Kobra & The Lotus (CAN)
Launched in 2009, Kobra And The Lotus is the lifeblood and passion of Canadian vocalist Kobra Paige. Eight years into their journey, the band has gone through significant changes in sound and personnel to the point that they were able evolve and create what is easily the strongest album in the Kobra And The Lotus catalogue. In fact, the aptly titled Prevail is such a show of strength that Kobra and her bandmates chose to make a double album to be released in two parts over the next year; a venture very few artists have the backbone to attempt.
Hailing from Calgary, Alberta, Kobra And The Lotus garnered immediate attention in Canada and the US with their debut album, Out Of The Pit, in 2010. The release of their self-titled second album in 2012 and High Priestess in 2014 enabled the band to tour worldwide both as a headliner and support act, which included a North American tour with KISS and Def Leppard. Sadly, Kobra was forced to take an eight month break from music due to a battle with Lyme disease, but Kobra And The Lotus regained much needed momentum with their Words Of The Prophets covers EP in 2015. In fact, the EP played was an integral part in the birth of Prevail in that it cemented the working relationship between Kobra and guitarist Jasio Kulakowski, who joined the band in 2012.
The idea of making a double album was introduced by Kobra’s father, who suggested they do it because the vast majority of younger generation metal artists don’t have the drive. Kobra admits she thought he was insane and that it was a surefire way to commit career suicide.
“A week later, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head because I didn’t see any reason why we couldn’t push ourselves to do it,” says Kobra. “We could at least try, and in that way make a bold statement that Kobra And The Lotus is still hanging in there.”
When the band signed with Napalm Records, who were 100% supportive of the double album concept, the label opted to split Prevail into two parts because they felt it was too much material all at once that would go over people’s heads. Twenty-one songs in all (including a cover), Prevail I and II share outstanding and diverse material due to the fact the songs were all written at the same time. Not only that, they wrote and recorded together in the studio with producer Jacob Hansen. According to Kobra, the band went to Denmark almost completely empty-handed and had very little material prepared. She calls it an “amazing experience” in that all the writing happened in one place, where the band members could bounce ideas off each other and encourage one other. They also benefitted from Hansen’s considerable knowledge and experience.
“I’d say about 85% of Prevail happened in the studio on the spot,” says Kobra. “Once we saw how much more colour was added to the songs by working that way we started to feel comfortable with the process. There were some unique things that happened because we were all there together. There was a whole new, whole different vision for this album. I didn’t know how this was going to turn out; a lot of it came from my intuition. Jasio is my writing partner and he’s a creative force. We lock in with one another when we write, it’s amazing. I’m really proud and overjoyed with how the album turned out.”
Prevail marks Kobra And The Lotus’ debut as members of the Napalm Records roster, but for Kobra the collaboration is a first on many levels for the band.
“It’s one of those amazing things that happens and I feel so blessed that Napalm were still interested in us. Every time we were getting ready to release something they were always there looking at us. We always went somewhere else and it was never a good choice (laughs). Okay, it was a good choice in how we needed to grow, but Napalm is the best label we could have hoped for because they’re dedicated and they work really hard. There’s a lot of young energy at the label and that’s a blessing compared to other deals we’ve had. I don’t think we ever knew what it meant to be supported by a label until we signed with Napalm.”
In the months prior to the release of Prevail, fans were treated to three singles: “Trigger Pulse”, “Gotham” and “You Don’t Know”. It comes as no surprise they are reminiscent of some of the material on High Priestess thanks to Kobra and Jasio’s partnership, but they also attest to Kobra And The Lotus’ massive growth as songwriters and musicians since the last record. On paper it sounds like lip service to say the band has become heavier, more dynamic and adventurous, but your ears don’t lie.
Bottom line… Kobra And The Lotus are fearless as they move forward with Prevail, and with good reason.
Kobra Paige – vocals, piano
Jasio Kulakowski – guitars
Brad Kennedy – bass
Marcus Lee – drums
Ronny Gutierrez – guitar