Michigan’s I Prevail was formed just under 3 years ago and has already made themselves a household name. How? They released a phenomenal cover of Taylor Swift’s hit single, “Blank Space,” that found it’s way to mainstream radio and skyrocketed them to success. It wasn’t long until Fearless Records took notice, launching their debut EP, Heart Vs. Mind a little over a year after their formation to their newfound, widely-receptive audience. Now, with their feet off the ground, they seek to follow that trend by spreading their wings in the form of their debut, full-length Lifelines, which promises to raise the bar for the Hard Rock/Post-Hardcore genres. The band has enough energy to fill an arena and plenty to say, but is it enough to cater to their rabid fanbase?
The album opens up with lead single, “Scars” which is a perfect fit for mainstream radio, further propelling them towards an otherwise, near-unreachable audience. “Scars” can best be described as a pop-rock song with a sharp edge, a powerful message and the ability to easily get stuck in your head. Focusing on the differences that society shuns us for, it teaches you that you should wear your scars proudly. The video shows a number of people, with different afflictions, all wearing masks to show that society wants us to be a certain way. One by one, they stand up to those who put them down, take off the mask and find the confidence in themselves to show society who they really are. In the end, all you’ve got is what you leave behind so, if you live your life under the guise of what society says you should be, you’re doing yourself and the world an injustice. Take off your mask, show your scars… show the world that you’re proud of what makes you different!
The album’s 2nd single can be summed up by its title, “Stuck In Your Head.” I hear a lot of A Day to Remember influence in this track, above all. A break-up song with a twist, this track really will do its title justice. Clean vocalist Brian Burkheiser channels his inner-Jeremy McKinnon in terms of vocal style and even tone. While there are some very noticeable differences between the two, you’ll likely draw the same conclusion. Aside from the two ballad-like tracks that the album contains, I would venture to call this the safest song on the album, in terms of the way they approached things. They wanted a song that would get stuck in the audience’s head, while simultaneously delivering a message that, even though you’re hurting… that person will feel karma’s wrath (in this instance, via a song on the radio.)
During the first few songs on the album, you don’t hear much of harsh vocalist Eric Vanlerberghe but make no mistake about it, he makes his presence known throughout the rest of the album. Guitarist Steve Menoian leads him in, starting with “Come and Get It,” one of the most nu-metal influenced tracks on the album, in terms of how they approached the arrangement. His delivery is impeccable, making his powerful presence felt with every line he screams. Menoian really shines throughout the album, as well. While I wouldn’t necessarily call the riffs on this album original (as most of them aren’t, these days), again.. it’s the delivery that is to be envied here. One of the most emotional tracks on the album, “Alone.” really shows how well the band can tap into the emotions of the listener. While this album is anything conceptual, each track does follow the same theme: Things that break a person down, causing them to feel unwanted and how music can be used as a healing method. The late, great Mitch Lucker said it best “Keep listening to music, it gets you through everything. I promise.” Lifelines is an example of just how true what that is. The album, as a whole, has a beautiful flow to it. It doesn’t feel like just a collection of songs, or a few singles, it feels like a true, cohesive unit. Each track has a specific spot on the album, for a specific reason and changing that order would bring chaos to the beauty they’ve created.
Lifelines is the exact album that I Prevail needed to show the world what they’ve got. It’s full of aggression, angst and explosive energy that will get you off your feet from the first listen to the 100th. It’s typically true that the singles on an album give you an idea of what to expect but, in the case of Lifelines, this is just untrue. While it gives you an inkling of what you might expect, there’s far more to dig into on October 21st. Pick up your copy of Lifelines, out this Friday on Fearless Records and remind yourself why music is consistently a great healing mechanism.
“Scars” (Official Music Video)
“Stuck In Your Head” (Official Music Video)
I Prevail is:
Brian Burkheiser – Clean Vocals
Eric Vanlerberghe – Harsh Vocals
Steve Menoian – Lead Guitar
Lee Runestad – Drums