Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Eugeology: Eugene's List of Hard Rock Albums and Possible Gems Part 17 - King Kobra 'Ready to Strike'

Carmin Appice has always been there and you may not have noticed him. Ya know, unless you’re a drummer. He was in Vanilla Fudge, he spent time with Rod Stewart, Cactus, Ozzy Osbourne, Ted Nugent, Blue Murder, and King Kobra.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him perform with Ozzy, Ted, and Blue Murder. I’ve seen him play in arenas. I’ve seen him with Blue Murder at the old Baity’s Music Garden in Winston-Salem with John Sykes (a geeky hard rocker’s wet dream).

He’s a power drummer plain and simple. Since I know nothing about drums, I’m going by what I hear and what I appreciate. The guy is a solid drummer with a big fat sound able to perk the ears of hard ass authorities in the next county.

I have no doubt that he’s doing things that make drummers take note. He wouldn’t be so revered by the legions of drummers out there if he weren’t all that good.

King Kobra’s ‘Ready To Strike’ was handed to me in the form of a cassette tape by Jeff Baker. All he said was, “Check this out.”

I did and I was floored. The vocalist breathed life into ever lyric. The drums and bass work of Johnny Rod provide a loud pulse for the “Frankenstein” of a band assembled by Appice.

‘Ready to Strike’ follows the same blueprint of Starz’s ‘Attention Shoppers’. It’s a power pop album with screaming guitars. Lyrically, the album pulsates with hard rock attitudes and yet features a lot of pop lyric sensibilities. And there’s even two songs written by a previously featured band, Kick Axe. Those are “Hunger” and “Piece of the Rock”.

‘Ready to Strike’ was produced by Spencer Proffer and Carmen Appice. Proffer provided Billy Thorpe with his fifteen minutes of fame with “Children of the Sun” that was found on AOR airwaves during the late 1970s and late 1980s. Proffer had the “Midas touch” with Quiet Riot, but failed with King Kobra and Kick Axe.

And in my opinion, that’s a damn shame… Quiet Riot just caught onto something without actually having merit. Let’s face it… They were basically a Slade tribute band. But I always found Proffer’s production skills quite excellent.

I hold the first King Kobra’s album right up with the ‘Vices’ from Kick Axe.

‘Ready to Strike’ is an ass-kicking hard-rocking power pop album that certainly timestamps 1985. But it also shows you the good underbelly side of the “hair metal” scene that was dominating the landscape of hard rock. King Kobra were one of the really good bands that gave the genre a good name back then, but unfortunately went unnoticed.

Stand outs on the album are… “Ready to Strike”, “Hunger”, “Shadow Rider”, “Breakin’ Out”, “Tough Guys”, “Second Thoughts”, and my favorite moody little number called “Dancing with Desire”.

If you’re a fan of the 1980s genre of hard rock, I hope that you give this album a spin.

Check out what Tim and Jon had to write about the same album.

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