Kobra and the Lotus – Evolution (Napalm)Friday, 18th October 2019
Taking the slow burn route, Kobra and the Lotus have been cultivating a following for a number of years at this point. Along the way, they’ve also taken a turn further towards hard rock, something that the excellent Prevail I and II did in combination with some righteously epic metal undertones. Given the trajectory they’ve had, it seemed Evolution was the next step along the way, as they continue to strip more of the metallic components away in favor of hard rock melodies.
This sort of evolution has worked for a number of bands over the years (see the recently released Nemesea for a solid example). Tracks like “We Come Undone” and “Get the Fuck Out of Here” serve as a natural progression of KatL and what they’ve been accomplishing, melding together some fantastic hooks and melodies, crunchy backbone, and of course, Kobra Paige’s potent vocal range. Other songs such as “Circus” and “Wash Away” still carry that epic conviction that worked so well for the band in the past, when they slowed down the tempos. The unfortunate part, is that as the band has stripped away some of those metallic grooves, some of the energy has also dissipated. “Burn!” feels like it should work quite well for the band, but there’s just something lacking in the mix that’s hard to put a finger on, particularly compared to Prevail tracks. Likewise, “Thundersmith” really pushes that radio-rock edge but doesn’t seem to have much bite to it beyond the hooks and vocals.
Kobra and the Lotus are pretty intent on doing their thing, and it does feel like a genuine move for the band – there’s no loss of integrity with these tracks and their progression. They truly deserve a shot at a wider audience. However, Evolution doesn’t seem to captivate over the long term quite as successfully as some of their previous releases surely have. Hopefully the band finds some larger success with this move, though some veteran fans may have to come to terms with the changes in the band’s sound.