Kobra & the Lotus - Kobra & the Lotus
Label: Simmons Records/Spinefarm thru Universal
Produced by Kevin Churko
Reviewed by Peter Zaluzny
To make a great power metal album you need fast paced, technical riffs, bad arse slide guitar effects, and an outgoing vocalist who can match the power, energy and drive of the music. Canadian outfit Kobra & the Lotus deliver most of these, but misplaced vocal work holds their eponymous album back from reaching the powerful Maiden or Dio heights that they’re aiming for.
From the start, it’s clear that these guys are a group of first class musicians. Riffs drive hard and fast with just the right amount of technicality to keep them interesting yet approachable. The drums are ferocious and precise, albeit with less technicality, but still more than enough to make you want to air drum along. While each song has the same basic musical structure, there’s enough variation in the riffs to keep the majority of the album fresh. It’s only towards the end that Kobra & the Lotus seem to run out of ideas, reverting back to your standard 4/4 beats and uninspired riffage.
Unfortunately, despite the high powered musicianship, frontwoman Kobra Paige maintains a slow, drawn out vocal style, complete with excessive use of “woaahhhh.” Her voice is by no means bad, yet it rarely matches the power of the music, dragging down the pace of the songs. Her voice is great within its range, but it’s a very limited range that leaves little room for variety.
This is the greatest flaw of Kobra & the Lotus. Although the band constantly aims for that great moment of power metal glory, they never reach it, resulting in a number of epic build-ups that go nowhere. Fortunately, the music keeps things going along at a steady pace, and you won’t feel bored. Unless you enjoy those epic power metal solos which, strangely, are largely lacking. There are a few dotted around here and there, but these are very short lived and again, rarely reach that moment of power synonymous with the genre.
Finally, production isn’t too bad but it’s not that crash hot. All the instrumental parts are balanced quite nicely, but collectively get turned down in favour of the vocals. Although the vocals aren’t overly dominating, there are plenty of moments where the musicians deserved more of the spotlight and were ignored in favour of a generic “woah.”
Each track on Kobra & the Lotus is good in its own right, but as a collective, the album becomes dull and repetitive. While there’s plenty of variety in the music, the Evanescence-meets-Nightwish vocals don’t have the right style or power required for the genre. Nevertheless, the vocal work is impressive enough to compliment the excellent musicianship supporting it, and although the album won’t be remembered as a modern day classic, there’s enough here to warrant a few spins.
- 50 Shades of Evil
- Welcome to My Funeral
- Forever One
- Heaven’s Veins
- My Life
- Lover of the Beloved
- No Rest for the Wicked
- Aria of Karmika
- Dark Passenger