Last November I had the pleasure of interviewing Kobra when she rolled into Manchester with Delain, Evergrey and, of course, the rest of Kobra and the Lotus. During that interview we discussed their forthcoming album and she revealed that although it was originally scheduled to be released as a double album, the plans had changed, and we were to get ‘Prevail’ in two instalments. As a teaser we were given two songs from the then unreleased album during the show that evening, which whet the appetite for this release.

For the uninitiated, Kobra and the Lotus are a Canadian Heavy metal outfit, fronted by the enigmatic Kobra Paige whose powerful vocals are the inevitable focal point of their music. ‘Prevail I’ is their 4th album (not counting the album of Canadian covers), and is easily their strongest to date.

The album opens with ‘Gotham’ which was one of the two tracks previewed on the tour last year, and is pretty much as fans of the previous albums will expect with driving rhythms, and Kobra’s trademark vocals soaring above all with power and finesse. The second track ‘Trigger Pulse’ was also played last year and marks a slight deviation from what I expected, being a little slower with Kobra adopting a slightly different vocal key which works really well.

Current single ‘You Don’t Know’ strays further from the path, and ventures into hard rock territory. This is powerful and captivating with real depth, and had me hitting the repeat button immediately. Things drift back towards more familiar territory with ‘Specimen X (The Mortal Chamber)’ before ‘Light Me Up’ had me hitting the repeat button for a second time on the album. A gentle guitar intro leads into delicate, almost vulnerable, vocals before the song builds into a compelling finale.

‘Manifest Destiny’ and ‘Victim’ up the ante, straddling the fine line between hard rock and heavy metal continuing the rollercoaster ride before instrumental track ‘Check The Phyrg’ reminds us that this a band effort, and not simply a case of a backing track for Kobra’s vocal talents. The band deliver this track with prowess as chugging riffs and screaming solos are delivered atop a driving rhythm section showcasing Jasio (Guitars), Brad (Bass) and Marcus (Drums) in all their glory. An instrumental is a brave move these days, especially in a band with such a prominent vocalist, but this works exceptionally well and fits perfectly at this point on the album.

Kobra returns with a vengeance on ‘Hell on Earth’, with her trademark vibrato and soaring vocals completing this powerful metal track before the album closes with perhaps the most memorable track of the lot, ‘Prevail’. This is a stunning metal anthem which wouldn’t sound out of place on an Iron Maiden album and will no doubt be a crowd favourite for years to come.

This album really surpassed all of my expectation, and has been on repeat since I received it. The band have clearly grown as both musicians and songwriters, now having the confidence, and the prowess, to deliver songs with more dynamic structures and more depth, making the listener sit up and take note. This is a standout album, and the gauntlet has really been thrown down for part II….

(9/10 Andy Pountney)