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King Kobra Thrill of a Lifetime (remastered 2017)

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King Kobra
Thrill of a Lifetime
Collector’s Edition Remastered & Reloaded
Rock Candy Records, 2017

Everything that King Kobra did right on their debut, they did wrong on their follow-up, at least for the first half of the record. Capitol Records pressured them for a more radio-friendly sound, claiming the debut was too heavy. Carmine Appice and the band acquiesced to the label’s demands and delivered Thrill of a Lifetime in 1986, an album half-filled with lackluster, synthesizer-heavy pop rock songs.

The first five songs, including the Russ Ballard-penned “Dream On,” are easily skippable. Even the theme song for the awesome Iron Eagle movie, if divorced from the movie, is a ho-hum AOR affair. The song is good when considered alongside other movie anthems of the 1980s, but when measured up against King Kobra’s own material, especially the first album, it falls short. Of course, the label decided to release “Dream On” and “Iron Eagle (Never Say Die)” as singles.

Guitarist David Michael-Philips revealed that eighty percent of the record was recorded using drum machines, despite Appice’s reputation “as one of the best drummers in the world.” Appice was only “fully involved” on three songs: “Raise Your Hands to Rock,” “Party Animal,” and “This Raging Fire,” which was only included on the record as it was released in France, and is not included on this remastered version.

“Home Street Home” is an interesting rock/rap hybrid, and is a fun listen, but doesn’t hold up very well over the past thirty years. “Overnight Sensation,” despite using the drum machine, is more of a rocker and would have fit in well on Ready To Strike. “Raise Your Hands to Rock” and “Party Animal” are also hard rockers that help the album finish strong. A bonus track, “Home Street Home (Street Mix)” is also included, and again is interesting but does not add much to the final product.

The remastered compact disc comes with a 16-page booklet, featuring a 4000-word essay on the recording of the album and the demise of the original King Kobra after Thrill of a Lifetime was released.

Tracklist
1. Second Time Around
2. Dream On
3. Feel the Heat
4. Thrill of a Lifetime
5. Only the Strong Will Survive
6. Iron Eagle (Never Say Die)
7. Home Street Home
8. Overnight Sensation
9. Raise Your Hands to Rock
10. Party Animal
11. Home Street Home (Street Mix) [bonus track]

King Kobra
Mark Free (lead & backing vocals)
David Michael-Philips (lead & rhythm guitar/backing vocals/guitar synthesizer)
Mick Sweda (lead & rhythm guitar/backing vocals/guitar synthesizer)
Johnny Rod (bass guitar/backing vocals)
Carmine Appice (drums/electric & acoustic percussion/backing vocals)

Purchase King Kobra’s Thrill of a Lifetime Collector’s Edition Remastered & Reloaded.

King Kobra Ready To Strike (remastered, 2017)

King Kobra

King Kobra
Ready To Strike
Collector’s Edition Remastered & Reloaded
Rock Candy Records, 2017

Capitol Records initially released King Kobra’s debut album, Ready To Strike, in 1985. Dark-haired drummer extraordinaire Carmine Appice recruited a handful of blonde musicians to join him after he was fired from Ozzy Osbourne’s band. He liked the appearance of Mötley Crüe, with one blonde-haired and three dark-haired members, and wanted to do the opposite with his band. Spencer Proffer, the producer of Quiet Riot’s Metal Health, produced King Kobra’s debut album at his Pasha Music House.

The record is full of hard rockers, from the title track to the ear-wormy “Breakin’ Out.” The only single released from the album was “Hunger,” a song written by Kick Axe and later recorded by them and released on The Transformers: The Movie soundtrack under the name Spectre General. Before King Kobra was fully formed, the song was shopped to Black Sabbath as well, when Ron Keel was auditioning for the band. That fell through, and so did a Sabbath version of “Hunger.” King Kobra also recorded another song written by Kick Axe, “Piece of the Rock,” at the urging of Proffer.

This remastered compact disc by Rock Candy Records comes with a 16-page booklet, complete with a newly-written 4000-word essay by Malcolm Dome which recounts the formation of the band and the recording of the album, along with the difficulties King Kobra had with the record label and the lack of promotion from Capitol Records. Also included in the booklet are several full-color photographs of the band, both promotional shots as well as concert photos.

King Kobra’s debut album is right up your alley if you enjoy bands like Ratt and early Mötley Crüe. After just a few listens, you’ll be raisin’ your fists to the power chords and singing along to this long-overlooked band.

Tracklist
1. Ready to Strike
2. Hunger
3. Shadow Rider
4. Shake Up
5. Attention
6. Breakin’ out
7. Tough Guys
8. Dancing with Desire
9. Second Thoughts
10. Piece of the Rock

King Kobra is:
Mark Free (lead & backing vocals)
David Michael-Philips (lead & rhythm guitar/backing vocals/guitar synthesizer)
Mick Sweda (lead & rhythm guitar/backing vocals/guitar synthesizer)
Johnny Rod (bass guitar/backing vocals)
Carmine Appice (drums/electric & acoustic percussion/backing vocals)

Purchase King Kobra’s Ready To Strike Collector’s Edition Remastered & Reloaded.

King Kobra’s classic first two releases set for reissue

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During the 1980s the music scene was exploding with an abundance of great rock bands—including multi-platinum sellers such as Mötley Crüe, Quiet Riot, and RATT—but there was always room for talented new contenders. For King Kobra this was an invitation to launch onto a landscape that was primed for killer hard rock, enormous sales, and unlimited airplay.

It comes as no surprise then, that respected re-issue label Rock Candy Records has turned a spotlight on their first two classic albums, Ready To Strike and Thrill Of A Lifetime. Both titles are set to be reissued on February 10th having been fully remastered with enhanced 16-page booklets featuring rare photos, new interviews, and a 4,000 word essay penned by Malcolm Dome.

Formed in California in 1984, by seasoned drummer Carmine Appice (Cactus, Beck Bogart & Appice, Ozzy Osbourne) and featuring vocalist Mark Free (Unruly Child), guitarists John Michael Philips & Mick Sweda (Bulletboys) and bassist Johnny Rod (WASP), the band won instant attention for their unique look—four blondes and one brunette. Produced by Spencer Proffer (Quiet Riot, WASP, Cheap Trick) and signed to Capitol Records, the band’s debut album, originally issued in 1985, won them the attention of fans and critics alike by delivering one of the year’s best records. Tracks such as “Hunger,” “Tough Guys,” “Piece Of The Rock,” and the title track itself are pivotal examples of some of the best mid 80’s hard rock.

Thrill Of A Lifetime, their sophomore album, originally issued in 1986, saw the band shift gear, modernizing their sound and focusing on more accessible songs, perhaps modeled on the chart success of artists like Bon Jovi and Cinderella. The material was spearheaded by the hugely infectious “Iron Eagle (Never Say Die),” a track that was included on the hit movie Iron Eagle. Elsewhere there’s “Feel The Heat,” “Raise Your Hands To Rock,” and “Dream On” for further proof of their hard rocking credentials.

READY TO STRIKE TRACKLISTING:
1. Ready to Strike
2. Hunger
3. Shadow Rider
4. Shake up
5. Attention
6. Breakin’ Out
7. Tough Guys
8. Danching with Desire
9. Second Thoughts
10. Piece of the Rock

THRILL OF A LIFETIME TRACKLISTING:
1. Second Time Around
2. Dream On
3. Feel the Heat
4. Thrill of a Lifetime
5. Only the Strong Will Survive
6. Iron Eagle (Never Say Die)
7. Home Street Home
8. Overnight Sensation
9. Raise Your Hands to Rock
10. Part Animal
11. Home Sweet Home (Street Mix) [bonus track]

For more information, please visit rockcandyrecords.com.

Purchase Ready To Strike and Thrill of a Lifetime by King Kobra.

Top 50 Hair Metal Songs: #42 – King Kobra “Iron Eagle (Never Say Die)”

Underrated band, underrated movie, but a killer theme song! I picked up the movie on DVD for about a buck a couple of years ago, and it is still every bit as good today as it was in 1986. King Kobra has now teamed up with Paul Shortino on vocals and just released a great new record last year.

Other songs considered: “Hunger,” “Breakin’ Out”

Purchase King Kobra music.

New video from @kingkobrarocks

I recently reviewed the new King Kobra album for Hard Rock Nights. It’s a phenomenal record that is faithful to the 1980s hard rock sound, so if you’re into that, you need to grab it.

One of the weakest songs on the record is featured in their first video. “Turn Up The Good Times” is not a bad song, but there are much better. Here’s the video:

If you kinda like that song, then you need to listen to some others on the album…you’ll probably love it.

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