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Kiss are back! Well…they have their first studio album in many years at least. It is hard to declare Kiss 'back' when they never really went away. Kiss Inc. has kept fans busy with tours, merchandise and an ever-constant media presence.|
But this is the first look at new material for fans after solo albums from Stanley and Simmons in recent years plus a range of archive DVD collections.
Kiss has done precisely the right thing here – they have made an album for the fans and for themselves. No towing any record label line and no attempts to follow a particular trend or update their sound unnecessarily.
Mind you, if there is any trend developing, it is one towards being cool for just being yourself and for more organic classic rock records. So Kiss under the command of Paul Stanley set about making a classic Kiss record for the ages.
I think they have achieved that too. Importantly this sounds like a real band record and everyone gets some time in the spotlight. The production, while not the crispest ever, has a big sound and is authentic in that it captures the energy of the band and songs and reflects the style of the band through the ages.
The triple pack release adds value for money for casual and die-hard fans alike, but the real interest for all is the new material.
Track By Track:
Modern Day Delilah is the single we've all heard – the tune that reintroduced the band to the world. Tough, uncompromising and both contemporary and classic at the same time. Catchy without even trying.
Russian Roulette features Gene singing as well as, well…as well as Gene "sings". And I love the guitar tone on this one. Unmistakably Kiss and nice and clean. I prefer the double time bridge that leads to the chorus, which plods a little, but still a very good straight ahead rocker.
Never Enough to me sounds like 80s Kiss without the tinfoil production. Paul sounds in terrific form here and the chorus is pure anthemic pyro-inspired rock n roll. One for the live set list surely?
Gene is back to front the dirty 70s rocker Yes I Know (Nobody's Perfect). This is the best example of 70s Kiss on the record I reckon. Self-indulgent lyrics, an instant chorus and a tasty guitar solo in there also.
Stand is another 80s style song with a more 70s inspired production. Anthemic arena rocker with classic Kiss traits. Gene and Paul duet through the track, but you have to love the chorus.
Hot And Cold features yet more Gene lead vocals. Curious that his role in the album is so prominent given that Stanley apparently had full creative control. Not the greatest vocalist in the world (or anywhere else), Gene still manages to carry the integrity of the song – more 70s inspired dirty rock n roll. Not to be taken seriously lyrics are the name of the game.
All For The Glory is a track I really dig. More bombastic 70s rock here and a big over the top chorus. Absolutely love the dirty guitar tone here (and killer solo), plus the faster tempo. Eric Singer sings his heart out and puts his hand up for future vocal duties with a strong performance.
Danger Us is another really strong rocker that features more inspired guitar playing and a strong Paul Stanley lead vocal. More silly lyrics that seem to work (this is Kiss afterall!). The latter half of the album proves to be delivering the goods more than the opening half.
Despite being one of the heavier rockers on the album, I'm An Animal is one of the album's totally duff tracks I'm sorry to say. The band delivers a massive 70s groove, but Gene's vocals aren't overly appealing and the chorus for me is completely forgettable.
When Lightning Strikes is much better. Digging this one still – featuring Tommy Thayer on vocals. His tone fits the band well and sounds very comfortable. A good commercial chorus ensures this feel good rocker works.
The album closes with Say Yeah – another uptempo rocker featuring Paul Stanley. I see this tune as old meets new, 70s meets 80s and classic Kiss all the way. Love the chorus – one which could easily have been included on Stanley's very good solo record.
It's not the perfect record or the second coming. Nor I don't rate it as the best Kiss album in 30 years, but I do rate it as one of their best. It is a true statement from the band that they are still very much relevant; still capable of kicking ass after all these years; and can still write and play their own music!
Now, if only today's immerging bands could be forced to take a few lessons from these veterans, we might all be better off.
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