I Prevail – Lifelines
Release date: 21st October 2016
Review by: Sam Sweeney
It’s with thanks only to Michigan post-hardcore newcomers I Prevail that Taylor Swift gets a mention in a music publication with the nature such as that of HEAVY; their cover of Swift’s Blank Space has racked up over 20 million YouTube views and has left listeners worldwide eagerly anticipating the band’s debut release. Lifelines will be the first album from the promising young band and with its succinct combination of essential post-hardcore elements, heavy riffs and catchy vocals, it exceeds expectations.
Lifelines opens with the album’s first single, Scars, which is an explosive, heavy introduction to the record. The melodic clean vocals of Brian Burkheiser are perfectly complimented by Eric Vanlerberghe’s powerful screams, driven forward by solid rhythmic elements. The second single from the album, Stuck In Your Head, follows and is a track that will (ironically) be stuck in your head. With distinctively more poppy riffs and vocal hooks. the energy is maintained with ease from the previous track, setting the album up to be the collective of energy which it unarguably turns out to be.
Title track Lifelines follows, reintroducing the heavier vocals and rhythms suffused throughout the album, effectively preparing listeners for the tracks that follow. Come and Get It, Rise and Already Dead deliver the aggressive energy essential to any good post-hardcore album; the breakdowns in Come and Get It will inevitably lend themselves to live performance incredibly well, while the appropriately bitter messages of Already Dead give the album a new level of depth. “I swear if I could bring you back to life, I’d kill you again,” speaks for itself, really.
Leaving the aggression behind, I Prevail incorporate a few slower tracks towards the end of the album. What seems to be a common feature of the post-hardcore album, it works favourably for I Prevail; Burkheiser’s vocals paired with a simple acoustic melody deliver an emotional ballad unlike anything else on the album in My Heart I Surrender, in what is a clear demonstration of the band’s confidence within themselves to explore different sounds and styles. Alone follows similarly; a stripped back rhythm with well thought out melodies, compliment Burkheiser’s vocals in place of the unclean vocals in heavier tracks.
There is very little criticism to be had for Lifelines. Despite a few songs seeming slightly bare in places, such as Chaos, these tracks always redeem themselves through tight choruses and breakdowns. Predominantly described as a post-hardcore band, I Prevail’s experimentation with pop-punk elements, while potentially uninteresting to some, is a significant marker of the band’s versatility. Lifelines is an exceptional debut album and suggests an extremely promising future for I Prevail, who are without a doubt worth keeping an eye on.