KING KOBRA – King Kobra [Deluxe Edition +2] (2021) *0dayrox Exclusive*
Deko Entertainment team up with Carmine Appice to release digital deluxe editions of two KING KOBRA albums, ‘Sweden Rock Live (Deluxe Edition)’, and this reissue of the band’s 2011 comeback self-titled album originally appeared via Frontiers Music.
“King Kobra [Deluxe Edition +2]” includes two studio bonus tracks, one of them written & recorded as a tribute to the great Ronnie James Dio.
For this album the band were back with the classic line-up, except Marcie Free, replaced by ex Rough Cutt & Quiet Riot Paul Shortino. Like fine wine, King Kobra has matured with age, delivering strong songs and a potent production sound.
From the start, this album is a rocker, and KK puts their best foot forward right from the gates. Opener “Rock This House” is a butt-kicking scorcher, really rocking the house. Welcome to the Eighties again!
When slithering on we notice that the second track called “Turn Up The Good Times” is another really good song worth mentioning when speaking on this album. A MTV-ready rocker with a distinct melody and powerful cobra-like vocals by Shortino, accompanied with massive guitars.
If I had to pick one song from this record that I would qualify as an A+, it would definitely be “Live Forever”. This is almost like a master class in how to write the perfect rockin’ AOR song, this track just flows and really showcases the catchy chorus and hooky grooves this album will be remembered for.
The rumbling “Tear Down The Walls” has a criminal riff that begs to be played with a couple of Marshalls behind you in an arena with the sun going down in the distance… Seriously, it’s great!
“This Is How We Roll” is a melting hardrocker with pounding percussion, it has the ‘anthem classic stamp’ written all over it. Very live feel on this one.
The steamy racy appeal of “Midnight Woman” may fill the heart of every hard rocking lady that still wears black today with blunted emotion, not to mention an addictive chorus to lead the way. For all of you guitar enthusiasts this track showcases some of the best chops from David Michael Philips and Mick Sweda combined.
The sexually charged, blues-latent, “We Got A Fever” finds KK getting sufficiently gritty, and nasty. The undeniable drumming of Appice’s on this catchy track flashes the blade nicely. They bust out again in the V8 charged rocker “Top Of The World” with its typically ’80s flanger-effect guitars and chorus.
One of my favorites has to be the humming chorus in the treacherous gem of “You Make It Easy”, where Shortino really shines with his raspy vocals.
The midtempo “Cryin’ Turns To Rain” is that kind of road-song we love, melodic and sing-along.
“Screamin’ For More” is pure a Roth-era Van Halen whoop it up barnburner with cheap lyrics but catchy as hell. Then “Fade Away” is a passionate ballad with acoustic guitars and room for Shortino’s vocal abilities.
The bonus “Red Flags” is very melodic hard rocker with an addictive refrain and a brilliant guitar solo, while ”Monsters And Heroes” is an emotive rocking track, the first composed & recorded by this King Kobra line up (but not included into the original release) as a tribute to the then just disappeared Ronnie Dio, patching in a few of Ronnie’s classic lyrics about wizards, dragons, sacred hearts and rainbows in the dark.
This King Kobra 2011 comeback album is nearly immaculate. Very good songs and great musicianship make this rockin’ album, and you can’t ignore the omnipresent enthusiasm. I can’t speak highly enough about Shortino as he had big shoes to fill because Free was (and still is) a great talent, but Paul gave 110% here.
Carmine Appice and Johnny Rod laid down the beats in simple, but solid fashion, but the unsung heroes here are Mick Sweda and David Michael Phillips (Henzerling) as they had not played together in some time and worked over style sounding like pros the whole time. They use restraint and guide the song as needed, but let loose with tasty riffs as needed too. Most reunions end up sour or mediocre, but chalk this up as a success.
On “King Kobra [Deluxe Edition +2]” listeners will be treated to what they would expect from classic KK – memorable crunchy guitar riffs, tight harmonies and awesome vocals.
01 – Rock This House
02 – Turn up the Good (Times)
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
13 – Red Flags
14 – Monsters And Heroes [Ronnie J. Dio tribute]