One of the best parts of doing what I do is the unexpected treasures I sometimes find in the form of bands I never would have made it a point to check out with a quickness were it not for some new friends’ recommendations. The latest example of this is KOBRA AND THE LOTUS, a heavy metal band from Canada. Drawing comparisons to Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, DIO, and a slew of other heavies, they manage to have a sound all their own, while paying homage to their heroes. Their self-titled debut is out now and it’s good. It’s damn good! Not only because the band is on fire, but also, the master, Kevin Churko, is the man behind the knobs. It’s a perfect match.

From the opening salvo of “50 Shades of Evil” it is obvious that Kobra Paige, founder and powerhouse vocalist is on a mission: to drive a metal spear into the heart of every fan out there. Her voice is amazing, and will slap you up, down, and sideways over the course of these songs. “Welcome to My Funeral” sounds very much like something from Painkiller-era Priest, complete with the rapid-fire drums, and dual guitar assault.

“Forever One” is a bit of a scary song, with a video to match. The dual harmony leads are all over this one, and is instantly one of the better tracks found here. From the dark night of this we go into “Heaven’s Veins”, a song that shows just how strong Kobra’s voice really is. She has honed it to a razor-sharpness that few out there can match. “My Life”, and “Nayana” are two of my other favorites, with the former having an intro straight out of the NWOBHM playbook, and a sound that just begs to be blared from some metalhead’s record player in 1987 while he or she air guitars furiously! The latter is a faster track that shows all five members playing at a high level, with the double bass thumping all the way, and one hell of an end solo. I can only imagine this one live!

A change of pace arrives in the form of “Sanctuary”, with just a piano and Kobra singing to start off, then everyone comes in for a song that marches on slowly, like an advancing army. “Lover of the Beloved” briefly fools you into thinking it will be a ballad before turning up the jets musically, while still maintaining the emotion in the song. Another great dual harmony solo is featured here, too.

“No Rest For the Wicked” is all wicked rhythm, drawing you in before the inevitable bite clamps down, and album closer “Aria of Karmika” is the type of song that you’d expect to hear over the closing credits of a movie with a climactic battle scene, with blood and bodies strewn about, on some field in medieval times. A tip of the cap to Iron Maiden, perhaps? Either way, it’s a great song!

If you’re looking for a band that will rock the hell out of your speakers for an entire album, with absolutely no filler, then I strongly urge you to pick up this debut from KOBRA AND THE LOTUS. A word of warning, though.. You WILL play it loud. You won’t be able to help yourselves.

STANDOUT TRACKS: “50 Shades of Evil”, “My Life”, “Nayana”, “Forever One”, “Heaven’s Veins”, “Welcome To My Funeral”

RATING: 9/10

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