Great Metal Albums of 1986: King Kobra- Thrill of a Lifetime


When there is so much good music out there, as was the case in 1986, there is some that’s going to escape your notice. That was the case of King Kobra’s second album, “Thrill of a Lifetime.” I had heard of King Kobra through magazines and I knew they were on the soundtrack for “Iron Eagle,” and that song made me take a more serious look at them, but never picked up the album. That means that the past three days has been a learning experience for me.

It could be that when I heard their contribution to the “Iron Eagle” soundtrack in the form of “Iron Eagle (Never Say Die),” it was the reason I never explored them more. While that is a very good song, I was a different animal back then. I was looking for more power chords and the way the keyboards were used, I might have had written them off as ‘wimp metal.’ Believe me, that term was actually used back then.

Having mellowed with age, I can listen to the album with a more open mind. Sure, there are keyboards all over the album but it doesn’t cover up the guitars and some of the bitchin’ guitar solos on many of the tracks. In addition, there’s the dependable drumming of one Carmine Appice and that’s always a good thing to have on any album.

While the opener, “Second Time Around,” doesn’t grab me by the throat the way many other album opening tracks do, it’s still good. The title of the second track, “Dream On,” may give the hint of a ballad, it’s not. It’s more a melodic straight-forward rock tune and no, it’s not a cover of the Aerosmith classic. It does set things up for what I think is the best track on the album, “Feel the Heat.” Guitars and keyboards come together very nicely with Mark Free’s vocals, which are good through all the album. It also hosts the best guitar solo.

The title cut hosts some cool vocal harmonizing and there are some pretty good guitar riffs on it. It could be that King Kobra were trying to fool people with the song titles, for “Only the Strong Will Survive” is more the power ballad. Still, if you listen carefully, you can hear lots of good little hooks in the song.

Following “Iron Eagle,” is the low point of the album. It would be another year before I discovered the Beastie Boys so at this time, white boys trying to rap sounded a bit ridiculous and they do this on “Home Street Home.” It puts a dampener on some of the great drumming and guitar hooks that do appear in the song. Never fear though because the album goes out with a bang with three really good rockers. “Overnight Sensation” boasts a blinder of a guitar solo followed by a cool keyboards solo. It carries on with “Raise Your Hands to Rock,” which is a definite metal song. Maybe it should have been the opener. Nevertheless, “Party Animal” is the perfect closer for the album and it too rocks. It’s my second favourite song. With these three songs, they definitely prove that King Kobra were more than wimp metal.

Track Listing:

  1. Second Time Around
  2. Dream On
  3. Feel the Heat
  4. Thrill of a Lifetime
  5. Only the Strong Will Survive
  6. Iron Eagle (Never Say Die)
  7. Home Street Home
  8. Overnight Sensation
  9. Raise Your Hands to Rock
  10. Party Animal


King Kobra

Mark Free- vocals

David Michael-Phillips- guitar

Mick Sweda- guitar

Johnny Rod- bass

Carmine Appice- drums

Duane Hitchings- keyboards

Maybe it’s me, when I hear large chunks of this album, I think of Harem Scarem, a band that wouldn’t come about for several more years after this. I will need to do a little more research there. Anyway, “Thrill of a Lifetime” is a good album, wimpy or not.

Next post: Savatage- Fight for the Rock

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6 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1986: King Kobra- Thrill of a Lifetime”

  1. I bought Ready To Strike on cassette back at the time of this album. Plus the fact that they recorded the Kick Axe song Piece of the Rock as well made me buy it.
    But the problem between Kick Axe/Quiet Riot and KK was the fact that Proffer made all three albums sound the same.
    Kick Axe Vices was a still is a classic though

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I kinda really like that… Lots feel like a great eighties movie soundtrack… it shall be my album of the day to listen to!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Home street home. No. Just no..:)

    Liked by 1 person

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