Tag Archives: carmine appice

Rated X-Rated X


The other project featuring an Appice in it is Rated X. This group has Carmine Appice on the drumstool. He has been in so many bands that it’s probably easier to name who he hasn’t been in. He is best know for Vanilla Fudge, Rod Stewart, and King Kobra. The singer for Rated X is Joe Lynn Turner who fronted Rainbow during the MTV days. Rounding out the quartet is Tony Franklin the fretless bass maestro from Blue Murder and The Firm and guitarist Karl Cochran.

There are a lot similarities between Rated X and the other Appice project WAMI. Both singers have sung with Yngwie and Rainbow. Both bassist have played with Carmine in Blue Murder. And oddly, the least know of each group is the guitar player. However the big difference is that Cochran and Joe Lynn Turner have been playing together for awhile. Unfortunately Karl suffered a stroke midway through recording so Nikolo Kotzev of Brazen Abbot filled in for him.

Rated X offers up some classic sounding hard rock that sounds fittingly like a cross between Rainbow and Blue Murder. What makes this group standout from the others is that the familiarity between the members gives it more of a band feel and less of a studio one. The album kicks off with “Get Back My Crown” and “This Is Who I Am” and seems like a fitting declaration for a group of guys trying to reclaim their spot in the game. The keys on it really adds to the Rainbow feel. They’re also evident on “Fire & Ice” with it’s big chorus and bigger organ. (Don’t laugh, I’m talking about the musical instrument.)

The Blue Murder pedigree shines through on several tracks too. Some of it comes from Tony Franklin’s signature fretless bass sound. “Lhasa” has the same big epic song feel to it as “Valley Of The Kings”. Then there just some straight up rockers in “Devil In Disguise” and “Piece Of Mind” where Rated X is making there own statement.

To be fair there are a coupe of stinkers. “You Are The Music” reeks of “we need a ballad here” thinking. “Maybe Tonight” is a bland soft rocker. It almost seems that if they slow down it falls apart but they do a great job on “Our Love Is Over”. It’s a nice ballad that really shows off Karl’s playing. There is also an acoustic version that is just Joe Lynn and a piano and it is beautiful. It’s amazing to hear his voice still sounding that good.

What makes Rated X so much better than all the other project bands is that they seem to want to be a band. The extensive demoing and work they did before recording is evident. The cohesiveness comes through the speakers and the band has made an album worthy of their collective legacies.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

$5.00-but it as a used CD

$1.00-streaming it on Spotify

$0-Not worth the drive space

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King Kobra-II



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.




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.





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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