Released: 2012, Spinefarm/Universal
It’s always enjoyable to experience the little thrill of seeing a local band become successful. From seeing the bands very first gig, to chatting to them from time and interviewing them on my radio show to watching them grow into a global phenomena has been fun. In three short years they have gone from bar band to touring the world and playing huge festivals. The most recent self-titled album proves that the band have the talent to make it anywhere.
The album cover is a bit dull but I’m pleased the band avoided the trap of putting vocalist, Kobra on the cover as a selling point, because the music can certainly stand on it’s own merits, regardless of the band image. The 10 track album runs just under 42 minutes and has very decent production by mainstream Canadian rock producer Julius Butty, who is cutting his teeth on a Metal album but does an admirable job. There have been some big line-up changes since the debut, which may help account for the change (and improvement) in the bands sound.
In my previous review of the debut album back in 2010, I noticed that one track, ‘Legend’ stood out from the others, the song utilizing Kobra’s more natural singing style. I would never dream for an instant that it was my suggestion that prompted them to change her singing style to the more operatic style for the new album, but others may have noticed that her skill in that area as well and accordingly the new album is far more in line with that one track ‘Legend’. What this means ultimately that Kobra’s singing has brought the band from ‘good’ to ‘great’. Her clear powerful voice is a focal point on all of the songs as she really cuts loose this time. The first part of the track of the slower cut ‘Sanctuary’ really displays her beautiful voice accompanied by some acoustic piano before the songs evolves into a power ballad with the emphasis on ‘power’.
The rest of the band have also increased the overall speed and Power of the songs from a more conventional Metal sound to a faster Euro Metal delivery. The drumming of Lord Griffin is faster for the most part as there is quite a bit more double-kick on the album. The whole album has more intensity and pace. The simple songs drive along with catchy choruses, some gang vocals and just well-written Metal songs with decent solos. I have no hesitation in saying that KOBRA AND THE LOTUS is one of the strongest albums from Canada in 2012, despite not being formally released here!
The band has been signed to Universal Music making them the first band in the history of Calgary Heavy Metal to be signed to a major label. In Europe Spinefarm picked up the album for release so it is evident that the powers that be recognize the talent and skill of this young band. Watch for a North American release of KOBRA AND THE LOTUS later in the summer. This charismatic and photogenic young band has all the right moves and considering the American penchant for reality TV, I wouldn’t be surprised if they get picked up for some sort of TV special or series. 2013 according to the Chinese is the Year Of The Snake and I predict it will be the Year of the Kobra as well.