While Canada’s metal scene might not be known for much more than Devin Townsend, there are a few other gems to be found in the north of North America, such as THE AGONIST, KATAKLYSM, and more recently, KOBRA AND THE LOTUS. Led by the eponymous Kobra Paige, this band started out in thrash and moved more towards classic heavy metal by the time they partnered up with Napalm Records to release the first part of a 2-part album, “Prevail I.” The album is released on May 12th, 2017, with its successor to follow the next year.
I personally discovered KATL when Kobra Paige was singing on tour with KAMELOT in 2015 during the Haven Tour. Intrigued by her sound and considering she’s a fellow Canadian, I decided to check out their material. At the time, however, nothing had caught my attention and the band faded from my notice. However, always willing to give my homeland another chance, I decided to check out “Prevail I” to see how their sound had developed.
The album fires off to an incredible start with two energetic hard-hitters, “Gotham” and “Triggerpulse,” and I immediately found myself blown away. Who is this band and when did they get awesome? Kobra Paige‘s deep, melodic voice is a breath of fresh air in the scene, as female vocalists tend to be sopranos, making her a relatively unique force in the metal scene. “Gotham” starts very appropriately with slow guitars and Paige‘s voice singing along in the background, before kicking into a fairly upbeat tune as she asks “where is your god?” The chorus is melodic and powerful, maintaining a heavy tone in the instruments. This is top-notch heavy metal, my friends! “Triggerpulse” maintains the strong, deep heavy melodies as a deeper tone dominates Paige‘s sound.
We then hear one of the singles, the defiant “You Don’t Know,” where the band kicks things off with more riffing and a lighter side of Paige, as she adds a hint of femininity as the song builds towards a song chorus that scorns those who judge without understanding. It’s a great, powerful song – not a “fuck you,” but rather a “shut up, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Specimen X (The Mortal Chamber)” is a speedier power metal track, led by the guitars, with a great balance between the lead and rhythm guitars, while the other single, “Light Me Up” stays closer to ballad territory. Paige‘s range is in a more neutral (re: not too low, not too high) in this heartfelt song, which gives her a great amount power. There’s a great singalong chorus in this one as well.
“Manifest Destiny” is named for the old belief that the United States were destined to spread throughout the Americas and musically has a really great chorus that’s likely to play in your head long after the album is over. More classic hard rock/heavy metal guitars open “Victim,” which leans a little closer to hard rock than heavy metal per se, but makes for a nice change of pace; don’t think that means you couldn’t bang your head to it if you wanted to though!
Some more speedy, fiddly guitar riffing opens “Check the Phyrg,” a guitar-led instrumental, interestingly situated in the third-to-last position on the album. The heaviness and strong rhythm section, as well as the guitar soloing, make for a great piece (though I couldn’t figure out what a “phyrg” was, unless it happens to be a type of cold brew, which somehow seems unlikely).
The album then closes up with “Hell on Earth” and the title track, “Prevail.” The former is hard-hitting power metal with a strong chorus and intriguing lyrics, while the finale is one of the great, powerful chorus to which you can easily sing along or pump a fist! I’d love to hear this towards the end of a live set, as it definitely leaves the album on a high note, leaving me wanting more and on the edge of my seat for “Prevail II.”
From start-to-finish, “Prevail I” proves to be the band’s best effort to date, with really strong heavy metal instrumentation and a strong, varied performance by Kobra Paige. It is a fairly long step away from their previous material, but as someone who could never quite get on board with their earlier albums, this one was a total knockout!
Written by Bear Wiseman
- You Don’t Know
- Specimen X (Mortal Chamber)
- Light Me Up
- Manifest Destiny
- Check the Phyrg
- Hell on Earth
Kobra Paige – vocals
Jasio Kulakowski – guitars
Brad Kennedy – bass
Marcus Lee – drums
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