Friday, 3 August 2012

Review: Kobra and the Lotus - Kobra and the Lotus

 With it's typical levels effervescent glee, ability to ham up their performances and constant spreading of nostalgia of the days when music was kick-ass, maybe there's more than one reason why modern bands that try and play like Iron Maiden are looked upon with glazed eyes and gritted teeth. But this generally comes from bands that just turn up on stage and basically copy Maiden. It's when a band can take the style, truly pull it off and make it sound as up-to-date and relevant as ever that it's worth shouting about. And so comes Kobra and the Lotus, a band who have been gaining a sturdy following over the past few months who are serious about their heavy metal. And on their self titled album, they most definitely prove this to be the truth.

 All to often bands that try this style have been rejected, deemed to be a supposed parody act. Even 3 Inches of Blood, a band that constantly speak of their devotion to playing heavy metal as it should sound have been branded as something of a novelty act. But with Kobra and the Lotus, you get a different feeling from how they play. The level of rising drama amongst raw metallic beatdowns makes the album a fully straight faced affair without then going fully melodramatic and overblown to the extent that it becomes like a Rhapsody of Fire album.

 "Pounding" is a good way to describe the kind of experience the band will give you throughout the album. Straight from the opening of 50 Shades of Evil, the super-charged riffage from Jasio Kulkowski bursts into action with a massive level of urgency and delirious passion. With ease, it sums up the sort of energy and intensity that has fueled metal music since the NWOBHM took charge of the genre in the 1980's.

 And despite the obvious reminiscence to the likes of Iron Maiden and Dio, Kobra and the Lotus also manage to make their sound just as up-to-date and relevant as any metalcore band that copies each other can do. The guitar work of Nayana is just as reminiscent of Lamb of God as it is of Iced Earth. It's through the use of breakdowns and Pantera-esque grooves that Forever One and My Life that gives the album the sound of something entirely modern as well as a fitting replica of trad metal.

 But of course, Kobra and the Lotus' prime weapon is their frontwoman Kobra Paige for eye candy. her powerful vocal performance, giving her the sound of a female Bruce Dickinson. Bursting with the roaring spike of youthful power while also carrying a dustier wisened tone, her performance on the likes of Welcome to My Funeral, Sanctuary and the grand finale of Aria of Karmika are gripping in every sense.

 If the recent efforts of bands playing in the spirit of their traditional NWOBHM heroes has been viewed as a joke as of late, then Kobra and the Lotus are sure to give that notion a firm booting up the arse. The band effortlessly perform straight on heavy metal without any kind of over-the-top orchestral backdrops or layers of camp cheesiness. What the band deliver is a performance that fits in well with any other metal release from 1983, but still leaps out with a modern depth and relevance. And that's exactly what's required if newly made classic heavy metal is going to be taken seriously.

Kobra and the Lotus' Kobra and the Lotus is out now via Spinefarm. The band will play at Bloodstock Open Air Festival at Catton Hall, Walton on Trent on 12th August.

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