I Prevail – ‘Trauma’ – Album Review

I Prevail is back after a potential career ending vocal cord injury for singer, Brian Burkheiser.  Brian wasn’t sure if he would be able to continue, but with a successful surgery, that ‘trauma’ has led to the band returning with their sophomore album, ‘Trauma’.  And let me tell you the band is not suffering from any sophomore slump or suffering any side effects from that surgery.  This is a band that has found who they are and delivered one of the most impressive albums of the year.

I Prevail is a metalcore band and as I am not overly familiar with that genre, all I can say is if it sounds like this, I will be getting to know more of this band and this genre.  All I do know is I hear sounds of Linkin Park and Hollywood Undead in their music and since I like both those bands, then this is something for me.  It is at times brutal and other times beautiful.

The unclean vocals, Eric Vanlerberghe, don’t distract from the songs as it is not excessive.  It only enhances the performances and gives it an edge and attitude that fits perfectly with the music.  The clean vocals, Brian Burkheiser, are smooth and so melodic and he has this great rock voice that is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.

The opening track, “Bow Down”, is an assault on the senses.  It comes at you with such power and force that you are immediately engulfed in the shockwave and blown back in your seat.  Then we go into the song “Paranoid” which is so different than the opener. It includes a little rap and Brian’s clean vocals sound great.  It slowly builds up and then drops back slower.

The album then goes real slow with the song, “Every Time You Leave”, a duet with Delaney Jane who is an EDM singer out of Canada.  This song shows the beautiful side of the band.  They show they don’t have to completely blow the doors out every time.  They can write and perform thoughtful and moving lyrics.  A really great song.

“Rise Above It” is where I feel the Hollywood Undead vibe with the rap parts by special guest Justin Stone.  The song is heavy on the electronica feel, heavy bass and drums and lyrical rhymes that are delivered frantically and effortlessly.

The second single is “Breaking Down” and addresses mental health issues, an all too familiar issue nowadays that needs more and more open discussions.  The song is aggressive and lyrically is right on with the pain that people can feel that is unnoticed from the outside.

Next up is the fun rocker, “DOA”.  It mixes the rap and the metal nicely with a catchy chorus and the song completely rocks out.  Then hold on tightly because you are about to be completely destroyed.  “Gasoline” comes at you with such massive heat and intensity that your skin will start to boil, to peal and then completely fall off the bone.  It is the loudest and most blistering song on the album and a personal favorite.

“Hurricane” is another song that feels so different from the rest of the album when it opens.  It has more pop elements with the sound and vocal stylings.  It still is heavy, but it is so radio-friendly.  It shows the band is not a one trick pony. I really love the variety on the album.  “Let Me Be Sad” is a slow rock ballad and seems to explore some of the same elements as “Breaking Down” as the person seems to be going through dark times.  The title matches the song as it does feel so sad.  It seems to be such a personal song.

“Low” is another Hollywood Undead type song.  It is actually upbeat, melodic and catchy. It is on the softer side then the other songs more in the vein of “Hurricane”.  Up next is “Goodbye (interlude)” which is less than 2 minutes and is a little strange piece to throw in towards the end.  It isn’t bad, just different and seems like maybe thrown in the middle of the album would make more sense.

Then the band brings back the metal with “Deadweight”.  It is another brutal attack and plenty of unclean and clean vocals.  The album has enough of these songs that makes this album so great to be blasting at 11 in the car when driving down the road…just be prepared for possible road rage.

The album ends with another ballad called “I Don’t Belong”.  It is so powerful and emotional.  Another beautiful song that shows the softer side of the band, but not a weaker band.  This is some exceptional writing and this band can do it all.  One of the most exciting new bands to come along in years.

Now I guess I need to score this album.  Well, there is not one track I would delete off this album so the track score is easy…13 out of 13 Tracks for a 100% Track Score.  An overall, this is one of my favorite albums of the year so far.  It is a Beauty and a Beast with the softer ballads along side the brutal attacks of heavier metalcore songs.  I would score this album a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars.  It has it all.  Such a great variety of songs and the flow from song to song feels right with the minor exception of the placement of “Goodbye”, but I can’t deduct for that.  Wow, I just realized this is my second 5.0 rating of the year.  Who will wind up on top at the end of 2019????

If you aren’t familiar with them, give them a try as I don’t think you will be disappointed.  Sorry for the lack of pictures, I haven’t actually bought this in a physical form yet, but it will be here soon.

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