After gaining notoriety with their 2014 cover of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space,” I Prevail made it clear early on that they’re not your typical metalcore band. This follow-up to 2016's debut LP Lifelines pushes the extremes of their sound further, often within the same song: Witness “DOA,” an amalgam of crushing riffing, pop production techniques, and wild synths. “Goodbye” floats on skittering electronic beats, and “Rise Above It” incorporates dubstep and guest vocals from Ohio hip-hop artist Justin Stone, contrasting with the thundering riffing, brutal metalcore breakdowns, and tortured vocals of co-vocalist Eric Vanlerberghe in “Bow Down.” TRAUMA is aptly named given that Brian Burkheiser, who handles all the “clean” vocals, was diagnosed with a vocal polyp in 2017 and contemplated leaving the band before mounting a full recovery from surgery. The episode compounded his existing battles with depression, as essayed in songs such as “Low” (“Even when I’m high I still feel low”) and “Breaking Down,” which concludes with Burkheiser whispering, “I don’t really like myself.”

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