I will fully admit before we get into this review that I am completely biased towards I Prevail as I have seen them twice in concert and even interviewed Lee and Steve a few years ago. However, just because I like someone, that doesn’t mean that I can’t tear them a new asshole when needed. Just ask my friends, they’ll tell you (and yes I do have friends, despite what those mean kids that always hang out in front of 7-Eleven yell at me).
With that said, let’s move on to the music. I Prevail just released their brand new album TRAUMA (seriously with the fucking capital letters again?!). The 13 track album brings back the heavy rock and metal sound that longtime fans have come to expect from the American band.
Track 1: Bow Down
We start off with some faded echoing guitar that is creepy and haunting if nothing else. Then Eric comes in hard with his screaming vocals and your body is immediately filled with the soundwaves of unfiltered metal. I swear even if you have the volume turned down to the lowest setting you’ll still feel like he’s screaming directly into your soul. As good as Eric’s vocals are in this song, it’s when Brian comes in at the chorus that the song really jumps from good to great. It’s good rhythm, instrumentals, and vocals, that all come together to make a fantastic start to this album.
Track 2: Paranoid
We immediately dial back the intensity from a 15 to a 5 or 6 with this second track. Besides the chorus, you might actually forget that you’re supposed to be listening to a track from a heavy rock band. The vast majority of the song features Brian’s relaxed vocals paired with an instrumental that is very reminiscent of a Linkin Park track. Still a good track that has very nice transitions between the intense chorus and the laid back verses. It won’t have you rocking out, but it’s definitely enough to let you sit back and appreciate an objectively good song.
Track 3: Every Time You Leave (feat. Delaney Jane)
I’m trying to find something nice to say about this song and honestly, I’m struggling. The mechanics of the singing are pretty good. And… well, that’s it. This song just does not work in any sense of it. It very bland and just doesn’t seem to flow together as it should. Instead, it resembles something that has been forcefully mashed together like the musical equivalent of some kind of human centipede.
Track 4: Rise Above It (feat. Justin Stone)
You might hear the first minute of this song and think “there we go, this is more like it!” but keep listening and you’ll reach your “oh fuck…” moment around the 1 minute 10 second mark. It starts of so good with a nice mix of clean and unclean vocals and then transitions into an enjoyable anti-climatic pre-chorus, before launching into a confusing and awkward techno-rock hybrid of a chorus. You might think that you’re out of the woods once the chorus ends, but oh no, because that’s when Justin Stone (whoever the fuck that is) comes in with his awkward slow-rap that repeatedly fades in and out for some reason (which, if we’re taking votes, I vote that it stays faded out. All the way out). Unfortunately, the song never really recovers from that.
Track 5: Breaking Down
Okay we seem to be stuck in a rut that we can’t get out of now because this song is another example of something that just sounds awkward and out of place from start to finish. I am once again struggling to find anything good to say about this track, and the fact that they released it as the first single completely baffles me. I will give the video credit for shining a light on depression though (seriously, good job guys).
Track 6: DOA
Alright, we haven’t completely climbed out of the rut but we’re getting there. If the verses don’t win you over, which is very possible since they are passable at best, then I implore you to stick around for the chorus. Brian’s vocals and the intense guitar that follows it are more than worth it. Definitely a song that you wouldn’t mind listening to a few times before moving onto something else (which is more than can be said for half of the songs so far).
Track 7: Gasoline
Remember when I said that the second track sounded like a Lincoln Park song? Well they’ve taken this a step further with the verses of this 7th track. It sounds like a slightly heavier duplicate of Bleed It Out and might have actually ended up being a really good song if they kept replicating it throughout the entire song. However, they put in a chorus that dives headfirst into Eric’s screaming vocals and is almost over the top in how angry it sounds and how hard it tries to portray the “I don’t give a fuck” vibe (including actually saying those words at one point).
Track 8: Hurricane
In a weird turn of events, Eric’s screaming vocals are actually the most enjoyable portion of this song. When he takes over the song at the bridge, he gives us a break from the very meh performance of Brian’s vocals. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the verses or chorus of this song, they just never quite seem to find their stride.
Track 9: Let Me Be Sad
Maybe it’s just been too long since I’ve heard a truly great song, but this track is surprisingly good. With a title like Let Me Be Sad, I didn’t expect much from this track but it actually delivers on every area of the track. This slower track would have been very out of place with some screaming vocals, so I was a little worried when I heard Eric come in on the track. But he instead delivers a slow rap/rough vocals and does a really good job of it. I’ll give kudos where kudos is due. Good job guys, pretty solid track.
Track 10: Low
I don’t want to jinx it, but we might be out of the woods at this point in the album. This track now makes the second decent one in a row, so I’m hoping that means that the shittiness is behind us. There’s really nothing to point out in this song. Everything is done fairly well, with the verses where Brian’s vocals interject among Eric’s spoken vocals being by far the best part of the song.
Track 11: Goodbye [Interlude]
It’s very obvious that this song was never meant to be a big hit and is specifically created as a personal piece to the band. So something like this can’t really be judged since it was never made with the fans in mind. However, just to appease some of the vicious jackals that read this site expecting me to rip into an artist, I will say that at a surface level this song does not work very well. But I’ll give the band a pass on this one.
Track 12: Deadweight
Well there goes my hope of only good songs for the rest of the album. It isn’t that this song is inherently bad, it’s just that it seems to be very forgettable. It’s largely screaming vocals, with an adequate chorus of smooth vocals, and not much else worth noting. I’m sure there’s someone who likes this track, I’m just not that person.
Track 13: I Don’t Belong Here
This is a very appropriate way to end the album, on a very meh track. While the song involves some very heavy lyrics and a slow instrumental to go along with it, the track just never really develops legs to stand on. The entire track kind of feels like you’re waiting for it to get really good and then all of a sudden it slowly fades out and is over.
Overall, the album explores some very dark and serious topics of mental health, which explains its title. Unfortunately, as much as I want to love this album, it’s simply not that impressive. While some tracks provide a hang-banging good time, most of them are a very bland experience that is easily forgotten once the track ends. I give the album 3 out of 5 traumas.