Canadian metallers Kobra and the Lotus never seem to stop. They’ve been appearing at various different festivals, doing major tours not just in their own country but beyond and STILL they’ve had time to pull together that difficult second album simply titled “Kobra and the Lotus”.
I’m an old school metal boy at heart, and Kobra sure know how to pull on those old heart-strings of mine as the album just screams of nostalgia and the days of my youth getting into metal for the first time. That’s not to say by any stretch of the imagination that the album sounds dated. It may have NWOBHM influences and even styles of European speed and power metal shining through but it doesn’t desecrate the past or cheapen it but use it as a solid base to build on, to grow, to expand on and create metal that gets the blood and the fists pumping in support!
The album carries a middle eastern feel throughout it, both in playing style and vocals. Kobra’s voice reminds me of Laura Donnelly from Edinburgh band Firebrand Super Rock. Both bands a great example of a sassy, powerful, leading lady. There’s shades of Rob Halford in places, Michael Kiske, Andi Deris and most notably to me, the queen of metal herself, Doro Pesch. Don’t think this band is all about Kobra’s voice though, she’s simply the sweet spot that brings each song together to make this a fantastic second album.
So what is it about the album that’s getting my old school bones tingling? Well, “50 shades of evil” kicks the whole thing off and I mean KICKS, with a power metal vibe that harkens back to halcyon days of late 80s/early 90s metal at its height. The song has a very European feel to it. It’s like listening to Keeper part 1 for the first time before “Welcome to my Funeral” follows on with a wonderful middle eastern vibe bringing to mind Maiden’s “Nomad” crossed with Metallica’s “Wherever I May Roam”. The atmospheric keys throughout the second half of the track give this four-minute song a hugely epic feel.
“Forever One” continues this, what is to become very prominent throughout the album, middle eastern flavour and power before smacking you with some great guitar melody over the verses. The melody in this one really reminds me of early Helloween. It could be part two of the previous track they segue so wonderfully. It’s suitably anthemic.
The band show they can mix it up a bit too with “Heaven’s Veins” following on with a progtastic, pacy melody that kicks this fast paced, pounding track on right from the beginning. There’s shades of Dream Theater with soaring lead vocals and powerful backing throughout while “My Life” has commercial tinged melodies combined with those power swings and poundings they seem to pull off with ease, plus more of that middle eastern flavour they seem to favour so much.
“Nayana (My Eyes)” I have to be honest caught me unaware. I always have a perception of the kind of song I’m going to get from a song title and I was expecting this to be the token rock ballad but my GOD was I wrong! This has moshtastic power. It’s a horns in the air, fists raised and pounding assault. Breathless in its pacing while it soars in the chorus and THEN with “Sanctuary” I thought I had it nailed with the superbly delicate piano intro. It’s almost Evanesence-like, with Kobra sounding very much like Amy Lee. However, it too lulls you into a false sense of the way the song is going before it pounds you with its power. It’s always great listening to a band catch you off guard like that.
“Lover of the Beloved” is quite simply melodic power metal-tastic. It’s got a little bit of everything in there; a sprinkling of acoustic to lead you in, soaring and epic vocals, some great riffage, some twin guitar melodies and pounding backline in support. “No Rest for the Wicked” by comparison is a balls to the wall rock out track and probably my favourite on the album. I always have a thing for staccato styled riffage and this has it in bucketloads coupled with a huge chorus.
The piece de resistance and final track on the album, “Aria of Karmika”, is haunting and powerfully sad thanks to the piano and rolling timpani drums before it kicks in to an epic fantasy tale that is pure 80s power metal storytelling resplendent in twin guitar melodic goodness, plenty of galloping riffage and Kobra’s soaring vocals once again proving to be the cherry on the icing on the top of the cake.
What’s great about this album is that even with all tracks being less than five minutes they still manage to sound epic. A fantastic second album from Kobra and the Lotus that is sure to go down well across a broad spectrum of the metal fraternity.
Kobra and the Lotus will be released through Spinefarm Records from 6th August
1. 50 Shades of Evil
2. Welcome to my Funeral
3. Forever One
4. Heaven’s Veins
5. My Life
6. Nayana (My Eyes)
8. Lover of the Beloved
9. No Rest for the Wicked
10. Aria of Karmika
KOBRA AND THE LOTUS are:
Kobra Paige – Vocals
Timothy Vega – Guitars
Jasio Kulakowski – Guitars
Pete Dimov – Bass
Griffin Kissack – Drums