Sound — 10
The new wave of British heavy metal inspired Kobra And The Lotus was formed in 2008 and "High Priestess" is their third album. They play a mix of power metal, thrash and classic heavy metal, the bands main guitarist Jasio Kulakowski is obviously influenced by Judas Priest, Metallica & Iron Maiden. The band found their sound in 2011, partly thanks to Gene Simmons, who singed the band to Simmons Record and helped singer Brittany Paige (nicknamed Kobra Paige) to greatly improve her vocals.
The sound of the album is old school but still modern, you hear lots of sounds from the '70s and '80s, with some '90s power metal and drumming of the new millennia. Griffin Kissack is definitely a very talented drummer and best is his performance on the heavier tracks. The record kicks off strong with two heavier tracks; "Warhorse" and "I Am, I Am," both of which could be classified as thrash metal songs. The verses and the chorus in "Warhorse" is just phenomenal and "I Am, I Am" has an awesome main riff and some really great drumming. The next two songs; "Heartbeat" and "Hold On," are much softer songs, but almost just as good as the first two. Jasio delivers an outstanding guitar solo on "Hold On." The band then goes back into heaviness on the next three tracks; "High Priestess" has a slight oriental sound, just like "Welcome to My Funeral" had on the previous album, "Soldier" sounds like a mix between Iced Earth and Iron Maiden. "Battle of Wrath" has a stronger oriental sound than the title track, and the haunting bridge is just fantastic. Great singing, great solos and really strong lyrics. The song even pulls towards melodic death metal in some parts. This is followed by, again, two softer tracks: "Visionary" & "Willow." The album is then rounded off nicely by the slow and calm "Lost in the Shadows."
Lyrics — 9
The first thing you notice about the band is Brittany's highly impressive and powerful vocals, that rivals even the best male power metal vocalist. You can definitely tell that she's influenced by Bruce Dickinson and Ronnie James Dio, as well as Doro Pesch and Ann Wilson. She delivers a much more varied vocal performance that last time, where she sang too much over the top and high all the time, making it a bit monotone. Her lyrics seems to have improved as well, every song is well written and different. "Soldier" instantly makes you think of Iron Maiden's "The Trooper." My favorite songs lyrically are "Battle of Wrath" and "I Am, I Am" with their darker tone. The vocals are no longer the single best part of this band, the guitar work and drumming is now equally impressive. Just like last time, Paige delivers one of the years best vocal performances.
Overall Impression — 9
I was really surprised by just how good this album was compared to the self-titled, which was a solid album, but nowhere nearly as good as this one. "High Priestess" is more melodic and diverse, and feels like a more complete album. They have changed their sound without losing any of their edge, and the bands identity remains the same despite numerous lineup changes. The production is top notch and the length of both the songs and the album itself is just perfect. It's hard for me to pick between this and Epica's "The Quantum Enigma" to what is my favorite album of 2014, but I have say that "High Priestess" is a perfect album. The strongest tracks are "Warhorse," "I Am, I Am," "Soldier," "Willow" and "Battle of Wrath."