Of all of the ‘80s hard rockers to reunite and release new music, I would argue that King Kobra was one that came with low expectations. After all, despite some success with “Never Say Die (Iron Eagle)”, the band was decidedly second tier, even at the height of their fame. Well, the band’s classic lineup from their first two albums did get back together, along with vocalist Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot) and released a very good, solid rock album with 2011’s KING KOBRA.
Two years later and the band is back in even finer form, as II is actually superior to KING KOBRA. No big changes have been made to the band’s rough ‘n tumble hard rock, but there’s a greater sense of purpose to songs like band mission statement “Knock Them Dead” that eclipses the previous effort. As evidenced by the awesome bluesy rocker, “The Ballad of Johnny Rod”, no band that includes the still mega-blond bassist will can be considered tentative, but II just has a swagger that I didn’t expect. A lot of that can be attributed to Shortino’s worn & smoky vocals – the guy is excellent and should have been a mega-star.
Although the band does expand their repertoire with the Zeppelin-esque “Deep River”, it’s the party rockers that stick with me: “Hell on Wheels”, “Running Wild” and “The Crunch” should all be hits on the radio. Even though they won’t be, that’s no excuse for the album to be overlooked. II is an excellent rock album that is too much fun to be missed. Search it out!
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