release into two separate halves allows the band some breathing space rather than shoving twenty-odd songs down listeners throats at once.
Heading off to Denmark to work with producer Jacob Hansen with very little in the way of prepared material, the band wrote and recorded the album almost on the spot. And with the songs from both releases being written at the same time, the results are, at least on this first half, as diverse as they are satisfying.
From the power balladry of ‘Light Me up’ to the Disturbed-isms of ‘Victim’, and the anthemic title track, the album has a distinct sound but never sits in just one corner. Something most notable during the adventurous ‘Manifest Destiny’ which sounds like it could easily have been written for fellow Canadian, Devin Townsend. The moody and quite superb opener ‘Gotham’ is up there with the band’s best material, ‘TriggerPulse’ has single written all over it, and even instrumental track ‘Check the Phyrg’ doesn’t slow the momentum. If the album has a weak link, then it’s probably the penultimate track, ‘Hell on Earth’ but even that’s far from poor as guitarist Jasio Kulakowski lets his fingers fly, and Paige’s vocals soar acrobatically above an otherwise fairly standard combination of riffs.
Although the question of which release is the strongest will obviously be left for a later date, one thing which has already been made abundantly clear is that Prevail I has already thrown down a very serious gauntlet for its upcoming counterpart.