CD Review: King Kobra / King Kobra
Reviewed by: Roger Scales
I always thought King Kobra’s Ready To Strike (1985) and Thrill of A Lifetime (1986) were two of the more underrated releases of the 1980’s. The brainchild of drummer Carmine Appice, King Kobra had heavy MTV rotation and toured with several of the decade’s greats including Kiss, Iron Maiden, Quiet Riot, Ted Nugent, Queensryche and Autograph. The albums (as well as the band) sort of came and went too quickly and just as the band started to gain momentum they broke up with each member moving on to some better known projects such as Blue Murder, The Bulletboys and WASP.
I was surprised to hear that the original band decided to get back together to write for a new record and opted to replace original vocalist Mark (now Marcie) Free with Paul Shortino. After listening to the new record all the way through I can honestly say that Paul makes the transformation from what could have been just another average reunion record of an 80’s act that barley made a splash (even in their heyday) and helped turn it into a real jem. The album could have been written and recorded in 1988 and stuck in a time capsule; I mean that with every degree of sincerity bleeding from my 80’s heart!!
Again give credit where credit is duem Frontiers label head Serafino Perugino knows what his target/hardcore audience likes and in return he demands a lot from the bands that he brings on board. From the opening riff of “Rock This House” to the closing notes of “Fade Away” listeners will be treated to what they would expect from King Kobra – memorable crunchy guitar riffs, tight harmonies, and gritty lead vocals from Paul. On the whole the CD sort of reminds of a combination of Rough Cutt and the Shortino era of Quiet Riot delivering good time, party, rock n’ roll with an attitude.
If I had to pick one song from this record that I would qualify as an A+, it would definitely be “Live Forever”. The song just flows perfect and really showcases the catchy chorus and hooky grooves this album will be remembered for. For all of you guitar enthusiasts “Midnight Woman” showcases some of the best chops from David Michael Philips and Mick Sweda combined. The album also has a few ballads for the romantic at heart with “Crying Turns To Rain” and “Fade Away” Neither gets too sappy either, in fact the vintage heartfelt Shortino vocal doesn’t lend itself to anything but a seasoned professional.
The one thing I always hated to read, and still do, about any band that has been dormant for a certain period of time is how they have “matured”. Does that mean get old and forget what your dedicated fans loved about you? Too many bands try and shift their focus and sound to gain “new fans” and a “younger audience”. I had a lot of fun listening to the new King Kobra album. Does it break any new musical ground? Nope. Does it try and change the signature sound King Kobra was known for back in the mid 80’s – stellar musicianship and memorable riffs? No..thankfully. I’m happy to say King Kobra has not matured at all, they just came back to say hello!! We missed you and a lot of other bands need to follow this simple formula of giving back to us what we loved about you to begin with.
For more on the band, visit them on MySpace