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KING KOBRA
HOLLYWOOD TRASH

MTM Music 0681-37
Produced by: Carmine Appice & Kelly Keeling

Released: NOV. 19 / Website
Relative: Carmine Appice's Guitar Zeus
GENRE: Modern Rock
OVERALL: 40%

  1. Do It
  2. Bitch
  3. The Gift
  4. Hollywood Trash
  5. Jessy
  6. The Edge
  7. Watch What You Think
  8. Angels
  9. Blaze
  10. Freedom
  11. Ready To Strike
  12. Take It Off
  13. Here Comes The Night

The personnel involved in this record will be at great pains to explain that this is not a re-union record, rather a brand new King Kobra album, with a new fresh line up and sound.
But I don't accept that argument. The use of any classic band name implies something. It invokes a response and an expectation from those fans that know the band's name and reputation and are familiar with their best known style and sound.
There is no way known that this should be called a King Kobra record.
Drummer/founding member Carmine Appice has in recent times, paired himself with singer Kelly Keeling, who together have formed the creative base of several Guitar Zeus records.
Hollywood Trash is mearly Guitar Zeus in disguise.
Those Guitar Zeus albums were 100% involved in modern rock territory, which is exactly what this album is - modern rock mixed with a punkish production sound.
There is barely a note on this album that would conjure up comparisons to what most of us consider as classic King Kobra - that is the band's first two albums with singer and co-founder Mark Free.
Obviously Mark wasn't available for this release, but the band recorded another fairly melodic release, King Kobra 3 with Johnny Edwards on vocals. Hollywood Trash isn't even close to that album.
Kelly Keeling is capable of some great vocal work - just check out Baton Rouge and Heaven & Earth. But on this album, his vocals are out of character, strained or just plain lost in the mix.
Yes, this album rocks, but that and the style of the album taken into account, still leaves the majority of the songs without any heart or passion in them.
I just don't see the majority of melodic rock fans wanting to listen to music like this.
Granted there are a few high spots and a few very good song writing examples, but those moments are the minority.
Rounding out the line up on Hollywood Trash is guitarists Steve Fister and Mick Sweda. Guests include CC Deville and a few others on the last 2 unreleased tracks. Kelly Keeling plays most instruments on the album (keys, bass, rhythm guitars..)
Track By Track:
Do It opens the album in a somewhat laid back an uninspired way, with a track that sounds muddy and bluesy.
Bitch is a more uptempo grunge rocker with big attitude, again with a muddy sound and a punkish chorus that's just ok.
The Gift features a better vocal from Keeling, on a song that is a laid back psychedelic rock ballad.
Hollywood Trash is one of the more musically interesting tracks on the album. The bluesy rocker features a good rock vocal from Keeling and sounds like Billy Idol meets Rock City Angels meets Rolling Stones. The first 4 tracks however, work against each other, rather than a good album running order.
Jessy is a tuned down, grungy rock ballad that again features a pretty good vocal, but again a muddy production and a style that is out of character for the name King Kobra.
The Edge is a uptempo alternative hard rocker, with a big tuned down guitar sound and an attitude to match track 2.
Watch What You Think follows the grunge rocker theme, but the track seriously doesn't work. This is an uptempo rocker that flies between alternative and a punk / industrial feel. A case of too much attitude on one track.
Angels continues the grunge feel, but in a softer rock ballad style, with several changes in style and tempo throughout.
Blaze is a double kick drum hard rocker, with a horrible punk feel, muddied production and a vocal lost way back in the mix.
Freedom is hard and heavy, mid tempo in pace, but goes nowhere. Poor chorus, poor melody.
Ready To Strike is an old classic song, remade here and sounding close to the band's old spirit. A good solid rock song.
Take It Off and Here Comes The Night are the album's token gesture to the band's origins - two old unreleased tracks featuring Mark Free in his prime. But also considering the band have already had an album of unreleased material released in the last few years, means this track is far from the band's studio best. Still, in comparison to the other tracks on the album it's a highlight.
BOTTOM LINE: Whatever reasoning behind the decision to call this King Kobra, it just shouldn't have been done. No matter what promotion is done in various forms of press, there will be fans that will see a new King Kobra record listed and buy it with a sense of excitement. Then they will listen to it. It's all down hill from there... As a set of songs, this would have made an Ok modern rock record under a new band name or again under the Guitar Zeus moniker.
But under King Kobra, this record just doesn't stack up and is the major disappointment of the year so far.
The cover artwork and packaging is the best thing about the album. Check out the soundbytes first.
PRODUCTION: 45% SONGS: 50% VIBE: 15%ATTITUDE: 50%
ESSENTIAL FOR: Fans of modern rock & Guitar Zeus. Some Kelly Keeling fans. No Mark Free fans.
DISCOGRAPHY: Ready To Strike . Thrill Of A Lifetime . King Kobra III . The Lost Years . Hollywood Trash



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