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Articles Home » 1986 Articles » King Kobra - 1986 Thrill Of A Lifetime
King Kobra - 1986 Thrill Of A Lifetime

ARTIST: King Kobra
ALBUM: Thrill Of A Lifetime
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST-12473
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 2000, Axe Killer (France), 3057322 * 2017, Rock Candy Records, CANDY299


LINEUP: Mark Free - vocals * Mick Sweda - guitars * David Michael Philips - guitars * Johnny Rod - bass * Carmine Appice - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Second Time Around * 02 Dream On * 03 Feel The Heat * 04 Thrill Of A Lifetime * 05 Only The Strong Survive * 06 Iron Eagle (Never Say Die) * 07 Home Street Home * 08 Overnight Sensation * 09 Raise Your Hands To Rock * 10 Party Animal


King Kobra - armed with flash, dash, threads and peroxide bottles, came at us from the bowels of L.A to entertain us during the 1984-1988 timeframe. Formed by legendary drummer Carmine Appice, who had just come off a tour with Ozzy Osbourne, decided to form a new band using (then) unknown musicians at the time. Taking into account the MTV era that was building momentum, it could be seen that KK were more about image rather than the music. All the musicians other than Appice had a date with the hairdresser and died their hair blonde - so at least they had a point of difference. But what about the music? KK had their moments, and though the songwriting abilities of this quartet wasn't going to set the world on fire (it was the 80's after all!), it seemed like they had a bit of fun doing it. Their 1985 debut 'Ready To Strike' was a well-heeled slab of commercial L.A metal - though admittedly with a few rough edges around the sides. The following year, the band deserted their more 'metallic' side and went down the path trailblazed by Arizona band Icon - deciding instead to dabble in AOR. Hence 'Thrill Of A Lifetime' being the end result.

The Songs
I'll admit it, I enjoyed the majority of this album - bar one song. We'll deal with that one first. The rap/rock 'Home Sweet Home' is an absolute disaster. Yuck. Aside from that, everything else strikes a chord. The fantastic hard rockin' but melodic pairing of 'Overnight Sensation' and 'Raise Your Hands To Rock' demonstrate what his band were good at. The fact that they also squared the ledger with AOR oriented tunes such as the perfect opener 'Second Time Around', or the infectious chorusing heard on the title track 'Thrill Of A Lifetime' - which resembled John Parr's style of presentation also demonstrated what they were capable when the focus moved from metal to melody. Case in point - the fantastic AOR of 'Feel The Heat', or the Survivor like 'Iron Eagle', the tune that was best known from the movie of the same name. Both songs proving to me that KK knew what they were about - despite the record label and general listening public not having a clue.

In Summary
The sales for album this did not equate to much, and so as record labels do - Capitol ending up dumping KK on the sandy sidewalk. This version of the band would fold after this album, with Johnny Rod joining W.A.S.P the same year, Mick Sweda joining ex KK staffies Marq Torien and Lonnie Vincent in Bullet Boys ,and Mark Free moving onto other ventures. Though King Kobra put out one more album 'III' with a revamped line-up, Carmine Appice threw the towel in and decided to join John Sykes new project called Blue Murder. Over the years, various KK compilation CD's turned up, which showed just how much material this lot churned through back in the day. As for 'Thrill Of A Lifetime', this one saw a re-release on Axe Killer Records in the year 2000.. which begs the question - why don't Capitol Records get off their lazy backsides and release some of the back catalogue themselves? Rant over..

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#1 | reyno-roxx on March 29 2008 11:28:55
Mark Free was originally tapped for the Blue Murder gig as well. He rehearsed with them, but it didn't work out. Back to LA for Signal.....
#2 | sabace on March 29 2008 15:14:14
love this band, this lp was a bit lighter than the first lp, mark (marcie ) could sing the phone book!
#3 | Eric on March 29 2008 15:36:59
Lol! Agree Sabace, Free is an excellent vocalist although King Kobra never had great material to back it up IMHO. They did a bunch of gigs opening for Autograph in my area supporting the first record and I still regret not going- something of a dream bill...
#4 | jefflynnefan on March 29 2008 17:43:33
I remember staying clear of KK when they came out because of there looks. I just wasn't into the glam scene at all, men looking like women, was not for me. But back then I didn't know better in not to judge a book by it's cover. This is a definite classic and my favorite song is 'Feel The Heat'. I agree with you George on that rap song being so out of place on this cd! Mark Free is one of my favorite singers these days.
#5 | rostoned on March 31 2008 16:31:37
hey George look better and stop the melodic and pink press...this LP and KK first one have just been rereleased by Caroline in US in mini LP sleeve format CD, I guess it should be an official reissue licensed by Capitol/EMI. They are available on Amazon, didnt see them yet on ebay. No bonus tracks apparently and new liners....
#6 | hugobagger on May 22 2008 09:42:17
I saw King Kobra back in the 80's, just after the release of 'Trill...'. Mark (I prefer Mark instead of Marcie, he was better then), was an excellent singer in front of an excellent band. But they only did 2 good albums, the 2 first ones. 'III' isn't that good, not bad, but weaker than the other two. KK was shortlived, but welldone...
#7 | Jez on June 13 2008 11:21:44
Definately an album of two halves this one. The first 6 tracks on this are magnificent AOR of the very fluffy variety, with only the Russ Ballard cover of 'Dream On' not quite hitting the note - (Get Russ Ballard's 'The Fire Still Burns' for the definative version of this). Track 7 'Home Street Home' is apalling and the remainder are very average hard rock fare. If only they had carried on the quality after track 6 then we would be talking classic. Programme the cd player for the first half only
#8 | george_the_jack on June 24 2008 16:58:13
An admittedly charismatic singer apart from his sexual preferences...That's another story.If Mark would have made different choices and decisions for his life, would be worldwide known todays as a true Rock Star...
#9 | rostoned on August 03 2008 15:51:41
I prefer this one over thr previous RTS but it's a matter of personal taste being the two like cat and dog (= american metal vs AOR).
#10 | super80boy on May 25 2014 13:50:24
For making the 180 degree turn from their heavy metal roots to AOR melodic rock, these guys did a pretty good job here. Side B gets harder with some great melodic touches, but there's also that rap foray which is way out of place.
#11 | gdazegod on February 20 2017 19:35:32
Glad to see this on Rock Candy. Yay!
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