The band Cobra are a near supergroup, when you subsequently see the names involved with this one-off project from 1983.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: First Strike
SERIAL: EPC 25536
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Switzerland, USA
LINEUP: Jimi Jamison – vocals * Armand (Mandy) Meyer – guitars * Jack Holder – guitars * Tommy Keiser – bass * Jeff Klaven – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Blood On Your Money * 02 Only You Can Rock Me * 03 Travellin’ Man * 04 I’ve Been A Fool Before * 05 First Strike * 06 Danger Zone * 07 Looking At You * 08 Fallen Angel * 09 What Love Is * 10 Thorn In Your Flesh
The band Cobra are a near supergroup, when you subsequently see the names involved with this one-off project from 1983. Though the band were based in Memphis TN, the personnel were split between the USA and Switzerland. Jamison was well known in town, due to his work with D Beaver and Combinations plus A&M signings Target.
Released on the Epic label, Cobra (who first started out as the commonly and appallingly named Dragon) were somewhat overshadowed by other big name acts of that era, namely REO Speedwagon, Kansas, Cheap Trick, Molly Hatchet, and Boston, who by this stage had gone into hiatus.
There were a few new acts on the Epic roster which made a slight impact, namely Florida’s Stranger and the Nikki Buzz fronted outfit Vendetta, but it was this album ‘First Strike’ which struck an immediate chord with me.
Producer Tom Allom had the job of twiddling the dials and he comes up trumps on most tracks. Fans of melodic US hard rock will pull this album to pieces because it reeks of every cliche thinkable, but the class is obviously there. The sound on the album is a glorious amalgam which sees cross references to Def Leppard, Rainbow, Kiss, Night Ranger and the Doug Lubahn fronted outfit Riff Raff.
[Holder, Keiser, Jamison, Meyer, Klaven]
The material is forever listenable, apart from well worn song titles. Melodic riffing on ‘Blood On Your Money’ is topped off by a lead break straight from Leppard’s ‘Rock Brigade’, while ‘Only You Can Rock Me’ and the title track ‘First Strike’ could fit admirably on any good (and I mean good) Kiss album.
‘I’ve Been A Fool Before’ is a slow burner, similar in style to a brooding Night Ranger and the atmospheric class of Riff Raff, while the ballad ‘Looking At You’ simply kills with sweetness and emotion, being fuelled by some biting guitar at the end and subtle keyboard touches. ‘Danger Zone’ pulses along nicely, rounded out by a Blackmore-esque solo from Meyer.
A good image and good sound, but the band literally sunk like a stone. For collectors, there was a 1983 Live Bootleg that was available as a Fileshare somewhere. I did have it, but lost it in a house move a while back. I’ll try and track it down again.
Beyond this album, success took off for the members on other projects subsequently. Jimi Jamison being the major success story for his work in Survivor, though Mandy Meyer has been moderately successful with stints in Asia (appeared on the superb ‘Astra’ album), Katmandu with Irish singer Dave King and fellow Swiss compares Gotthard. Jeff Klaven later appeared with another Swiss band Krokus.
Since released on Rock Candy Records, ‘First Strike’ should be a compulsory addition to your AOR collection. Need I say anymore.
Blood On Your Money