Just like September, October has a lot of KISS album releases. Some of them Klassic and some of them… pure crap. Yeah, I have finally come to grips with the reality that not everything that KISS did was awesome. Most of it, yes, but not all.
We’ll go first with one that actually has its 12th anniversary tomorrow as it’s not really that important, just a compilation album. It’s called The Best of Kiss, Volume 3: The Millennium Collection, which actually marks the first time there has been a KISS album that features 90s-era KISS only. It has songs from 1992’s Revenge, KISS Alive III, the “throw-away” Carnival of Souls (I don’t believe it was a throw-away), MTV Unplugged: KISS, Psycho Circus and one from the Detroit Rock City film soundtrack. Interesting mix, but it’s a compilation album of stuff that I already have.
Okay, let’s get to the crap, or is that Krap?
In 2009, KISS wanted to “get back to basics” with their stuff, they had Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer donning the “Spaceman” and “Catman” personas so they wanted to try to do what they didn’t do with Psycho Circus nine years prior, they wanted to produce a “Klassic KISS” album. I actually feel they got closer with Psycho Circus. What they came up with was Sonic Boom on October 6.
There are a couple of songs on this album that I can listen to, like “Modern Day Delilah” (which was the lead single). Even with that song, though, Paul tried way too hard to bring back the early 80s magic by hitting high notes he no longer has any business hitting and pitting it against the grungier, more mid-90s Carnival of Souls. Tommy tries to capitalize on his taking over of “Spaceman” and co-writes and sings “When Lightning Strikes” to what I feel is a nod or knock on “Shock Me” from Ace. I can’t really tell. Eric gets a turn at lead vox on “All for the Glory.”
“Russian Roulette” by Gene isn’t too bad. It shows how done Gene is with singing, as well. He basically talks through it. Musically, it’s probably one of the best on the album. I think there are a couple of things that bother me about this album the most. One: It’s touted as Klassic and it’s not. It’s subpar in that realm and is even further down from any run-of-the-mill rock band. Two: 60s-aged KISS singing about things they would have sung about as 20-somethings is just creepy and sad. I claim this as my least favorite KISS album and with Hot in the Shade in the mix, that’s saying something. Three: It was distributed exclusively (and still is) by Wal-Mart in the US and Canada. I can see doing individual store exclusives so that they could sell more, but perhaps the worst part is that I had to go to Wal-Mart to get it. At least all the songs were written in-house for the main album and with no outside writers.
The one great thing – or is it two – about this album I can say is that they included the KISS Klassics album which was a re-recording of 15 KISS songs from most of the KISS albums from KISS to Hot in the Shade. That was released a year prior in Japan under the name Jigoku-Retsuden which translates to “Intense Transmission from Hell.” That was great. Somehow Paul and Gene don’t sound spent on those, at least as much. Another thing was a DVD from April 2009 in Argentina with all two songs each from the first three KISS albums (KISS, Hotter Than Hell, Dressed to Kill). So, there was some consolation here. But, man, this album, as a whole, isn’t that great. It had three singles, “Modern Day Delilah,” “Never Enough” and “Say Yeah.”
That brings us to today, which is the sixth anniversary of Monster. I remember getting that album and totally thinking the album cover seemed unoriginal and “thrown together.” It was produced by Paul Stanley and Greg Collins (who incidentally produced Sonic Boom as well).
The thing that stands out to me about this album is that it reminds me more of Creatures of the Night or Lick It Up than Klassic KISS and I’m okay with that. Gene belts out his stuff on this one. They just took a break on Sonic Boom, it seems. Lyrically, a good bit of it is kind of K-R-A-F-T–worthy. But, not too bad. I just enjoy listening to this one more than Sonic Boom. Once again, Tommy has a song that is “Ace-related.” This one is called “Outta This World.” I still wonder if it’s a nod or a knock. I can’t figure it out. And, for the second album in a row, Eric has a song that starts with “All for the…” in “All for the Love of Rock & Roll.” It is his trademark, eh? Not really.
I just think that this KISS works better with the 80s/90s sound than trying to rekindle the feeling and sound of the Klassic years. Another factor in this albums fullness is the fact that they went analog with tape and tape machines than doing it digitally. It makes it a little more full and lush, I feel. There are several “good” songs on this album. I think the two best are the two singles, “Hell or Hallelujah” and “Long Way Down.”
This is also not anywhere near my favorite KISS album and ranks just barely above Sonic Boom. Again, with HITS out there, that’s saying something. I give Hot in the Shade a lot of crap, but it gets its day in the sun next week.
It’s still a “wait and see” if Sonic Boom and Monster are the last KISS studio albums, especially with them about to embark on a true “farewell” tour. Paul said in regards to Psycho Circus that he didn’t want to go out with that experience, so they carried on without Peter and Ace. I still think, as I mentioned earlier, that PC is much better than these two. Anyway, happy anniversary to all three of those albums this week.
We have three more this weekend/next week coming.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“I ran from temptation. I prayed for salvation (yeah). I screamed at God, ‘Save me from my own damnation’ (yeah). My eyes were cold and blinded. I held the page I could not read. Drew up my blood inside him. I woke up in a sweat and heard the Lord’s decree. The Devil is me. The Devil is me. I fought myself to be set free ’cause the Devil is me.” – “The Devil is Me” (Simmons/Stanley/Thayer)