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Articles Home » 1988 Articles » King Kobra - 1988 III
King Kobra - 1988 III

ARTIST: King Kobra
ALBUM: King Kobra III
LABEL: Music For Nations
YEAR: 1988


LINEUP: Johnny Edwards - vocals * David Michael Phillips - guitars * Jeff Northrup - guitars * Larry Hart - bass * Carmine Appice - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Mean Street Machine * 02 Take It Off * 03 Walls Of Silence * 04 Legends Never Die * 05 Redline * 06 Burning In Her Fire * 07 Perfect Crime * 08 It's My Life * 09 #1


1986's 'Thrill Of A Lifetime' was deemed such a failure by King Kobra's label Capitol that they were dropped. It had failed to live up to the promise (and sales) of 1985's debut 'Ready To Strike' apparently, even though it was good American rock radio AOR (it was excellent.. Ed). In turn Mick Sweda took off to join The Bulletboys, Johnny Rod hooked up with W.A.S.P and Mark Free would later join the sensational but ultimately doomed Signal. This left Carmine Appice and David Michael Phillips to pick up the pieces and they did this by enlsiting ex Montrose man Johnny Edwards (who had sung on Montrose's 1987 dud 'Mean' album), Northrup (previously with Steffanie) and Hart. The only label to show interest was British indy Music For Nations and the band were duly signed. King Kobra would go on to record the best of the three real KK albums, a blistering set encompassing metal, hard rock and AOR.

The Songs
Quickly dispelling notions that they had gone soft, Kobra blast through 'Mean Street Machine' in a speed metal blur. The accusations of pandering to radio must have affected leader Appice. 'Take It Off' has Mark Free's name on the credits, and is the ultimate strippers anthem. Very suggestive stuff with the proverbial 'raunchy' riffs, and is miles ahead of Motley Crues 'Girls, Girls, Girls'. 'Legends Never Die' is Kobra's version of a Gene Simmons song that first appeared on Wendy O Williams 'W.O.W.' album of 1984. So does 'It's My Life' another Simmons written tune, which Kobra run through also. Fans of this genre surely were familiar with these two tracks already, so their inclusion must have been considered filler. 'Redline' is another heavy riff fest, played at fulll speed and metal enough to blow away Megadeth and Metallica in 1988. Vicious riffing and very prominent drum work give it the muscle to attain this status. 'Burning In Her Fire' and 'Perfect Crime' move in AOR circles with some neat melodies and perfect vocals from the excellent Edwards. 'III' still has more crunch than 'Thrill Of A Lifetime' however, the AOR aspect is still present, but not as pronounced, as the musical backing is harder, giving it an edge.

In Summary
Predictably the album failed also and KK soon called it a day. To their credit all three of their 80's albums were memorable in their own right, although I consider this to be the most well rounded. Unwisely Appice resurrected KK in 2001 and recorded a new set, 'Hollywood Trash', which reputedly is just that. While that album probably deserves to be forgotten, 'KK III' does not. It stands as one of the best hard rock albums of the late 80's, but thanks to snob historians, will never be acknowledged.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on July 02 2008 09:15:45
I used to own the album Johnny Edwards recorded with Buster Brown. An interesting curio, but not the most essential of records to have.
#2 | dangerzone on September 07 2010 00:28:20
Interesting to note that 'Mean Street Machine' was written in 1980 by an embryonic version of Icon named the Schoolboys. Their version might be heavier than this one.
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