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The latest King Kobra record from 2011 was self titled. An album called III was released in the late eighties and now they release II. Confusing? Not at all, considering that what they now present is their fifth studio album.
II shows rather varied hard rock highly inspired by the seventies and with some strong elements of the eighties. An album fairly based on founder Carmine Appice's drums, some boogie and blues vibes and rock 'n' roll. The pretty basic production from Henzerling a.k.a. Michael-Philips and the co-production from Appice and Shortino is well suited to fit this somewhat retro approach. Although I, in my personal opinion, would have preferred a stronger force to heat things up and the audio quality could in fact have been slightly better.
I'm not a fan of their attempts to play speedier sections. Most of those parts feel factitious and constrained, even if one of the best tracks on the album, the opener Hell On Wheels falls into that category. Contradictory, although true to me. Definitely not being patronizing here, but this also feels like the result of older musicians trying and failing to create younger men's music.
Occasionally the actual sound of the guitars is all but pleasurable. I sometimes wonder what they were thinking of regarding the settings on those parts during the recordings. Perhaps I'm out in deep water with that statement, but all I can do is write what me ears tell me to. Other listeners may naturally see this differently. Something pleasant on the contrary is Paul Shortino's vocal performance. It's good as always and his notes are accurate and he's a force to reckon with.
I presume this record will not sell particularly many copies, nor will it have any impact in the world of hard rock. It's not that interesting or glorious and the fans who once listened to King Kobra did it mostly because of the band's huge eigthies hit Iron Eagle (Never Say Die). The major part of those so called fans probably have no idea that the band is reactivated either. 4 chalices to a decent record.
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