With founding member and drummer Carmine Appice leading the way, King Kobra made their come back in 2011 with a self-titled sixth album. It was a solid hard rock effort proving that, even after 25 years, King Kobra could still deliver the goods. They're back with the follow up, titled II, a seventh album actually; confused yet? Don't be. The larger question is whether this album has the same strength as the previous one.
After a spin or two, my initial answer is 'yes and no' or 'maybe;' it's definitely one of annoying ambivalence. I could even say it's different than the previous album, but that doesn't say enough wither. II is still classic hard rock, straight Eighties stuff, maybe even a step back into late Seventies on some tunes. One thing that seems pumped up is the blues aspect as on Deep River or Have a Good Time, by example.
While the album is definitely fluid, following that blues hard rock vein, there's a certain curious detachment between songs. I guess that's what makes it different: the songs are varied and then interesting. But I'm probably over thinking this thing.
Fundamentally, there are some really good rockers here. The best include Have a Good Time, Hell on Wheels, Running Wild, The Crunch, and the infectious and catchy Knock Them Dead, such a great chorus. They should cut a video for this song. King Kobra gives you two pseudo-ballads with the soulful reminiscing of Take Me Back and the milder AOR melodic rock of Got It Coming, with singer hoping to recover his lost love. Perhaps the most curious song here is The Ballad of Johnny Rod (an ode to or by the bass player, I suppose) which mimics some guitar licks from ZZ To,p ala La Grange, and turns on a real rock boogie groove.
So in the end, to answer the question: Is II as good as it's predecessor? Dodging the question, I'll simply say I liked it and if you liked the previous album then, by all means, get this one. You won't be disappointed.
King Kobra returns with some more solid and entertaining melodic hard rock, perhaps pumping up the blues angle a little more. Recommended.
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