Monthly Archives: July 2013

King Kobra-II

KK2

 

Boy does King Kobra have an interesting history. Formed by legendary drummer Carmine Appice and four peroxided L.A. unknowns, their debut Ready To Strike was tremendous with hits “Hunger” and “Ready To Strike”. Then came the second album Thrill Of A Lifetime. Granted it did have bad-ass album art and a big hit in “Iron Eagle (Never Say Die)”. However the rest of the album was very synth heavy and shed any resemblance to the hard rock from their debut. Plus it had “Home Street Home”, the first rap-rock song EVER and it is atrocious. I mean absolutely horrendous. I m ean old people using slang to sound hip bad. The band was done and the revolving door opened. The big shock was when singer Mark Free announced he was having sexual reassignment surgery and became Marci Free.

 

Yowzers.

 

Times being what the were, Carmine got the original band back together and reportedly offered Marci the position of singer again. She turned it down so they got Paul Shortino, ex-Rough Cutt and Quiet Riot to man the mic. They put out King Kobra last year and it was pretty good. Shortino’s blues based vocals suited the bands’ new stripped down direction.

 

On their newest release II, odd since this is their 5 studio album but whatever, King Kobra maintains the back to basics approach. It starts off with “Hell On Wheels” a great fist pumper that really sets the tone. What is surprising about this track is that it is over 6-minutes long but does not get old. A lot of this album defies rationale. The second track “Knock Em Dead” is in theory a very cliché track but it is done so well that you can’t help but like it.

 

Same can be said of the ballad “Take Me Back”. It is not something we haven’t heard before but its sincerity is off the charts and really propels the track. There’s also a couple of real nice poppier tracks in “The Crunch” and “We Go Round” to lighten the mood a bit.

 

You have to give King Kobra a lot of credit. They could have done the easy thing and put out albums of re-recorded material or a “covers” album but they buckled down and have made a good album in King Kobra and a great album with II. Very rare that a band is able to remake themselves and release a career defining album in their 25th year.

 

Kudos.

 

 

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

 

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

 

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

 

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

 

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

 

$0-Not worth the drive space

 

 

 

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Trouble-The Distortion Field

TDF

 

Trouble has always been one of those bands that not a lot of people know of, but those that do LOVE them. My introduction to them was their classic 1990 self-titled release. Their Sabbath inspired sludge instantly hooked me. What ended up setting them apart from other bands was singer Eric Wagner. He has a distinctive high pitched style that elevated their sludgy sound from their contemporaries.

 

However, like every other band Trouble has had a revolving door of band members. The core sound courtesy of guitarists Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell are still here. Wagner’s on again off again relationship with the band is in the off position. Replacing him is Kyle Thomas, formerly of thrash band Exhorder, who had replaced Wagner before but never recorded with the band.

 

Although it may be unfair, the success of The Distortion Field rests on the vocals chords of Thomas. The band did not go for a Wagner clone as Thomas has a much gruffer sound. The music is still the same awesomeness though. For those that have not heard the band before, Franklin and Wartell have a very distinctive style. While still sludgy, many times the songs have a bounce to them. The second track “Paranoia Conspiracy” is the perfect example of this. Thomas’ voice seems to work when he can get in that groove. Same thing can be said for “Sink or Swim”, these are two of the best tracks on The Distortion Field. They really crank up the Sabbath influence on “One Life” and “Hand Of Doom”. Two crunchers that make you forget all about Wagner.

 

There are a couple of times that Thomas’s voice turns a song into just a typical metal song. “Glass of Lies” could have been recorded by a hundred bands. Then there is “One Life”, a curious yet out of place ballad. Plus, Thomas sounds like Mike Howe from Metal Church here.

 

The first time I listened to The Distortion Field, I really did not like it. Maybe it was my loyalty to Eric Wagner or maybe this is one of those albums you have to give a couple spins to. I think the more you listen to the music you will adjust to Thomas’ voice. Either way, Trouble did a good job in retaining their core sound while adding a new flair with Kyle Thomas.

 

 

 

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

 

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

 

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon purchase

 

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on a MP3 sale

 

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

 

$0-Not worth the drive space

 

 

 

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