Put together at the suggestion of Frontiers Records as a classic rock vehicle to display the talents of legendary rock vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, Rated X is a heavy rock supergroup whose sound is – somewhat unsurprisingly – heavily indebted to Rainbow and mid-80s Deep Purple. As an ex-member of Rainbow, Turner is one of a few who can lay claim to this classic rock sound as being partly his own. Perhaps more importantly, he’s also one of a few veteran rock singers who’s still capable of lending some decent vocal chops to most projects when called upon to do so. Just one listen to the Sunstorm albums confirms his place as one of the all-time greats, so the record label’s faith in his abilities – even at the age of 63 at the time of this band’s formation – is justified.
King Kobra’s 2011 comeback disc turned its back completely on the brilliant AOR sounds that filled the grooves of the band’s 1985 classic ‘Thrill of a Lifetime’, preferring instead to indulge in shameless musical chest-beating and overly macho clichés. Overall, it wasn’t as bad as 1988’s absolute stinker ‘King Kobra III’, but it represented a far cry from their best work. Although it is their sixth release, they’ve chosen to call their 2013 outing ‘King Kobra II’, since it clearly picks up the mantle where the self titled record ended, pairing the band’s founding members with ex-Rough Cutt vocalist Paul Shortino for more leather-based party rock anthems.