I Prevail – Trauma (Album Review)
I Prevail – Trauma
Released: 29th March 2019
Brian Burkheiser // Vocals
Eric Vanlerberghe // Vocals
Steve Menoian // Lead Guitar
Dylan Bowman // Rhythm Guitar
Gabe Helguera // Drums
I Prevail’s long awaited follow up to Lifelines taps into the mind of vocalist Brian Burkheiser as he spent the past year on the mend from a pretty serious and traumatic vocal injury that almost ended his career with the band. Thankfully though, for the rest of the band and the fans, Brian’s in the all-clear and ready to take on the world with his fellow bandmates as they prepare once more for total world domination with their second full-length, Trauma. This album sees I Prevail stepping it up massively musically and lyrically, experimenting not with just rock and metal genres, but fusing together elements of hip hop, electronic and trap musical styles.
Trauma begins with the band’s lead single, ‘Bow Down’ and it is an explosive hit which sees the guys refusing to listen to anyone else and just wanting to make this new record on their own terms. At first listen, you’ll have your mind blown instantly because it is everything we love from the band but on ANOTHER FUCKING LEVEL. This is followed by ‘Paranoid’ which sounds so different to ‘Bow Down’ but also sounds so refreshing. We can hear scream vocalist Eric Vanlerberghe experiment with clean spoken rap vocals, and then ties it all together in the chorus with the hardcore vocals we are more than familiar with. It’s an unusual tune, but holy shit, I Prevail make this trap-metal sound work.
‘Every Time You Leave’ sounds like familiar territory here. Female guest vocalist Delaney Jane lends a hand on this one, to add to that refreshing sound the guys are obviously playing out with throughout this entire record, and her voice complements Brian’s quite nicely. ‘Rise Above It’ turns up the tempo and I think this is one of my favourites from Trauma. Featuring some guest vocals from Justin Stone, we have the band playing around with elements of metal, hip hop, electronic styles here, breaking out into the sickest chorus I’ve ever heard from them. It’s very reminiscent of Crossfaith, but it is absolutely mental.
Second single ‘Breaking Down’ tones down the vibe once again and lyrically, it’s about the sensitive but all too important topic of mental health. The backing instrumental track on this song sounds pretty eerie during the heavily emotional verses, but it slowly builds up during the bridge and we get a heavy-hitting banging chorus that is classic I Prevail. On the other hand, ‘DOA’ is an explosively heavy rock/metal track that once again sees Eric rapping more than screaming and I’m going to be completely honest – I am beginning to fall in love with this revolutionised version of the band. It’s absolutely refreshing and I am stoked that every song so far stands so well on its own.
Hearing ‘Gasoline’ for the first time I had to do a double take for a second here, as this one kind of reminded me of something off of Beartooth’s discography, and some of you will probably agree with me. ‘Gasoline’ is one of the more metal tracks on Trauma, right next to ‘Bow Down’. That explosive head-banging metal as fuck chorus is enough to start a moshpit wherever you are, and you might wanna press repeat on this one before this next track. ‘Hurricane’ sounds almost out of place on this record, but by the time the chorus kicks in, you know it belongs on this revolutionary I Prevail record. By far the most experimental track of the whole album, ‘Hurricane’ begins like many pop/electronic songs, but dramatically changes halfway through with a heavy-hitting rock chorus. This one will most definitely receive mixed emotions from many fans, because it’s so different from anything else the band have ever done. However, it’s a pretty solid effort from the boys.
We all love I Prevail’s heavy breakdowns, but we’re also suckers for their emotional rock ballads too. ‘Let Me Be Sad’ is exactly that, and will definitely hit close to home if any of their music has helped you deal with some heavy shit in life. It dives into the mind of one suffering through hard times, following along similar lines of ‘Breaking Down’. ‘Low’ is an energetic blend of emotional rock and metal which follows along the same lyrical themes, but in a way more upbeat, nu-metal/Linkin Park kind of way.
“Even when I’m high, I still feel low
The voices in my head won’t leave me alone
I keep falling over the edge
In over my head
I’m so damn low.”
I Prevail’s version of trap-metal (yep, I’m calling that a thing now) that we heard on ‘Paranoid’ appears once again on ‘Goodbye’, and it feels more like an interlude of the album as it stands at 1 minute, 42 seconds. ‘Deadweight’ became an instant favourite of mine, it’s an explosive metal track from start to finish and covers familiar ground from the band. This one is guaranteed to be a fan favourite for sure. Trauma ends with acoustic ballad ‘I Don’t Belong Here’, finishing off the record on a powerful but emotional note.
With Trauma, I Prevail sought to push musical boundaries, experimenting with sounds and elements that ultimately showed us a side of the band we’ve never seen before. This record will lose minds and break hearts, but more importantly, will instil a newfound appreciation of how absolutely talented these guys are because the way every song manages to stand so well on their own has to be highly praised. I Prevail have definitely outdone themselves, redefining their sound and ultimately telling the world they will stop at nothing to “rise above it“.
I Prevail – Trauma tracklisting:
- Bow Down
- Every Time You Leave (feat. Delaney Jane)
- Rise Above It (feat. Justin Stone)
- Breaking Down
- Let Me Be Sad
- I Don’t Belong Here
Trauma is out Friday March 29th via Fearless Records. Pre-order here!
Review by Tamara May (@citylightsTAM)
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Love it! It’s been on repeat since it’s been released and I’m so happy bc I was wanting some new songs of theirs to listen to (:Trauma is def a masterpiece.
Such a good album!!!