2 of this month’s best releases prove that (also) when it comes to Metal, Women rule !
My only previous contact with Canada’s Kobra and the Lotus was seeing them supporting Kamelot back in 2015 and to be honest at that time I was not stunned. Their style of Heavy Metal/Hard Rock seemed to me too generic (at least to convince me to give them another try). The ongoing hype about their new album Prevail I (a second part named Prevail II is expected to be released within 2017) made me purchase the CD and give it a more thorough listen. Fortunately, this was one of the (not so many) cases where the hype is absolutely justifiable and Prevail I is another album which is a candidate for topping my 2017 lists.
Formed back in 2009 and with singer Kobra Paige being the only remaining member from the original line-up, KATL (as usually initialised) have released another 3 full length albums and 1 EP which, as already mentioned, failed to capture my attention. The new record Prevail I though, is a killer in all aspects introducing an almost genius approach in songwriting. The main driver in the album are (as expected) the magnificent vocals of Kobra Paige which provide an anthemic (sic) character to all the songs (the self titled song is a perfect example of this - both music and lyric-wise). Addictive melodies and a rhythmical approach which at many points reminds of Disturbed, all result to an almost flawless record (Manifest Destiny -my least favourite tune in the album - being one level inferior to the rest is a song which could have been reworked). Aided by an incredible production, Prevail I ingeniously combines Metal with Pop. I am already eagerly anticipating for Prevail II.
Switzerland’s all female band Burning Witches on the other hand, follow a clearly traditional approach in their style of Heavy Metal. Carrying a name which obviously references to Warlock and with singer Seraina Telli’s voice strongly reminding both Rob Halford and Doro Pesch (something mainly due to the Germanic accent) it is impressive how they have successfully digested their classical heavy metal influences and how they have transformed and presented them in the 10 original compositions of the album (plus 1 amazing cover of Judas Priest’s Jawbreaker). Impressive, because despite their young age and their country of origin (Switzerland is a country that had never had any strong influencing tradition in classic heavy metal rather mainly to bands which were either dark and sophisticated like Coroner, Celtic Frost, Samael or simply hard rock like Gotthard, Krokus, Shakra etc.) they have composed songs which sound fresh and original. I am sure that Judas Priest would have easily sold their souls in order to have a song like Black Widow included in one of their post-Painkiller albums.
Unsurprisingly, their debut album Burning of the Witches (which was produced by Destruction’s Schmier) even though it has a few weak points (there are a couple of songs which even though cannot be called fillers, still need some rework ) has gained a significant hype within the German speaking countries and sets high hopes for a successful continuation. Having seem them playing live, I put my bet on them for a second album which will hopefully achieve a breakthrough outside the DACH area.