(Album Review) “Trauma” by I PREVAIL

This Friday, March 29, the much-anticipated sophomore album from I Prevail titled Trauma will be released via Fearless Records!  I Prevail exploded onto the rock scene through a release covering Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” and maintained that momentum through the release of their debut full-length album titled Lifelines in 2016 and have now sustained that energy through the early-2019 release of Trauma.  The album is appropriately named as it’s virtually a musical diary of the trials and tribulations of “clean vocalist” Brian Burkheiser.  For those who don’t know, Brian suffered through a vocal injury that put his professional future in serious doubt. He pondered leaving the band and his life became full of serious stress and anxiety.  Through the help of his bandmates and producer Tyler Smith, Brian not only pulled through but helped put this monumental album together. The rest of the band is composed of “harsh vocalist” Eric Vanlerberghe, lead guitarist Steve Menoian, and rhythm guitarist Dylan Bowman.

Fans of I Prevail will instantly recognize the band’s sound on the opening track “Bow Down.”  Burkheiser and Vanlerberghe compliment each other very well as they powerfully belt out the lyrics of the song and instantly pull the listener in.  This song are composed of the raw power fans are accustomed to! This song is the rebellious outcry from the band aimed right at their critics and anyone who may have doubted the ability of Burkheiser to fully recover from his physical and emotional pain.  This reinforced emphatically in the chorus with cries of “to everybody who doubted/get on your knees and bow down!”. This is a very powerful and appropriate opener for the album! Please check out the link for “Bow Down” below:

 

The second song of the album “Paranoid” quickly illustrates the evolution of sound I Prevail exhibits throughout this album.  The song possesses a softer, almost relaxed sound compared to I Prevail’s previous work, but upon listening to the lyrics it’s a darker cry for help.  “Something isn’t right/I feel it in my bones/Every time I look around it follows me home/I think I’m paranoid.” Man, this song is a great illustration of how one might feel when they know something isn’t right inside of them, but they struggle to identify what it is, why they feel it, and also unfortunately sometimes the sensation of shame that can accompany such feelings.  

Trauma, amongst its many strengths, has a very nice flow to it and the listener should recognize this as the album transitions through “Every Time You Leave” and “Rise Above It’ and arrives at the other initial single to be released off the album “Breaking Down”.  Thematically, this song is very similar to “Paranoid” in that it addresses the inner struggle a person who has experienced hardship may be going through. The powerful lyric here is “Lies; every time they ask me, I just tell them I’m fine.” Unfortunately, I think this is a situation most people can relate to.  This song is a masterpiece of capturing a human element we all struggle with. Please check out the official video for “Breaking Down” below:

Again, the band does a wonderful job of presenting their changing sound throughout the rest of the album.  I Prevail is one of the few bands that can fill an album with sounds of hard rock, rap rock, even metal at times,  with hip-hop and rap and yet it all sounds like them! It truly is their style. I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the song “Let Me Be Sad.”  To me, this song helps mark part of the breakthrough for Burkheiser. The song tells of the recognition of what a person may struggle with, but also the recognition that sometimes one needs to be alone, one needs to be allowed to simply feel sad for a little while, and then they can come back at their best.  This was the song that hooked me into this album and, hopefully, this will register as one of the hits off the album!

I give Trauma an 8/10, which translates to “very solid” on my personal rating scale.  Just from personal preference, I like the heavier sound of the Lifelines album but at the same time, I really appreciate this effort from I Prevail.  It’s a very personal account of a personal struggle that all listeners can relate to.

Please check out the track listing for Trauma below:

Track Listing:

  1. Bow Down
  2. Paranoid
  3. Every Time You Leave
  4. Rise Above It
  5. Breaking Down
  6. DOA
  7. Gasoline
  8. Hurricane
  9. Let Me Be Sad
  10. Low
  11. Goodbye
  12. Dead Weight
  13. I Don’t Belong Here

You can check out I Prevail live at the following locations on the following dates!  As you can see, the band has a very busy spring and summer lined up!

April 24 at Arvest Bank Theatre in Kansas City, MO

April 25 at the Diamond Ballroom in Oklahoma City, OK

April 27 at House of Blues Las Vegas in Las Vegas, NV (with Issues and Justin Stone)

April 28 at The Van Buren in Phoenix, AZ (with Issues and Justin Stone)

May 1 at McMenamins Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR (with Issues and Justin Stone)

May 2 at Showbox SoDo in Seattle, WA  (with Issues and Justin Stone)

May 4 at Revolution Concert House in Garden City, ID (with Issues and Justin Stone)

May 5 at Knitting Factory Concert House in Spokane, WA (with Justin Stone)

May 7 at The Complex in Salt Lake City, UT (with Issues and Justin Stone)

May 8 at the Shrine Auditorium in Billings, MT (with Issues and Justin Stone)

May 10 at Westfair Ampitheater in Council Bluffs, IA (with Sevendust, In This Moment, Halestorm, Through Fire, and Beasto Blanco)

May 11 at the Wave in Whichita, KS (with Justin Stone and Issues)

May 13 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO (with Issues, Animals as Leaders, and Justin Stone)

May 15 at House of Blues Dallas in Dallas, TX (with Issues and Justin Stone)

May 17 at House of Blues Houston in Houston, TX (with Issues and Justin Stone)

May 18 at Aztec Theatre in San Antonio, TX (with Issues and Justin Stone)

May 20 at The Pageant in St. Louis, MO (with Issues and Justin Stone)

May 21 House of Blues Chicago in Chicago, IL (with Issues and Justin Stone)

May 23 at Clyde Theatre in Fort Wayne, IN (with Issues and Justin Stone)

May 24 at The Fillmore Detroit in Detroit, MI (with Issues and Justin Stone)

June 11 at Kesselhaus in Berlin-Altglienicke, Germany (with Palisades)

June 17 at SWG3 Studio in Glasgow, United Kingdom (with Palisades)

June 18 O2 Ritz Manchester in Manchester, United Kingdom (with Palisades)

June 20 at The Electric Ballroom in London, United Kingdom (with Palisades)

July 11 at Harris Park in London, Canada

July 12 at The Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls, NY (with Issues and Justin Stone)

July 15 at Stage AE in Pittsburgh, PA (with Issues and Justin Stone)

July 16 at the Riverfront in Peoria, IL (with Issues and Justin Stone)

July 20 at Rockfest in Cadott, WI

July 22 at Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park, NY (with Issues and Justin Stone)

July 23 at The Paramount in Huntington, NY (with Issues and Justin Stone)

July 24 at Foundation Room at House of Blues in Boston, MA (with Issues and Justin Stone)

July 26 at Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, PA (with Issues and Justin Stone)

July 27 at The Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ (with Issues and Justin Stone)

July 28 at The Fillmore-Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA (with Issues and Justin Stone)

July 30 at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD (with Issues and Justin Stone)

July 31 The Underground–Fillmore in Charlotte, NC (with Issues and Justin Stone)

August 1 at the House of Blues Myrtle Beach in North Myrtle Beach, SC (with Issues and Justin Stone)

August 3 at House of Blues Orlando in Orlando, FL (with Issues and Justin Stone)

August 4 at Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta, GA (with Issues and Justin Stone)

August 5 at Marathon Music Works in Nashville, TN (with Issues and Justin Stone)

August 7 at The Apollo Theatre in Belvidere, IL (with Issues and Justin Stone)

August 8 at Egyptian Room at Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN (with Issues and Justin Stone)

August 9 at 20 Monroe Live in Grand Rapids, MI (with Issues and Justin Stone)

And lastly, you can use the following sites to keep up-to-date with the band:

http://iprevailband.com/

https://www.facebook.com/IPrevailBand/

https://twitter.com/iprevailband?lang=en

https://www.instagram.com/iprevailband/?hl=en

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