King Kobra - 'II'

 


THE BAND:
Paul Shortino - vocals
David Michael-Philps - (
original member) guitars/ keyboards, vocals
Carmine Appice - (
original member) drums, percussion, vocals
Mick Sweda- (
original member) guitars
Johnny Rod - (
original member) bass


TRACK FRAGMENTS:
1.) "Hell On Wheels" - This track opens with the ambient noise of a train followed by Carmine playing what I like to call a signature Carmine drum pattern. Over the top of Carmine's drum pattern Mick, David and Johnny are playing the same rhythm as the drum line. This not only shows there musical talent but how familiar each band member are with each other.  For the main musical intro, there is one hell of a mean rhythm guitar riff.  Underneath Paul's vocals of the verse Mick and Dave play very simple fill-in whole-note chords.  There is a rhythm change for the chorus.  Lyrically Paul wrote one Hell of a hook for the chorus.  There are lead vocal lines and backing vocals over the top of the breakdown.  After the breakdown, there is an awesome twin lead guitar solo.    

2.) "Knock 'Em Dead" - This track opens with a couple single rhythm guitar riffs.  Over the top of the main intro section there was a minor lead guitar solo.  The minor lead guitar solo connected the into with the musical verse. David and Mick used the same rhythm arrangement for the verse as the one for the intro.  Connecting the music arrangement between the musical verse with the musical pre-chorus over the top of the drum line Carmine overdubbed a woodblock rhythm.  There is a lead lick leading into the pre-chorus.  Scattered throughout the pre-chorus there are minor solos scattered throughout the pre-chorus.  The pre-chorus had a huge hook attached to it.  There is a very short solo connecting the first chorus with the second verse.  The way they arranged the second verse was amazing.  My God the lead guitar solo was amazing!!!!!!
3.) "Have A Good Time" - This track opens with a fairly simple Rock And Roll intro.  Over the top of the drum line Paul and a few of the other members hand clap the time.  Paul sings a few vocal accents over the top of the intro section.  It sounded like the guys used basically the same guitar rhythm for the musical verse as the one for the intro section.  There was a small rhythm change for the pre-chorus.  This rhythm change was more lead than rhythm guitar.  The guys wrote a great hook for the musical chorus.  Connecting the first chorus with the second verse there is a minor lead guitar solo.  There is a short musical rest leading into the second chorus.  For the second verse, each member sings one of the backing vocals.  This was a great songwriting idea and once and shows these guys have been around the block or two!  There is a minor lead guitar solo in between the third and fourth choruses.  After the fourth chorus there is a major lead guitar solo.  This solo was played by both guitarists.   
4.) "The Ballad Of Johnny Rod" -If you know the bassist Johnny Rod then this song is pretty self explanatory! OUACK!!!!!
5.) "Take Me Back" - This ballad opens with a set of wind chimes before an acoustic guitar kicks-in.  There was a small rhythm guitar change for the musical verse.  The band kicks-in for the musical chorus.  After the third chorus there is a minor electric lead guitar.  There are a couple lyric lines over the top of the major lead guitar solo.
6.) "When The Hammer Comes Down" - This track opens with a couple real strange guitar effects over the top of Carmine playing drum fills.  The main body of the intro opened with a Carmine signature drum rhythm.   After two measures of a Carmine drum rhythm the rhythm guitar kicks-in.  Over the top of the rhythm guitar one of the guitarist does some type of lead guitar effect with his guitar pick.  Paul sings several vocal accents over the top of the intro.  There also is a very short minor solo connecting the musical intro with the musical verse. The verse kind of had a syncopated feel to it.  There is no rhythm change for the musical chorus.  In the middle of the second verse there are several lead guitar scales. After the third chorus the lead guitar kicks-in.  At first it started off draggy then picked up as it went along. 
7.) "Running Wild" - This track opens with the ambient noise of a couple of birds.  The musical intro consisted of a Carmine snare fill and Johnny Rod bass line over the full band playing a rhythm that leads to a tiger's growl.  This rhythm is repeated twice.  A minor solo connects the musical intro with the musical verse.  It sounded as if both David and Mick played on the minor solo.  The musical verse had a very intense feel to it.  There are a few lead licks leading into the hook of the chorus.  After the first chorus there is a small lead guitar solo connecting the second verse.  After the second verse, the song basically repeats itself. The coda consisted of a huge Carmine drum fill. This track kicks back in with a snare fill, then a bass line, them a rhythm guitar arrangement.  The double guitar riff gives the intro a mean sound.  About two measures in there is a minor twin lead guitar solo.  The minor solos lead to the closing musical verse.  Underneath Paul's vocal line of the first verse there is a minor solo.
8.) "Got It Commin'" - This ballad shows the guys talent as musicians and songwriters!!!!
9.) "The Crunch" - This is a very simple cool song!!!
10.) "Deep River" - This song was very reminiscent to Paul Shortino's solo material.
11.) "Don't Keep Me Waiting" - This track opens with the full band playing a mean rhythm.  Over the top of the intro, there is a minor lead guitar solo.   There is a short drum fill connecting the intro with the musical verse.  The band used the same rhythm guitar arrangement for the musical verse as the one they used for the intro.  Underneath the second lyric line, there is a small lead guitar lick.  There is a rhythm change for the pre-chorus and chorus.  After the second chorus, there is a breakdown section.  This breakdown section leads to the twin lead guitar solo.  In many ways this track reminded me of classic Y&T.
12.) "We Go Around" - This was a classic modern King Kobra song!!!


     I was a self-taught drummer until I bought Carmine Apicce's 'Realistic Rock' book and video.  Reading his book along with the vinyl that comes with it and the DVD is how I really learned to play drums the right way!  In fact, when they opened for Kiss on Kiss's - 'Asylum' Tour I was there to see King Kobra.  Which b the way they stole the show!

     'II' is the second release from what I like to call the second coming of the eighties hard rockers King Kobra.  'II' includes all the original members of King Kobra except Marcie (Mark) Free who turned the band down and was replaced by legendary and I mean legendary vocalist Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, solo, many more).  My opinion in is this, of all the vocalist they know and could have hired they hired the best!!!
     So far, there has not been but a hand full of bands from the eighties reunite in the 2000's stronger and better than they were in the eighties.  You can add King Kobra to that list.

     'II' may be the most infectious CD I have ever heard in my life!!  This release is an absolute must by for all hard rock fans!!!