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Friday, June 3, 2011

King Kobra - King Kobra album review

King Kobra – King Kobra album review
Released on: Frontiers Records. Release Date: Available now.

You know, yes, I'm going to give you a similar line, to what you've heard before, but thanks to so many of these bands from the 80's reuniting and recording new material. You know what else? It makes me conscious that I never did get into the band when they were at their peak, way back, but King Kobra are back now, with new material and a self titled new album

Opening with ‘Rock This House,’ wow, is it the 80’s all over again?!
I must say this is classic big hair rock / metal stuff, kind of Van Halen like, as so many acts were influenced by, but then King Kobra had their own sound and with Carmine Appice on drums, you knew it was powerful.

Paul Shortino (Ex-Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot) is now in the lead vocalist slot, for original Kobra vocalist Mark Free who is now Marcie Free, who fronts Unruly Child these days.
There is a down side here though, for me the production and mix really doesn’t sound that great, disappointing.
Don’t know if it’s just my copy of the recordings, but throughout the album there are a lot of places where it has that fading in and out phasing type effect.
On ‘Turn Up The Good Times’ Paul almost sings the song in a Spin Doctors like fashion and whether it's how Carmine always likes to play slightly off time here and there, I don’t know. This track seems to drift a little for me and again, sound quality overall is again a letdown.
There’s something about the vibe in ‘Live Forever’ that I really like, whichcould be the tracks’ borderline power ballad type feel or not, I don’t know. Again, it’s really riding that 80’s sound that is once again so popular, so I guess they're going with the flow here.
On ‘Tear Down The Walls,’ Shortino almost reminds me of Eddie Money initially and again the song’s really not too bad at all, although the chorus is the big chant style approach, if perhaps a little off. Steady style rocker.
‘This is How We Roll,’ is a hard rocking sleazy number ala Motley Crue and the and I don’t know if the band ‘added’ a live audience ‘drop in’ at start and finish or whether they did record it live?

I have to say, there’s a very clichéd presentation here overall and I guess you can’t blame the band, as so many 80’s / 90’s band of this ilk are reforming now and many of them are releasing material that’s very similar to where they left off, not having got into King Kobra back in their heyday, I cannot compare, so I’m really just telling it how it sounds here.

‘Midnight Woman’ is very much just like that, ‘Sheeeee’s Myyyyy Midnight Woman ...,’ is right there on that path.
‘We’ve Got a Fever’ is aain another strong chorus driven song and indeed many here are, but I feel it’s lacking a certain something.
Next up we have ‘Top of the World,’ which is a steady rocker, big chorus of course, but verse wise, it doesn’t seem to grab me.
Carmine Appice said, “This album captures all the great points we had in the 80's, but better. The music is more traditional King Kobra music. Great lyrics, kick ass songs with cool hooks and really good playing. A really great hard rock/metal record with lots of energy”

Well, he’s certainly spot on with the choruses, can’t argue that and Paul Shortino, often sounds like he’s very close to hitting stuff in a similar fashion to many vocalists. I hear hints of Steve Perry, Dave Meniketti, and Eric Martin too, the aforementioned Eddie Money and even Stephen Pearcy as well too here and there.
‘You Make it Easy,’ and he’s really trying a Steve Perry approach and it’s commendable, but Perry he’s not! It’s a slow to mid paced pop rocker, big choruses there too and I haven’t mentioned it before, but there’s really nice brief acoustic guitar here and also throughout the album, both David Michael-Philips and Mick Sweda on Guitars, both are good players for sure.
The album hits power ballad territory with ‘Cryin’ Turns To Rain.’ Next and it’s OK and Journey like at times but it doesn’t really grab me.
Carmice leads into the very Van Halen’esque ‘Screamin’ For More’ perhaps a runner up to ‘Hot For Teacher.’
Hear it and you’ll know what I mean!
How apt that the final track is titled ‘Fade Away.’ It drifts up and down in its tempo, but you can hear it wants to be a power ballad, but it’s almost like the players couldn’t make up there mind where they wanted to take this, as at times the guitars are aching to rock out!
So overall, a little disappointing and that’s not down to Paul Shortino, where I’ve drawn the various comparisons, as that’s one of the better points at times. The production / mix for me needs to be redone or could certainly use some help and during the verses, it’s like it was missing something, I can’t quite nail, but an OK album.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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