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I'll be completely honest, I'd always avoided Kobra and the Lotus because I got the feeling that they were just another modern band along the same lines as Avenged Sevenfold. Well, they're not. And actually, they're quite good. So I'm very sorry for mislabeling you guys, but I finally decided that I needed some kind of evidence to condemn you and found that there wasn't any. Thank god for that.
The main thing that will draw comparisons to Avenged Sevenfold are the blazing guitars, because admittedly there is a very high degree of skill required to play what those guys do, as there is here. The difference though is that this stuff sounds appealing while anything by A7X is just... not. Charlie Parra del Riego and Jasio Kulakowski really know how to churn out the epic hooks by the dozen, and that guarantees that there isn't a dull moment across the entire album. At the same time though they keep things heavy and to some extent thrash-like with some solid rhythm sections. These guys are the real deal. The drumming is also of a high standard, and even if it is simplistic it still provides entertainment. It's consistent at least and provides a decent level of support for the heavy metal coming from the guitars.
The vocals are an odd thing to comment on. In some respects I like them, but in others I don't. For a heavy metal album they fit very well, clean without ever going full-blown operatic. But then when you think of it like that, wouldn't you rather they did something other than the normal and throw a bit of a curve-ball into the mix? And then the question as to whether that'd actually work or not comes into play, because I'm unsure if the music would still fit together correctly if Helena Michaelsen was singing for the band. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that with a vocalist like Kobra Paige the band seems to have played it safe, which results in nothing really spectacular but also guarantees that their formula won't completely backfire and fail. She can sing well (even if it does sound a little forced), but obviously no one's ever going to touch Dio's reputation as being the best singer in the genre.
It's difficult to pick out favourite songs on this self-titled album, but Sanctuary is worth a mention, as is Heaven's Veins. Actually, so are most of the tracks, from the opener 50 Shades of Evil to the last song Aria of Karmika there really isn't an awful lot of filler. Everything seems to merit its inclusion in the album, and I'm fairly impressed by what they've got to offer. Even though each song has its similarities to the one before it, it also has its own personality.
I guess this is an attempt for someone to teach me that you don't just judge something based on the impression that they give you, because I'm very impressed with this. Not that I'll ever learn, but Kobra and the Lotus should be commended for their efforts here.
I had heard about this band, but never actually sat down and gave them a good listen, in fact, their first official release went by without me even giving them a chance at all. Upon a wild recommendation from a friend, it was time for me to actually sit down and listen to their second album a good listen.
The first thing I will say is that the instrumentation on this album is fantastic. Guitarist Charlie clearly knows what he's doing, the drumming is fantastic, and the bass supports the album well. The main draw for this band is, of course, the singer. Kobra Paige is a singer that many claim is what happens when Bruce Dickinson meets Ronnie James Dio. I could see this if you took out a little bit of the range. To be sure, she is a talented singer but not of the caliber of Veronica Freeman or Nina Osegueda. In spite of my comparison to other contemporary female singers, Paige definitely has her own style and power and it's one that's surprisingly easy to get acclimated to.
The songs here are much more rock-worthy and fist-pumping than found on Out of the Pit. Songs like "Forever One" and "Nayana" are songs that you'll find yourself remembering if you were to say to yourself "What was I listening to in 2013?". The songs almost blend together, until you hit "Sanctuary" which has a gorgeous piano lead and an incredibly emotional slow riff that will leave you wanting more. "Welcome To My Funeral" is one of the more furious songs on the album, with the main hook pulling you in and the singing reminding you that this is a band worthy of your attention.
The good far outweighs the bad on this album. The riffs, guitar work, bass, and drumming on this album are very crisp, clean and powerful, especially on songs like "No Rest For The Wicked" and "50 Shades of Evil" where you know the musicians are experts at what they do. Clearly, the style does not need any adjustment, but they almost feel too comfortable for the band. You will spend 42 minutes hoping that they'll break out of their comfort zone and take the intensity to the next level. In fact, that's probably the only complaint I really have, is that if everything on this album was about 25% more intense (not to be confused with louder), the album would be spoken with the same reverence as one of Iron Maiden's earlier works. Intensity works for a band like Sister Sin, and it will work for KatL.
This album by itself may not be an instant classic, but it is at the point in a band's career where they are starting to gel and I expect that what's coming next is going to be nothing short of incredible. You can sense that if they keep at it and work out their kinks, this band will bust out and be great within a couple of years. Keep an eye on this band, because they will be a big name if they just fine tune their skills a little more. The Kobra's sting is not a lethal one, but the best is yet to come for them...