There is nothing quite like listening to a band that has finally nailed their sound. Back in 2016 I Prevail released a debut album that had the world talking. Flash forward to 2019 and they are no longer the band that ‘might’ they are the band that ‘have.’ Their new album Trauma reveals a band that has the maturity that allows them to shift between genres with ease, it also reveals a band that can write from their own hearts in such a way that their lyrics will tug at the heart strings of their fans in a way that is rare these days.
Opening track ‘Bow Down’ hits with real force – not only instrumentally but with brutal screams from Eric Vanlerberghe that then marry perfectly to the more melodic styling of Brian Burkheiser. The fact they are delivering thought provoking lyrics like ‘would you go to war, die for us?’ make it even more special and you instantly know that you are onto something good with Trauma.
The multi-layered vocals also play a part on ‘Paranoid’ and bring a real schizophrenic feel to the track while ‘Every Time You Leave’ is one of the heartfelt tracks that is much slower. The acoustic parts of the track showcase the melody even more and once again reveal a band that seems much more mature than a band delivering their second album.
I Prevail’s diversity takes another step in the right direction with a rap part in ‘Rise Above It’ while ‘Breaking Down’ will totally creep you out with a slowed down piano section covered with whispers of ‘I don’t really like myself.’ It comes from such a dark sentiment but somehow ends up being one of the most beautiful tracks on the album.
That mellow feeling on the album is then temporarily washed away as the brutal ‘DOA’ takes over. From music that juts in and out at will to screaming guitars from Steve Menoian and Dylan Bowman this track is confronting in every single sense of the word and take the album to a whole new level. The album then stays at that intensity with the manic and full on ‘Gasoline’ that continues to scream “Burn it all down.”
Things slow down briefly with the electronic and mellow ‘Hurricane’ that then finds its brutal side as well. It is then followed by one of the highlights of the album – the thought-provoking ‘Let Me Be Sad’ which conjures up memories of Eminem’s ‘Cleaning Out My Closet.’ The really personal side of the lyrics returns with ‘Low’ and ‘Goodbye’ two deeply emotional tracks that really draw the listener into the songwriter’s pain. The two sides of the album are then on show for all to hear with the brutal and aggressive ‘Deadweight’ before a track that feels like a cry for help – the softer ‘I Don’t Belong Here’ closes out the album.
As I have already mentioned Trauma feels like an album that a band would deliver nearly a decade into their career. The fact that I Prevail have dropped such a genre changing masterpiece so early in their career shows that this is a band that we thankfully will have around for a great many years to come. Look no further people this is one of the albums of 2019 – it is aggressive, beautiful and very, very personal.