King Kobra - 1986 Thrill Of A Lifetime

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986


ARTIST: King Kobra
ALBUM: Thrill Of A Lifetime
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST-12473
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 2000, Axe Killer (France), 3057322 * 2017, Rock Candy Records, CANDY299


LINEUP: Mark Free - vocals * Mick Sweda - guitars * David Michael Philips - guitars * Johnny Rod - bass * Carmine Appice - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Second Time Around * 02 Dream On * 03 Feel The Heat * 04 Thrill Of A Lifetime * 05 Only The Strong Survive * 06 Iron Eagle (Never Say Die) * 07 Home Street Home * 08 Overnight Sensation * 09 Raise Your Hands To Rock * 10 Party Animal


King Kobra - armed with flash, dash, threads and peroxide bottles, came at us from the bowels of L.A to entertain us during the 1984-1988 timeframe.

Formed by legendary drummer Carmine Appice, who had just come off a tour with Ozzy Osbourne, decided to form a new band using (then) unknown musicians at the time.

Taking into account the MTV era that was building momentum, it could be seen that KK were more about image rather than the music. All the musicians other than Appice had a date with the hairdresser and died their hair blonde - so at least they had a point of difference. But what about the music?

KK had their moments, and though the songwriting abilities of this quartet wasn't going to set the world on fire (it was the 80's after all!), it seemed like they had a bit of fun doing it.

Their 1985 debut 'Ready To Strike' was a well-heeled slab of commercial L.A metal - though admittedly with a few rough edges around the sides.

The following year, the band deserted their more 'metallic' side and went down the path trailblazed by Arizona band Icon - deciding instead to dabble in AOR. Hence 'Thrill Of A Lifetime' being the end result.

The Songs

I'll admit it, I enjoyed the majority of this album - bar one song. We'll deal with that one first.

The rap/rock 'Home Sweet Home' is an absolute disaster. Yuck. Aside from that, everything else strikes a chord.

The fantastic hard rockin' but melodic pairing of 'Overnight Sensation' and 'Raise Your Hands To Rock' demonstrate what his band were good at.

The fact that they also squared the ledger with AOR oriented tunes such as the perfect opener 'Second Time Around', or the infectious chorusing heard on the title track 'Thrill Of A Lifetime' - which resembled John Parr's style of presentation, also demonstrated what they were capable when the focus moved from metal to melody.

Case in point - the fantastic AOR of 'Feel The Heat', or the Survivor like 'Iron Eagle', the tune that was best known from the movie of the same name.

Both songs proving to me that KK knew what they were about - despite the record label and general listening public not having a clue.

In Summary

The sales for this album did not equate to much, and so as record labels do - Capitol ending up dumping KK on the sandy sidewalk.

This version of the band would fold after this album, with Johnny Rod joining W.A.S.P the same year, Mick Sweda joining ex KK staffies Marq Torien and Lonnie Vincent in Bullet Boys ,and Mark Free moving onto other ventures.

Though King Kobra put out one more album 'III' in 1988 with a revamped line-up, Carmine Appice threw the towel in and decided to join John Sykes new project called Blue Murder the following year.

Over the years, various KK compilation CD's turned up, which showed just how much material this lot churned through back in the day.

As for 'Thrill Of A Lifetime', this one saw a re-release on Axe Killer Records in the year 2000.. which begs the question - why don't Capitol Records get off their lazy backsides and release some of the back catalogue themselves? Rant over.

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