Artist: King Kobra II
Album: King Kobra
Reviewer: Taylor Carlson
Date: Jun 30, 2014


II is the second album from the Paul Shortino-fronted version of King Kobra. It was released by Frontiers Records in 2013.

In the mid 80s, King Kobra came on to the music scene, showing enormous musical potential but never quite reaching the commercial breakthrough they should have. The group was comprised initially of vocalist Mark Free, bassist Johnny Rod (WASP), guitarist Mick Sweda (Bulletboys), guitarist David Henzerling (Lizzy Borden), and founding member/drummer Carmine Appice (Cactus, Blue Murder.) The band released three albums before disbanding, with the members going on to pursue other projects. A semi-reunion occurred some years later but did not last long.

A few years back, all of the classic lineup members (sans Mark Free) reunited, recruiting new vocalist Paul Shortino, famed for his role in bands like Quiet Riot and Rough Cutt. Out of nowhere, the group recorded and released their first album under this new lineup, a self-titled album, which was released in 2011. Eyes were on the newly reunited band, with a music video shoot occurring in the Fall of 2012, and the record finally hitting stores in 2013.

I have been a huge fan of the band,since the 2011 album, even though in retrospect it does seem a bit uneven and rough around the edges. But that is part of any band going through changes and re-establishing themselves. Shortino is definitely the steady vocalist this band needs, the proverbial guy who could sing the phone book and make it sound good. If the first album was a test to see what directions the band could go in, and to see what they were capable of, the second record should be the one that shows they are here to stay.That is how it has ended up working out?

Fortunately, the new King Kobra record, II, ends up being a blast from start to finish. It is a more focused, tighter record than the Shortino-fronted debut from two years back (which I believed to be a solid release in its own right.) There are a lot of great songs here, covering multiple bases, making this a solid, diverse hard rock release. The song that has everyone talking to start with is Have a Good Time, for which the band filmed a music video at Vamp'd last year, with tons of guest appearances and the like (a quick YouTube search should bring up the video.) The song itself is an ode to Vamp'd, which has become the Vegas Valley's ultimate rock and roll venue over the course of the past several years. This track features several guest vocalists, including Ron Keel and Danny, the Count Koker, owner of Vamp'd and star of the History Channel TV series, Counting Cars. It's a fun, bluesy hard rock song that no fan of these musicians will be disappointed in.

But you are probably left wondering is the rest of the album any good? There are a ton of excellent tracks on here, definitely something for everyone. The six-minute starting track, Hell on Wheels, is a hard, heavy, fast song that will grab your attention right from the get-go, making it a damn fine way to kick this record off. The hard and heavy stuff continues into the second track, Knock em Dead, which has quickly become another personal favorite. The Ballad of Johnny Rod is a hilarious tune about a fictional situation in which the band's bassist is locked up. Take Me Back is an obligatory ballad, but Paul Shortino's vocals prevent it from being just another ballad. Tracks like When the Hammer Swings Down and Running Wild keep the hard and heavy stuff coming, and are sure to please hard rock fans.

The rest of the album is no less impressive. The Crunch is a great half ballad of sorts, and Deep River proves to be an interesting seven-minute-plus musical experiment, featuring extended bluesy jam interludes. album is solid throughout.
In the end, this latest offering from King Kobra is definitely one of their finest. After the first album, it is clear the band is more comfortable working together and more knowledgeable about what they are capable of together as musicians. For any fan of classic hard rock, it is easy to recommend.


8 Votes

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