King Kobra – II

King Kobra - II

Released on July 5, 2013 (Frontiers)

Track List:
01. Hell On Wheels
02. Knock ‘Em Dead
03. Have A Good Time
04. The Ballad Of Johnny Rod
05. Take Me Back
06. When The Hammer Comes Down
07. Running Wild
08. Got It Comin’
09. The Crunch
10. Deep River
11. Don’t Keep Me Waiting
12. We Go Round

Band Members:
Paul Shortino – vocals
David Michael-Philips – guitar, keyboards and vocals
Mick Sweda – guitar
Johnny Rod – bass
Carmine Appice – drums, percussion and vocals

Additional Musicians:
Michael Voss – guitar (5)
Ron Keel – vocals (3)
Danny Koker – vocals (3)
Frank DiMino – vocals (3)
Pete Loran – vocals (3)
Robert Mason – vocals (5)
Carol-Lynn Liddle – vocals (3,5,10)
Samina Oshun – vocals (5,10)

Produced by David Henzerling.
Co-produced by Carmine Appice and Paul Shortino.
Mixed by Michael Voss.

In this day and age, how often does a band from the ’80s reform to release the strongest record of their career — and then follow it up with a bigger and more grandiloquent effort? It’s a rarity, but you can add King Kobra to the short list of bands that have been able to pull off that incredible feat.

In 2010, drummer Carmine Appice, bassist Johnny Rod, and guitarists David ‘Michael-Philips’ Henzerling and Mick Sweda reformed King Kobra with a new singer. It wasn’t just ‘any’ singer they recruited, it was former Rough Cutt and Quiet Riot frontman Paul Shortino — and the result was magical. The relaunched King Kobra issued their self-titled album in 2011 and received raves reviews worldwide, even making an appearance on the Sleaze Roxx Top 10. King Kobra raised the bar, so when it came time to write and record the follow-up they had their work cut out for them.

The newly released, and appropriately titled, II is a continuation of where the last record left off. With huge choruses, infectious hooks, stellar melodies, monster drumming, and blazing guitar solos, II is a throwback to the glory days of ’80s hard rock. The music reflects the band members’ influences that spans blues to melodic hard rock to swing to metal — you name it, it’s in there. King Kobra have the formula on how to write, record and produce consistently good music — they truly have put their contemporaries that have ‘reunited’ to shame.

The current King Kobra line-up bite back hard on this second effort with the driving “Hell On Wheels”, the burly “Knock ‘Em Dead”, the fun “Have A Good Time”, “The Ballad Of Johnny Rod”, which tells the tale of the man who says ‘quack’, the rocker “When The Hammer Comes Down”, the ultra catchy power-pop ballad “Got It Comin'”, the bluesy and soulful “Deep River”, and their nod to AOR with “We Go Round” which closes out the album and finds Shortino channeling Steve Perry.

There isn’t a bad moment on II. The question here is, can this incarnation of King Kobra ‘strike’ for a third time?

Reviewed by Ruben Mosqueda for Sleaze Roxx, June 2013

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