Tag Archives: frontier records

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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Trixter-New Audio Machine

My initial reaction to the thought of a new Trixter CD coming out is essentially the same to the one for Battleship The Movie.

Really?

It has been a decade since the band last did a studio album. And that one wasn’t a chart burner by any means. Nonetheless the boys from New Jersey have just released New Audio Machine. The album starts of dubiously with “Drag Me Down”, a cookie cutter blues rocker that evoked all those crappy songs that tried to dirty up the blues just because Cinderella had some success on their third album with it. Thankfully after that everything else it mostly uphill. “Get On It” follows and shows off what made this style of music popular. Catchy hooks and gang vocals that just reels the listener in. While “Machine” and “Dirty Love” may be formulaic it doesn’t make them less enjoyable.

The first single, and video, is “Tattoos & Misery” probably the best song off the album. A rollicking recollection of regret that everyone should relate to. Assuming that Jack Daniels, auto theft, and arson

are a regular occurrence in your love life.

Another treat is “Save Your Soul” a song about rockin’ and I have long lamented that there are not nearly enough songs about rockin’. When I was a kid it seemed like every band had a least one song per album about it.

There are the a couple of power ballads on here but they are more soft rock than the what is on Monster Ballads. “Coolest Thing” is reminiscent of Beggars & Thieves who put out one of the best albums of last year.

To put it bluntly, New Audio Machine is a shockingly good collection of catchy hard rock numbers. The band could have made a quick cash grab by putting out an album of re-recorded songs plus covers. Instead they created an album they can truly be proud of. Credit should also be given to Frontiers Records whom seem to unearth bands lost in shuffle and breath new live into them.

Final Rating

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

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Beggars and Thieves-We Are The Brokenhearted

If you’re like me, you have a vague remembrance of Beggars & Thieves. They were the band that bassist Phil Soussan joined after leaving Ozzy. The glut of comparable acts along with a horrible cover sent Beggars & Thieves to the delete bin. The band never called it quits and have been making albums since. Their latest, We Are The Brokenhearted shows that maybe we missed out the first time around.

The avenue that helped lead Beggars & Thieves to re-recognition was a post on Blabbermouth featuring the video for “We Come Undone”. It was noteworthy because the video featured the reclusive guitarist Jake E. Lee. While curiosity may have caused people to push play, the song is what kept people til the end. It is a very catchy AOR track that is tailor made for a soundtrack. Ironically it has an uplifting lyrical theme which seems in contrast with the rest of the album.

The remainder of Brokenhearted maintains its’ AOR roots but has a dark/melancholy feel to it. Not that it is goth or alternative, it just has the different feel to it. It’s immediately noticeable on track #2 “Oil & Water”. Normally it would be a paint by number power ballad but here it contains so much more emotion. Having a near 6-minute running time also helps distinguish it.

The rest of the album is as strong as the opening two offerings. From rockers like “Beautiful Losers” and “Seven Seconds” to softer fare of “Stranded”.

You have to give credit to singer Louie Merlino and guitarist Ronnie Mancuso for trudging along and never quitting. Their hard work is evident with this terrific album so hopefully it pays off for them.

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