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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


28/05/06: Bob - rbright1674@msn.com
Rating: 15
Flat out awful. I had to import it back when it was originally released, and I was excited - I was a huge fan of all three King Kobra albums back in the day (the first two more so than KK III), snapped up "The Lost Years" the day it was released - I was totally stoked when I got the call that it had arrived.

I threw it in my car stereo and oh my lord...I almost threw it out of the car by the time track 4 started...

The only thing good about this album is the cover art, which is great - packaging is pretty cool. I gave it a score of 15 (5 points for cover/packaging and 10 points for including the Mark Free stuff).

The only new song worth listening to is the remake of Ready to Strike, which actually sounds pretty good. All of the new material is flat, uninspired, unenthusiastic, boring, and NOTHING anywhere even remotely close to King Kobra. Without a doubt, this has been the WORST CD purchase I've made in years.

The album (the new material, anyway) is a complete disaster from start to finish and there's NOTHING worth remembering about any of it.

Carmine really ripped off the diehard King Kobra fans with this. He should be ashamed of himself.

30/10/04: Josh - josh@music.com
Rating: 7
I love all of Kelly Keeling's work icluding this one. I agree I doesn't sound like King Kobra but the 80's are over. I think the attempt was in the right place to get a modern album on radio but MTM or someone screwed up because I can't find it in the states. I do agree that the mixes are horrible. Probably the worst mix I have ever heard on a professional cd. A shame with a voice like that that it was buried in the mix. A highlight for me is the one where the reviewer said too Much attitude for one song ' Watch What You Think" That song KICKS ASS. Not a bad album. Not Kelly's best but there are many others to enjoy after this release that are better by him. And of Course Carmine Rocks

23/08/03: Mark Aldred - pantherbyte@yahoo.com
Rating: 13
This is the worst cd I have bought in the last 10 years. What a disappointment. It flat out sucks. Stick with "Ready to Strike, or KKIII. Pure shit!!

14/06/03: andy coates - andy.coates2@ntlworld.com
Rating: 20
bloody awful execpt the mark free tracks

06/06/02: Roby - fault_of_fleshyahoo.it
Rating: 30
Good demos, very bad job! Who played guitars, who produced them and the whole record? The sound is HORRIBLE! The sticker is a big lie... featuring Free, Rod, anyone else... well, they are two extracts from the previous albums! Then, I can do it too!
Carmine and co. think we are full of money to spend in any way... I'll never buy anything by you, no more!
And Kelly... what a disappointment... where is the super voice of 'I'm on fire' (Blue Murder)?

10/01/02: Figge - anderssonfigge
Rating: 40
Ok, I think everyone has already pointed out that this record is NOT the same KK as most of us know from previous releases. So, no need to go there again. And I agree, this is not a good album. There are a few good songs (if you are able to ignore the expectations you had), but I still think that you could expect more from these guys. I like Kelly Keeling, and he does an OK job here to. I must say, that "Ready To Strike" is my favourite album with KK, and the only really good album they've done.

04/01/02: Kevin Baker - kevin@iamthemusicman.com
Rating: 0
This album is a disgrace to the name. It could of worked if they'd called themselves King Fake or King Cockersucker...
this is a shot at a lot of die hard fans. By far not the first group of people to do it. Hurricane, Dokken, Bulletboys to name a few. every time Warrant came to Ohio it was a new line up learning the songs. So they would get fucked up and just party. Yippie..... NOT! that is why they are in clubs..... Along with several bands from that genre. And more genres to follow.This KING KOBRA must die.

22/12/01: Rock&Roll Connoiseur - Davek@northviewwindows.com
Rating: 70
I think alot of people are missing the big picture with this cd. I agree with everyone else that this IS NOT a King Kobra cd! But if you look at the music by itself, it's much better than most of the crap being put out these days. There are some real good tracks here with what I think bears a strong connection to the Silent Rage cds. If you listen to this cd knowing that it's NOT King Kobra, you'll enjoy it!

08/12/01: w.vriens - blaat@hotmail.com
Rating: 32
Hi

This album disappoints me in every way it can
And i don't wanna say anything else about it really bad

04/12/01: Tony - ~~~~
Rating: 45
Gotta agree with the reviewer and Andrew here. I LOVED King Kobra back in the day and was really looking forward to this cd. I was under the mistaken impression though this would be a "King Kobra" cd. Not so. Not that the music is horrible, the guitar playing is stellar, but it simply sounds like an above average club bands demo recordings. I can't believe that these musicians put much heart & soul into this. It DEFINITELY shouldn't have been called a King Kobra cd. On it's own merits it stands up as pretty average but as a cd under the King Kobra moniker save your money.

04/12/01: Andrew - royalhunter@earthlink.net
Rating: 25
I want to set the record straight... NO ONE LOVES THIS BAND MORE THAN ME. Period. I was 13/14 when their first album "Ready to Strike" was released, and my brother bought it for me for my
birthday. I was hooked! Mark Free's vocals on "Hunger" did (and still does) send chills through my spine. That was followed up by one of the greatest melodic rock album of all-time, "Thrill Of A Lifetime". Not one filler track on the two
releases. Hell, King Kobra did one of the first "rap" songs I
had ever heard! They played music like no one else. They had it all... a world class drummer, THE best vocalist of all time,
two awesome guitarist and a REAL bass player. So when this new CD came out, "Hollywood Trash", I was very excited. The artwork on the front is TOP NOTCH (that oddly enough was the only pionts
I gave the band!). The music (?) just plain sucks. Where is the style, the world class vocals (I like Kelly Keeling, but he sounds terrible on this), THE SONGS! This is the most disappionting CD I have ever bought. Maybe it would be O.K., if they hadn't used the King Kobra name, but this is NOT King Kobra. Do yourself a favor, have a friend put the two bonus tracks with Mark Free (YES!!!) on a CDR for you and forget the rest.


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