Wednesday, September 18, 2013
KING KOBRA: "II"
Label: Frontiers 2013
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
II? Considering that III came out in 1988 - we're all a little bit lost, dazed and confused. It's a darn right fine and dirty little melodic guitar blues album though and it's like if it's been tailor-made to fit the mighty fine vocals by Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot). They have truly captured the feel of your favorite U.S. cult rock band 'ala Montrose, while at the same time delivering something that Rough Cutt and King Kobra could have recorded back in the days - if not for the radio-orientated pop/rock/AOR sound of the original second KK album. Are they simply trying to erase their past?
Gone on this album are most of the references to AOR and enter nicely crafted songs with rich guitar tones by Mick Sweda and D.M.K. David Henzerling aka David Michael-Philips has also been playing around with a similar sound on the Tunnel project. It's clearly not as catchy as their eighties material perhaps with the exception of the two tracks, "Take Me Back" and "Got It Comin". They are both radio friendly numbers in the U.S. Whitesnake tradition and style.
Opening four numbers, "Hell On Wheels", "Knock 'Em Dead", "Have A Good Time", "The Ballad Of Johnny Rod", are all fun guitar rock. Stepsidding any current musical trends and fashion, "II" rises phoenix like (massive bird in flames?) from the otherwise bleak hardrock year of 2013 and takes you on a back-to-the-future journey through bluesy melodic guitar rock. Don't go thinking it's hardcore R&B though (duh!), since it's more towards the blues inspired guitar rock of Tesla, David Lee Roth (Van Halen) and KK's own "III" album. Do however not expect it to be your "Thrill Of A Lifetime" (pun intended), rather than a fine guitar blues cruise.