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Back to the pit, nothing worth dragging out... - 10%

ShadowSouled, July 11th, 2010

Usually, bands, good or not, have to toil for years and years before they achieve any modicum of success, such as getting signed to a larger label, being featured in a major zine, or playing overseas. The other alternative is being a side project of an already-established musician in an already-established group. Kobra and the Lotus are therefore a mystery to me, because they belong in neither of these categories.

Kobra and the Lotus have been around for around two years, and have two releases. If one is to type their name into any search bar, one will find innumerable interviews, bios, previous gigs, etc... but hardly any information on the actual music itself, beyond a vague conceptual comparison to “Iron Maiden fronted by Lee Aaron”. With this in mind, an individual asked me to write a review on their newly released album, Out of the Pit, to see if their fame was justified. The album consists of ten songs, one of which is a Motorhead cover, and clocks in at a total of around 46 minutes. Quite frankly, the comparison quoted above is accurate, to a degree. When Iron Maiden run completely out of steam and start making albums just for the money, I have no doubts that they will put out an album that sounds like this. Simply put, the riffs, however skilfully played, lack the “something” that make Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept and even newcomers like Armour sound so engaging. Similarly, the drummer is knowledgeable and obviously knows how to play his instrument; however, he seems to have realized the problem above and therefore is unable to show interest in the music he’s playing the beat to. The bass hardly seems present at any point, so mentioning it makes no difference here. The above would normally make for a mediocre album that one would find in various pawn shops for varying prices in the years to come, if not for Paige’s vocal delivery. It’s obvious that she put a lot of work trying to sound gruff, harsh, etc, so I will give her credit for that; that is, unfortunately, the source of the problem. Vocalists like Lemmy sound gruff whether they’re singing or not and therefore are able to achieve that register without trying; Paige’s voice is just not suited for it, and it comes off as forced, and well, unbearably annoying. There was no expense spared with the recording, mixing and mastering of the album, odd for a local band; the liner notes reveal at least four different locations in which the process took place.

The thing that I find most offensive about this release is that it’s obvious the musicians themselves are skilled; The riffs occasionally show a glimmer of a good idea, the drummer showcases his prowess in various side projects and even Paige displays an admirable operatic style of singing in “Legend”; I have no doubt she would do well for herself in the classical world. In fact, all the musicians would do well, or are doing well, in other musical endeavours, so releasing something of this level is tantamount to blasphemy.