Caroline International [Release date 17.05.19]
American/German rock band Kingdom Come formed in the mid 80s, and are perhaps best known for their debut’s comparison to Led Zeppelin. A little unfair, maybe, but it is their best known and biggest seller.
With various regroupings and line-up changes (the band now exist with several original but no continuous members), this wonderful set by Caroline Records encompasses their first three albums, which are by far the best, most essential listening.
Fronted by Hamburg born vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Lenny Wolf, the 1988 eponymous debut is bolstered by lead guitarist Danny Stag, guitarist/keyboardist Rick Steier, bassist Johnny B Frank and drummer James Kottak (the latter later of Scorpions fame).
Produced by Bob Rock, the album is a slick and polished affair with a nod to melodic and glam metal as well as the underlying blues rock that got them the Led Zeppelin tag. The Zep reference can be heard largely in the riffs and vocal style, which led at the time to disdain from the likes of Bruce Dickinson as well as Gary Moore, who recorded the track Led Clones with Ozzy. That said, it’s a good and solid album that spawned several hits.
At times the Zep influence is obvious, Lenny didn’t help the band’s image by stating he’d never heard of Led Zeppelin, but it’s not all about LZ. The polish and twin guitar effect nods to Whitesnake’s 1987, the rhythm section and some songs are straight out of the mid 80s with a blues touch; think a beefed up Cinderella. Yes the band could have been more original but it’s still a great listen.
Released the following year, In Your Face was a minor hit, but on this listen is a better album. It’s more heads down solid rock/metal, and it fits in with the zeitgeist, it’s less derivative. Opening track Do You Like It has a good riff, it’s much more classic in the face of the then exploding grunge scene. Thankfully. This album is definitely an essential listen.
The band split due to personal reasons on the eve of a UK tour with WASP.
Third album, 1991’s Hands Of Time, was recorded by Lenny Wolf (who retained the band name), who handled bass as well as vocals, with guitarists Bert Meulendijk, Marco Moir and Blues Saraceno, drummers Steve Burke and Jimmy Bralower, and keyboard player Koen van Baal. There’s a slight departure in the sound with some more whimsical moments in the guitar, and a return to a Plant influence in the vocal style over the previous outing. Both melodic and riff heavy, there’s some good moments here that make for an enjoyable listen, but it lacked the identity of the previous two albums. One many fans may have overlooked. This is a great opportunity to have a listen.
Another lovely package, three consecutive albums worthy of at least a listen in any rock record collection. Nice packaging, single only bonus tracks and informative sleevenotes, what’s not to love? ****
Review by Joe Geesin
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