I Prevail – True Power
Released: August 19th, 2022
Brian Burkheiser // Vocals
Eric Vanlerberghe // Vocals
Steve Menoian // Guitar/Bass
Dylan Bowman // Guitar
Gabe Helguera // Drums
Michigan-based I Prevail are back with their third LP True Power, the highly anticipated follow up to 2019’s Trauma. To kick this review off, I am going to be honest and let you all know that besides knowing a couple of their previous tracks like ‘Scars’ and ‘Bow Down’, I hadn’t given I Prevail much of my time. However, the first release off this album ‘Body Bag’ definitely got my attention. In the time since, I’ve given Trauma a couple of spins, and True Power feels like the boys have kicked it up a notch and added a few more genres to their sound. True Power will please current fans, bring in new fans, and do nothing but cement I Prevail’s place within modern metalcore’s finest.
The album kicks off with an intro track ‘0-00’. It features some haunting violins and static-styled radio calls that give a lost at sea vibe, before a classic increasing volume/intensity frequency sound that builds into the second track. This has the tried-and-true hype-up feeling and I imagine it will be used as a show opener. Not letting that hype go to waste, ‘There’s Fear In Letting Go’ begins with a synth-based melody, heavily syncopated guitar chugs and beating drums that build and build. Both vocalists, Brian Burkheiser and Eric Vanlerberghe feature before the band drop into a massive chorus – this track has I Prevail written all over it. To complete the ideal metalcore song checklist, it also features a vocal-based pre-breakdown that builds up into a crushing breakdown and a key-change final chorus that just sounds epic as f*ck. This is an awesome way to kick off an album and lets the listener know I Prevail are back and bigger than ever.
The relentless first single ‘Body Bag‘ follows, and unless you’ve been living under a rock you know this track absolutely rips. It’s fast-paced, heavy and the whole band are giving it their all. From the first second Dylan Bowman provides a guitar riff that puts you on edge, then shortly after, Gabe Helguera drops a massive drum roll, just to be followed by Eric Vanlerberghe letting loose an absolutely menacing scream. This hectic vibe continues with Brian Burkheiser’s vocal phrasing during one of the fastest choruses on the album. Following suit with the heaviness of this track, the boys drop into an absolutely bone-shattering breakdown about a minute in. But the song ain’t done yet, the band showing that diverse musical influence, with Brian Burkheiser busting a short and sweet, rapid rap verse. I’ve seen a few live videos of this track and unsurprisingly, it goes off. Guaranteed to be a staple in their setlists for years to come.
Huge groove. That’s all I can say about the heavily nu-metal influenced ‘Self-Destruction‘. My head didn’t stop bopping all the way through the 2:26 minute track length. Steve Menoian and Dylan Bowman are definitely channelling some KoRn energy here for the guitar riffage, while Gabe Helguera sits in a very Limp Bizkit drumbeat. Both vocalists Brian Burkheiser and Eric Vanlerberghe pull out their rap kicks. It seems I Prevail’s musical influences don’t stop there though, as that pre-chorus is very Taylor Swift ‘Shake It Off’ esque. Don’t believe me? 2:30 mark. It undeniably works though, and the chorus just hits so hard right after. The track closes with a disgustingly chunky breakdown, complemented and contrasted with Eric Vanlerberghe unleashing some machine gun-paced scream vocals.
‘Bad Things‘ is the second single off True Power and sees the band returning to their more melodic side. Brian Burkheiser and Eric Vanlerberghe showcase their connection with dual vocals throughout the verses, Brian backing with cleans while Eric delivers a more spoken rap style. The verses are pulled back and driven by Steve Menoian’s bass line and Gabe Helguera’s drums allowing the chorus to really hit when it drops. While the song is definitely one for those who like the lighter side of the band, the boys don’t want to isolate their heavier fans and smack you in the face with a very groovy riffdown. Next up is ‘Fake‘. The verse has a very urgent feeling to it and the back and forth between vocalists Brian Burkheiser and Eric Vanlerberghe screams Linkin Park to me. Our very own Ricky compared the band with Linkin Park in his review of their recent Melbourne show here. The band comes together for a big chorus that will have fists pumping in the air, followed by a chunky post-chorus that should have pits jumping. The boys trick you following the second chorus with an epic build-up making you think they are about to unleash a breakdown, but instead Dylan Bowman jumps in and rips a sick melodic guitar solo. The guitarist in me loved it. That fist-pumping chorus comes back once more, and the song closes with that chunky post-chorus. While not the heaviest track, I imagine this one will be a crowd-mover.
I Prevail pick the tempo up again for ‘Judgement Day‘. This one is filled with chuggy riffs, tight drum fills, and big vocals. The boys went in on the judgement day vibe, with a tension-building pre-breakdown complete with a ticking clock counting down to the world-ending breakdown. Guitarists Steve Menoian and Dylan Bowman shine here with a cool ascending/descending riff and a quick shreddy lead. This one will have circle pits a-plenty at live shows. ‘FWYTYK‘ sees I Prevail sink their teeth into some trap metal, complete with auto-tuned vocals. Both vocalists flex their rap muscles throughout the verse, with Brian Burkheiser trying out the spoken word style and Eric Vanlerberghe letting out some aggressively dirty flows. Dylan Bowman provides a nasty guitar lead melody over the chorus. Gabe Helguera does a sick job of just sitting in the groove, making this a super bouncy track. The track then cuts to a sample from a movie, giving a very early 2000s metalcore pre-breakdown vibe. The boys don’t disappoint, finishing the song with a big riffdown; guitar chugs, drums fills and a cool guitar lead all featuring. I Prevail pull this venture into trap metal off, showing their diverse musical influence yet again.
Continuing the diverse soundscape, I Prevail give fans a rock ballad with ‘Deep End’. This one’s got clean guitar tones, pulled-back verses and a big chorus. Brian Burkheiser and Eric Vanlerberghe tackle a verse each, Brian providing some soothing cleans while Eric jumps in with that spoken rap style again. The chorus is easy to sing along to.
Get ready to bounce. ‘Long Live The King‘ is another track where the whole band come together and just groove. The track opens with a big group vocal yelling “LONG LIVE THE KING”. The verses are rapped, and the chorus does a great job of building up to that huge group vocal that features again post-chorus. Gabe Helguera, Steve Menoian, and Dylan Bowman sync up throughout the song with hard drumbeats and riffs that you won’t be able to resist nodding your head to. It’s a simple song, but I rate it.
The boys give a nod to Nirvana in the opening seconds of ‘Choke‘ with a very grungy guitar tone and riff and Gabe Helguera smashing that snare drum. The nod stops there though as Steve Menoian and Dylan Bowman let rip a beast riff full of pull-offs, bends and octave shifts that will have stadiums shaking. Brian Burkheiser and Eric Vanlerberghe go back and forth during the up-tempo verses, with Eric taking the lead during the aggressive chorus. That beast guitar riff hits you in the face again post-chorus, which makes me happy as it’s groovy AF. The carnage stops briefly before I Prevail drop a bone-shaking triplet-based breakdown. This track is a highlight for me, and I hope it makes it onto their setlist. ‘The Negative‘ has some big Linkin Park vibes and is a journey of a song. The first minute or so of the song had me thinking this was going to be a softer melodic track, but the boys get dirty for the next forty seconds or so before coming back around into the clean chorus. I Prevail then proceed to get absolutely filthy, with a very chunky riff and Eric getting in touch with the devil for some loooowww screams. ‘Closure‘ is the slow melodic song I thought ‘The Negative‘ was going to be. This is a big rock ballad with themes around ending relationships, so I’m sure many listeners will relate to this one. The song ain’t all slow and melodic though, as I Prevail shred through a fast-paced, heavy-ish bridge with Eric Vanlerberge screaming “We build it just to break it, Love it just to hate it, All the time I wasted on you, You know that it’s over”.
I Prevail revisit those nu-metal vibes for ‘Visceral‘ and hit me with some nostalgia with a very ‘Lying From You’ Linkin Park-inspired riff. Excuse the unimaginative adjective, but Eric Vanlerberge serves up some utterly visceral vocals straight off the bat. The band then sink into a monstrous groove that will have heads banging. Brian Burkheiser gives it his all for the chorus with some soaring vocal melodies that will live rent-free in your brain. The second verse has some very cool back and forth between isolated drums and vocals and the guitar riff. The Godzilla-sized closing breakdown will have mosh pits exploding as Eric Vanlerberge screams “I AM VISCERAL”. Album closer ‘Doomed‘ has the band slow it right down as Brian Burkheiser soothes listeners’ ears with some soft vocals over a melodic piano. There are some heavily layered vocals during the chorus that help it to stand out against the verses. The song closes with the vocal line “until the music stops” which is a little cringe if I’m being honest.
In my humble opinion, True Power sees the lads in I Prevail take everything they did on Trauma and dial it up to 11. The boys took their already diverse influences and added in a few more, while still maintaining a cohesive sound that is unmistakeably, I Prevail. I wouldn’t be surprised if the band start filling stadiums and then shake the foundations with some of the groovy riffs, anthemic chorus’ and crushing breakdowns that feature on this album.
I Prevail – True Power tracklisting:
2. There’s Fear In Letting Go
3. Body Bag
5. Bad Things
7. Judgement Day
9. Deep End
10. Long Live The King
12. The Negative
True Power is released August 19th via Fearless Records. Pre-order here
Review by Anthony Santoro