Southfield, Michigan’s I Prevail are a bit of a buzz band at the moment, which, if I’m being completely honest, deterred me from listening to them. But in the end I was only letting myself down because these guys have the chops to prove their worth and they show you why on their latest release Trauma.
Busting straight out of the gates with opening track Bow Down, I Prevail waste no time in showing off their metalcore mastery with a crushing guitar riff and the high-class venom-spitting of co-vocalist Eric Vanlerberghe declaring you should “Get on your knees and BOW DOWN!” It’s a standard metalcore track from start to finish but it’s played with such finesse that you’d think these guys have been at it for more than the 6 years they’ve been together.
Next up is the softer, more beat-driven offering of third single Paranoid. The drums and electronic elements drive the music while clean vocalist Brian Burkheiser sings hauntingly about the trials and tribulations of poor mental health. The pre-chorus break down is reminiscent of an dark EDM track but quickly bursts at the seams with a powerful sing along chorus more akin to the likes of Linkin Park. In fact, the musical diversity on the album sounds like it takes the best parts of the aforementioned band and oh, let’s say metalcores prodigal sons The Amity Affliction, and blends them into the perfect mix of heavy music with sensible, radio-friendly songwriting.
This is most apparent on the ballad-y number Every Time You Leave which features EDM songstress Delaney Jane in a beautiful he says/she says track that deals with the pain of missing a loved one, The lyrics throughout Trauma are honest and easily relatable and delivered with such passion and conviction that it’s quite apparent these guys have been through a lot of the pain and suffering that they sing about. Lyrically, there’s a song on this album for everyone who has experienced some sort of pain in their life. From the woes of self-loathing and paranoia discussed on Breaking Down to the aggressive, fuck-the-world attitude of the punishing Gasoline, there’s bound to be at least one moment that makes put your fist in the air and nod your head in agreement.
There’s not a single track that doesn’t stand out here either. The soft/heavy juxtaposition of Hurricane makes you want to sing your heart out before jumping around the room banging your head while the wistful tunes of Let Me Be Sad will have you sitting quietly and thinking deeply about past regrets. I Prevail are hit-makers, that’s for damn sure and it’s easy to see why they are so hyped at the moment. The music is exciting and energetic and even with the dark lyrical content you don’t leave feeling depressed; rather you have a sense of hope and camaraderie in knowing that you are not alone.
A short piano interlude, fittingly titled Goodbye (Interlude) opens up the back-end of the album and provides a soothing gateway into the brutal second-to-last song Deadweight, one of the heaviest cuts on offer here. With a full on metal verse that dives perfectly into yet another sing along of a chorus, the band once again prove they are worth their weight before simmering out on closer I Don’t Belong Here, a melancholy, semi-acoustic tune that brings this emotional rollercoaster to a nice, smooth stop.
If you are anything like me and have written these guys off as an over-hyped band, do yourself a favour and check this album out. You may juts be pleasantly surprised.
I Prevail - Trauma is out now through Caroline Australia/Fearless Records
I Prevail - Paranoid (Official Music Video)