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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Cobra - 1983 First Strike
Cobra - 1983 First Strike

ALBUM: First Strike
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 2008, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY042


LINEUP: Jimi Jamison - vocals * Armand (Mandy) Meyer - guitars * Jack Holder - guitars * Tommy Keiser - bass * Jeff Klaven - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Blood On Your Money * 02 Only You Can Rock Me * 03 Travellin' Man * 04 I've Been A Fool Before * 05 First Strike * 06 Danger Zone * 07 Looking At You * 08 Fallen Angel * 09 What Love Is * 10 Thorn In Your Flesh

A near supergroup this one, when you subsequently see the names involved with this one-off project. Though the band were based in Memphis, the personnel were split between the USA and Switzerland. Jamison was well known in town, due to his work with D Beaver and Combinations plus A&M signings Target. Released on the Epic label, Cobra (who first started out as the commonly and appallingly named Dragon) were somewhat overshadowed by other big name acts of that era, namely REO Speedwagon, Kansas, Cheap Trick, Molly Hatchet, and Boston, who by this stage had gone into hiatus. There were a few new acts on the Epic roster which made a slight impact, namely Florida's Stranger and the Nikki Buzz fronted outfit Vendetta, but it was this album 'First Strike' which struck an immediate chord with me. Producer Tom Allom had the job of twiddling the dials and he comes up trumps on most tracks. Fans of melodic US hard rock will pull this album to pieces because it reeks of every cliche thinkable, but the class is obviously there. The sound on the album is a glorious amalgam which sees cross references to Def Leppard, Rainbow, Kiss, Night Ranger and the Doug Lubahn fronted outfit Riff Raff.

The Songs
The material is forever listenable, apart from well worn song titles. Melodic riffing on 'Blood On Your Money' is topped off by a lead break straight from Leppard's 'Rock Brigade', while 'Only You Can Rock Me' and the title track 'First Strike' could fit admirably on any good (and I mean good) Kiss album. 'I've Been A Fool Before' is a slow burner, similar in style to a brooding Night Ranger and the atmospheric class of Riff Raff, while the ballad 'Looking At You' simply kills with sweetness and emotion, being fuelled by some biting guitar at the end and subtle keyboard touches. 'Danger Zone' pulses along nicely, rounded out by a Blackmore-esque solo from Meyer.

In Summary
A good image and good sound, but the band literally sunk like a stone. Success took off for the members on other projects subsequently. Jimi Jamison being the major success story for his work in Survivor, though Mandy Meyer has been moderately successful with stints in Asia (appeared on the fabuloso 'Astra' album), Katmandu and Gotthard, while Jeff Klaven later appeared with another Swiss band Krokus.

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#1 | vinyldinosaurus on February 08 2008 20:45:22
Picked this up on vinyl ($3.99) today based on this review. Look forward to checking it out!
#2 | gdazegod on February 08 2008 23:15:09
I've just slapped the video up from this album.. 'Blood On Your Money'..
#3 | jefflynnefan on February 09 2008 04:49:39
Just watched the video! It sounded great. You know if you didn't know it was Jimi on vocals you might think he was another singer.
#4 | jeffrey343 on February 11 2008 02:36:38
This is another one that I had on a cassette that my buddy made for me for many years. I finally got the CD (for $35) a little over a year ago. One of the best CDs in my collection.
#5 | Jez on June 13 2008 08:52:36
Have always found this to be a really good, solid MR album. 'Travelin' Man' was one of my favourites for a long time when this was released and a lot of the other tracks I really like aswell, especially 'I've Been A Fool', 'Looking At You', 'Fallen Angel' & 'What Love Is' . Jimi Jamison is excellent on this aswell.
#6 | rostoned on November 03 2008 19:25:30
I have a live in the studio recording of the band circa 1982, taped in Memphis, TN. There are 5 tracks on it which don't appear on their debut album: 'Let The Thunder Roll', 'Love Is A Winner', 'Wheels Of Fire', 'Midnight Machine' and 'Ocean Of Love'.
It's a shame that due to SonyBMG wicked and odd policies they will NOT appear on the forthcoming Rock Candy deluxe CD reissue as there's great stuff among these, where 'Ocean Of Love' sees Jimi Jamison at his best Paul Rodgers impersonification Angry

See this site's own forum instead for a... delicious link Smile
#7 | sabace on September 02 2010 13:50:35
I love this lp, jamison could sing the phone book and make it sound good . excellent songs, great performances and all backed by superb production from tom allom
#8 | gdazegod on September 02 2010 15:00:55
The guy in the video running around as the baddie looks like Alan Fitzgerald from Nightranger/Gamma..!
#9 | george_the_jack on September 03 2010 13:16:34
''Travellin' man'' was written by Jamison/Mandy Meyer. Gotthard did a cover of it 10 years later in their 'Dial Hard' album.An absoloutely fantastic cover in case someone hasn't checked it yet.I guess Meyer's contribution was the biggest there, as Meyer has been a Gotthard member for several years.Seemingly, he brought the song with him when joined Gotthard
#10 | DIGITAL on October 31 2010 12:20:15
Fantastic hard rock album jimi jamison's finest hour in my opinion he comes over like a cross between david coverdale and paul rodgers firing on all cylinders, the songs are all grade A stuff with plenty of muscle and finesse one of the best hard rock albums of all time, high praise but deserved hear it and believe it.
#11 | Schonschenker on December 01 2011 16:03:03
Great to see Rock Candy do it up for this album along
with most of the Survivor titles.
Target featuring Jimi Jamison would be another album
featuring Jimi that would look nice on Rock Candy's lineup.
#12 | super80boy on October 01 2016 15:28:01
Cobra's lone effort is packed full of sturdy melodic hard rockers. On Side One there's the killer guitar led scorchers 'Blood On Your Money' and title song. 'Travelin' Man' is also no slouch. Side Two's lead off 'Danger Zone' is by the numbers however it's full of catchy riffing and choruses, a movie soundtrack worthy cut all the way. 'Fallen Angel' is yet another top drawer song, one of four songs called out on my LP's hype sticker. Obviously Epic didn't put the marketing and promotion calories into this group/album like they should have, probably would have paid off for both parties if they had chosen that path, even for this one album..oh well..
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