Review: Kobra and the Lotus – Prevail II
By Todd Naevestad
One thing that will always grab my attention in music is a unique voice. When those first few lyrics drop and the singer is unlike any I’ve heard before, you immediately have my interest. Bands like Unleash the Archers, Beast In Black, and The Agonist all have a totally unique lead that draws me into the rest of the music. This brings me to Kobra Paige, and Kobra and the Lotus. Paige is one of those performers that’s hard to compare to any other, with a style and sound all her own. With the follow up to their album Prevail I, Paige and crew are back with Prevail II, the second part of their double album. The first half of Prevail has already been wildly successful, so the question is, can the second half live up to the expectations the first set?
Since I brought her up already, let me just say at the start that Kobra Paige is still in stunning form. Her voice seems to naturally blend clean and heavy vocal styles seamlessly. While not as growly, there’s definitely an edge to her voice. It’s the kind of voice that cuts to the heart of your emotions. Even in the happier songs, it still sounds like there’s some real anguish in her. If nothing else, that adds some real gravitas to her voice and makes each track song that much more powerful. Paige’s voice is what hooks me in, and while I could go on praising it, the rest of the band deserves plenty of credit. The music backing is great, adding much needed crunch to the songs that serve to highlight Paige’s voice. The guitars are heavy and methodical, marching along and setting the strong tone the tracks hold. They’re not as “pretty” as something from power metal, and they don’t need to be. I might be the power metal guy here, but I still love some straight-up heavy metal harkening back to the 80’s. And there’s nothing I can take away from Jasio Kulakowski’s solos, which has all the punch of Mack truck and practically forces the listener to air guitar along with him. The drums are almost always at a breakneck pace and provide a thundering foundation for every other musical element. The band seems to know where each member excels and they use their album to highlight those areas and make something impressive.
One problem this album faces is the inevitable comparisons to Prevail I. For one thing, there isn’t one single on here that measures up to the heavy hitters of the first. Light Me Up and You Don’t Know both had impressive success, breaking into the mainstream. And while songs like Let Me Love You and Losing My Humanity are both solid tracks, they don’t feel like they reach the same heights. I think that separating out the albums may have been a detriment to the second. Prevail II is good, but it doesn’t meet my expectations. Prevail I was so good with so much going for it that following it at the same level or better was almost impossible. And while I hate to recognize that, it’s the reality of this kind of release. There’s no bad song on Prevail II, and Kobra and the Lotus are still at the top of their game, but it’s not quite as excellent as the first venture.
If you’ve got Prevail I in your music library you owe it to yourself to get Prevail II. Together they make an exceptional work. The two albums in tandem are such an accomplishment, something that bigger name bands might struggle to accomplish. You’ll be swept away in almost two hours of amazing music. Still, taken on it’s own, Prevail II, doesn’t quite live up to the first born. It doesn’t have the same level of memorable tracks and feels like more of the same. The same is good, of course, but it’s more familiar ground.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommendations: Unleash the Archers, The Agonist, Beyond the Black