Kobra and the Lotus – Words of the Prophets
Release Date: August 28, 2015
As a rule, albums and EPs of cover songs are usually a mixed bag, but over the last few years more and more are appearing, mostly with mixed results. This summer, August 28, Canada’s traditional metal outfit, Kobra and the Lotus, will unleash its own EP of re-recorded classics in celebration of other iconic artists from their native land.
Words of the Prophets, as frontwoman Kobra Paige puts it, is a tribute to the classic rock legends they grew up on. In a recent interview with Metalholic, Paige shared that fans wanted them to cover songs from other Canadian heavy metal artists, but Kobra and the Lotus opted to go in a different direction:
“We asked our Facebook page what songs do people want to hear us do, and it was all metal. It was, do Lee Aaron, do Exciter—it was all metal bands, and I didn’t want to do that, because it was exactly what people expected from us.”
Ultimately, the band chose five classic rock songs that evoke the majesty of music’s greatest era. First up is the Triumph’s 1979 hit, “Lay it on the Line”. Kobra and the Lotus paid this Rik Emmett classic due respect; recreating the heavy riffs and big vocals without straying far from the masterful original. Vocally, this is the farthest from the original, as Paige’s voice is a world apart from Emmett’s, but she does a fine job of infusing it with her unique style and power.
Lorence Hud’s 1972 classic, “Sign of the Gypsy Queen”, later made famous by April Wine, is one of the EP’s true gems. The performance follow’s the April Wine version, and the band reminds us what an addictive and infectious affair this song can be.
Alannah Myles won a Grammy in 1990 for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, with her hit single, “Black Velvet”, which became a worldwide smash. Kobra and the Lotus give their own spin a heavier, edgier feel. The guitars are chunkier, and the bass really sets the tone. While not quite as smoky as Myles on the vocal delivery, Paige still captures the dark sensuality of the song, while giving it extra oomph. Johnny K’s (Pop Evil, Disturbed, Megadeth) production is flawless.
The EPs weakest track, if one could call it that, is the band’s take on Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Let it Ride”. Paige and company offer up a solid rendition that resonates with the feel good, early 70’s vibe of the song’s initial release. The band’s version feels great but is perhaps the farthest apart from its own sonic signature.
The EP closes out with an audacious and decidedly brilliant take on Rush’s first massive hit, 1980’s “The Spirit of Radio”. Paige hails it as the most challenging of the songs on the album due to the many tempo changes. The reggae-infused breakdown leading into the song’s final minute is given more of a groovish swagger by Kobra and the Lotus.
Words of the Prophets gives Kobra and the Lotus a chance to have some fun with historical rock classics from their homeland while paying homage to their heroes. The band is not trying to reinvent the wheel or set the world on fire with this EP; still, they have managed to record some inspired tributes that are worth the price of admission. Words of the Prophets is a bombastic and genuine celebration of rock and roll’s golden age, with Kobra and the Lotus serving as the party’s house band.