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Sunday, 6 May 2018

Reviews: Kobra And The Lotus, LIK, Monsternaut, Digital Criminals (Reviews By Paul)

Kobra and The Lotus: Prevail II (Napalm Records)

Prevail II is the follow up to 2017’s Prevail I, which was a solid release from the Canadian metallers. Prevail II builds superbly on that fourth album. It is an accomplished superbly constructed album that sees Kobra Paige delivering the performance of her career. Tracks such as My Immortal, the thunderously heavy Human Empire and the pop-rock of Heartache all hit the spot. Vocally, Paige steps into the premier league of female metal singers with this album; symphonic, powerfully controlled and always soaring high and bright, there is a real passion which has been unleashed.

With her band a settled unit and really able to let loose, this should be the springboard for the band to move forward. An interesting cover of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain and an acoustic version of Let Me Love You provide a glimpse of the versatility that the band now possess. This is without doubt the best release of their career. 8/10

LIK: Carnage (Metal Blade Records)

Possessing a real old school death metal flavour which recalls Entombed and Dismember along with the crunching vocals of Max Cavalera, LIK’s second release is a storming 36 minutes of flesh peeling, face melting and top-drawer metal. The underlying groove of Celebration Of The Twisted, complete with thunderous drumming contrasts with the more straightforward assault of the delightful Rid You Of Your Flesh. The band features live Bloodbath and Katatonia guitarist Tomas Akvik, drummer Chris Barkensjö and guitarist Niklas Sandin and these three pull out all the stops. Crunchingly heavy, this is a slab of brutality that is as subtle as sandpaper dragged across your bleeding wounds. Essential stuff. 8/10

Monsternaut: Enter The Storm (Heavy Psych Sounds)

I wasn’t familiar with Monsternaut prior to giving Enter The Storm a listen. What we have is a 12-track getaway in the Finnish tundra. Their second album, this beast is full of fuzzy, sludgy and heavy groove. Similar to the likes of Fu Manchu, CoC and the whole NOLA scene, Enter The Storm is simply a gargantuan heavy, stoner ride from beginning to end. Formed in 2012 by Tuomas Heiskanen and Perttu Härkönen, later to be joined by a garbage collecting angry man Jani Kuusela, the band demonstrate in their music their passion for the 90s heavy/stoner rock. Adding in the desert feel of early QOTSA and Kyuss and you get the picture. It’s not at all retro though and feels current despite the clear historical influences. With a pace that changes regularly, this is no ponderous sludge fest and the best is saved to last with the seven-minute space ride of Swallowed By The Earth totally absorbing. 7/10

Digital Criminals: Hell Yeah (Self Released)

A female fronted alt-pop punk band from Pontypool, Hell Yeah is their 3rd EP. Fronted by the feisty Emily Bates, this is a fiery five-track release which contains more hooks than an angler’s box. Their live show is apparently particularly energetic, and it comes through loud and proud here with the title track and the opening Just Jump impressive. Solid but never dull, Digital Criminals have a source of infection which does not require a cure. 7/10

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