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King Kobra - 2011 King Kobra

ARTIST: King Kobra
ALBUM: King Kobra
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2011


LINEUP: Paul Shortino - vocals * Mick Sweda - guitars * David Michael Phillips - guitars * Johnny Rod - bass * Carmine Appice - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Rock This House * 02 Turn Up The Good * 03 Live Forever * 04 Tear Down The Walls * 05 This Is How We Roll * 06 Midnight Woman * 07 We Got A Fever * 08 Top Of The World * 09 You Make It Easy * 10 Cryin' Turns To Rain * 11 Screamin' For More * 12 Fade Away



It's fair to say in the scheme of things, 2001's 'Hollywood Trash' release might as well have never existed, such was the albums failure in every regard imaginable. This hasn't stopped Carmine Appice from taking another shot at hard rock glory and this time at least he has reformed four fifths of King Kobra's most successful lineup. This time Paul Shortino is on vocals, a pretty predictable choice, not to mention reliable, such is Shortino's journeyman status. Wisely Appice also returns to the bands original sound, one that made them near-contenders an eternity ago in the mid 80's. That doesn't guarantee success, but it doesn't hurt either.

The Songs
The thing that jumped out at me immediately is the songtitles. Opening with 'Rock This House' you'd think it was still 1986 and MTV was beckoning for these dudes. It's an anthem straight from that era and melodic to boot, with a ton of energy. This would have been a good inclusion on the unfairly maligned 'King Kobra III'. The band then urges us to 'Turn Up The Good Times' with some typical party rock and lyrics about getting wasted on Saturday night. It's all been heard before but KK make it work simply because this is a veteran act who've been through this routine endless times. I could do without the forced sub AOR ballad 'Live Forever', far more appealing is the 80's blast of 'Tear Down the Walls', a track direct from 1984. This blatant anthem would have been considered a classic then and it should be now. The guitar tone here is excellent, a real throwback. The frenetic 'This Is How We Roll' moves with heaviness and purpose while 'Midnight Woman' builds up into a fine hook. A few raunchy riffs aren't out of the question, 'We Got A Fever' capturing the essence of the bands ancient debut with some style before the bombardment continues with 'Top Of The World' and some impressive AOR shadings. Cracks appear with the tepid ballad 'Crying Turns To Rain', which has some 90's acoustic work, making me cringe at the prospect. On the heavier end of the scale is 'Screamin' For More' but things are soured again by another ballad, 'Fade Away', which is hardly an appetizing way to end a decent album.

In Summary
Ballads aside this is a worthy comeback by the band and not as pointless as I expected. Marcie Free isn't really missed thanks to the ubiquitously excellent Shortino, who rarely disappoints. Musically the band is on top of their game and if you didn't know otherwise it still might be 1985. Far more listenable than the latest Whitesnake, this is a glaring example of how to go back in time and succeed. Not forcing it is the key and this sounds genuine.

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#1 | MUSCLE on April 23 2011 05:05:02
top bloody notch i say. dig those hand claps in 'rock this house'. put on your oversized aviator shades and get down dude.cheerleader
#2 | Jez on July 20 2011 12:03:43
No Mark Free on here, so minus points straigh away, although Paul Shortino does a good enough job in filling his shoes. 'Thrill Of A Lifetime' is still their crowning glory, albeit a flawed one (majorly in places), so if you are expecting 'TOAL' part 2, then go elsewhere, as this new one is in no way, shape, or form, up to the standards of some of the songs off that. There are some good moments featured, 'Live Forever' and 'Fade Away' are particular highlights but too many average ones.
#3 | sabace on July 22 2014 20:03:24
great lp

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