Kobra and the Lotus is the self-titled second album by the female fronted Canadian traditional heavy metal act Kobra and the Lotus (although for some reason it seems to be being promoted as their debut, which it is not). The band’s line-up has largely been reworked since the release of their debut full-length Out of the Pit (2010), leaving only vocalist Kobra Paige and drummer Griffin Kissack the only two members performing on both releases.
Although by and large the album is traditional heavy metal, Kobra and the Lotus also includes some power metal in the album, not so much as elements, but as full songs. Opening track 50 Shades of Evil for example is a power metal song, but the majority of the album is classic sounding heavy metal driven by Kobra Paige’s powerful singing, excellent guitar leads and classic galloping style heavy metal rhythms straight out of the school of Iron Maiden.
Although 50 Shades of Evil is an absolute belter of a track and a clear highlight for the album, kicking off the album with it is something of a double-edged sword, as it draws you into a sound that, although heavy metal and power metal have a lot in common, is a different sound to what the album is going to deliver as a whole so in some ways it’s disappointing when Welcome to My Funeral starts up and the speedy power metal riffs have been removed. Fortunately for Kobra and the Lotus Welcome to My Funeral is another highlight of the album, so any shock at the change of pace is short-lived, especially since they also keep delivering tracks of the same high quality as these two.
The thing is, although Kobra and the Lotus are a more that competent heavy metal act, one that has clearly grown by leaps and bounds since their debut, with the times they switch to power metal they show that they’re an even better power metal act. The album, as high quality as it is even with power metal only being the minority influence, could easily have been even better if it was a case of power metal with heavy metal influences rather than the other way around. There’s not a lot that can be faulted about the album all the same, so my major quibble here is perhaps best described as unfulfilled potential. At risk of sounding cliché there’s an undeniable sense of power in a power metal styled rhythm that just works so well with Kobra’s vocals (see: 50 Shades of Evil) that despite my enjoyment on their ‘regular’ tracks I can’t help ultimately feeling that the album is missing a spark half the time. That’s something of a subjective view however. Objectively Kobra and the Lotus is an exceptional traditional metal album.
Kobra and the Lotus are yet another band in the current influx of high quality female fronted metal acts releasing an album in 2012 and I’m beginning to think there’s no end to the acts coming out with a style like this at the moment. Of course that’s certainly a not a bad thing. In their case they do, as stated, show an even better aptitude for power metal during this album than their chosen traditional metal route, but all the same, I can’t deny that it is a well crafted album with no dips in compositional quality and honestly, that’s all I really look for in a traditional metal album in 2012. Some may complain about artists not bringing anything new to the table (unless they do the intentionally retro thing) but as I always say, there’s a reason why they call it traditional metal and my feelings about them doing power metal even better aside, Kobra and the Lotus do traditional metal pretty damn well.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))