Category Archives: KISS
KISS – Monster [Limited Deluxe Edition]
(2012, Universal Music Enterprises/KISS Records)
1. “Hell or Hallelujah”
2. “Wall of Sound”
4. “Back to the Stone Age”
5. “Shout Mercy”
6. “Long Way Down”
7. “Eat Your Heart Out”
8. “The Devil Is Me”
9. “Outta This World”
10. “All for the Love of Rock & Roll”
11. “Take Me Down Below”
12. “Last Chance”
Paul Stanley – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Gene Simmons – Lead Vocals, Bass, Backing Vocals
Tommy Thayer – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals
Eric Singer – Drums, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals
Producer: Paul Stanley & Greg Collins
I’m surprised KISS didn’t use the same business model as they did for Sonic Boom, which was an exclusive U.S. release through Wal-Mart. KISS may be wishing they had the muscle of Wal-Mart behind them again because even though Monster debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts, it only sold about 56,000 copies in its first week compared to Sonic Boom‘s 108,000 copies sold.
Although the album was not released exclusively through Wal-Mart, there is a limited deluxe edition that is exclusive to Wal-Mart. The CD comes with a 64-page booklet (it’s not really magazine-sized) full of photos, facts, features, interviews, lyrics and track-by-track commentary for the new album. I’m not sure if it can be picked up in stores. I got my copy on pre-order from Walmart.com. The CD doesn’t come bundled in its own digipak or even a jewel case. It’s inserted into the inside cover.
KISS is my favorite band so I’m definitely happy they released another new studio album but at times Monster feels a bit like “been there, heard that”. This is a good album but it sounds so familiar to Sonic Boom they might as well have labeled it Sonic Boom, Vol. 2: “Hell or Hallelujah” is “Modern Day Delilah”, “The Devil Is Me” is “I’m An Animal”, “Outta This World” is “When Lightning Strikes”, “All for the Love of Rock & Roll” is “All for the Glory”, etc. Okay, maybe it doesn’t all sound like Sonic Boom… “Eat Your Heart Out” sounds like a Gene number that could’ve been on Asylum!
“Hell or Hallelujah” and “All for the Love of Rock & Roll” were instant favorites for me but the rest has taken some time to grow on me, just as the last album did. Songs like “Wall of Sound”, “Freak” (which was supposedly intended for Lady Gaga according to another review I read online) and “Back to the Stone Age” didn’t grab me at first but there’s some good stuff going on there if you stick it out. I’m really starting to get pulled into the whole album the more I listen to it. Probably the only song on this album I don’t have any affection for is the closing track “Last Chance”. Not bad but it’s filler. Poor way to close an album and Monster would’ve benefited if they limited the album to 10 tracks.
Ultimately, I think if anyone liked Sonic Boom, they’ll like this album. I definitely think Monster is the more consistent of the two (Gene brought some real clunkers to the last album) but I also believe the strongest songs from Sonic Boom are better than the strongest songs from Monster, if that makes sense. Still, this is pure KISS — big dumb fun. “Back to the Stone Age” really embodies the band at this point. They aren’t looking to reinvent the wheel, write thoughtful lyrics or expand their musical horizons. Do I think KISS can do better? Yes. But if this was the final KISS album, would I be okay with that? Yes, I would.
There is a bonus track if you buy the album through iTunes (and you have to buy the entire album to get it) called “Right Here Right Now”. It’s one of the better songs from the album and sounds equal parts ’70s KISS and late ’80s KISS. It’s a shame you can’t buy the individual track on iTunes because I definitely would as it’s better than most of what’s on this album.
Highlights: “Hell or Hallelujah”, “Wall of Sound”, “Shout Mercy”, “Long Way Down”, “Eat Your Heart Out”, “The Devil Is Me”, “All for the Love of Rock & Roll”
KISS – Smashes, Thrashes & Hits (1988, Mercury Records)
1. “Let’s Put the X in Sex” … 3:48
2. “(You Make Me) Rock Hard” … 3:26
3. “Love Gun” … 3:31
4. “Detroit Rock City” … 3:45
5. “I Love It Loud” … 3:47
6. “Deuce” … 3:20
7. “Lick It Up” … 3:53
8. “Heaven’s on Fire”… 3:19
9. “Calling Dr. Love” … 3:38
10. “Strutter” … 3:38
11. “Beth” (Eric Carr vocal) … 2:46
12. “Tears Are Falling” … 3:54
13. “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” … 4:29
14. “Rock and Roll All Nite” … 2:56
15. “Shout It Out Loud” … 3:07
Smashes, Thrashes & Hits is a KISS compilation aimed at the MTV generation that had helped breathe new life into the band during the ’80s (this album itself would go onto double platinum status). There are five tracks that come from either Creatures of the Night, Lick It Up, Animalize or Asylum while eight tracks feature some of the band’s classic ’70s material. Most of the songs from the 1970s were remixed for this collection.
Basically, the remixes amount to nothing and I could care less whether I’m listening to original or “remixed” versions, they sound the same to my unrefined ears. In the case of “Beth”, the vocals were re-recorded with Eric Carr (who does quite a good job on the song). Two additional tracks were recorded for this album and along with having the Eric Carr version of “Beth”, they are the only reason I was interested in owning this album.
“Let’s Put the X in Sex” and “(You Make Me) Rock Hard” are definitely songs of the time and follow the same pattern of the Crazy Nights album that came out in 1987 (which, surprisingly, is not represented here at all). Very cheesy and sexually-driven and they’ve always sounded to me as if they could’ve been recorded by Aerosmith around the same time. That’s probably because frequent Aerosmith collaborator Desmond Child co-wrote these songs with Paul Stanley! Future Aerosmith collaborator Diane Warren (“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”) helped to co-write “(You Make Me) Rock Hard” as well.
Despite Paul Stanley swearing off both of these songs, I love them for the guilty pleasures that they are. I loved both of these songs from the first time I heard them and the lyrics are just plain cheesy hornball fun to me.
For an album that devotes half its space to the 1970s KISS catalog and half to their 1980s output, I think this is a solid compilation that does its job of representing both decades well. It’s not the compilation I would recommend for people wanting to discover the band but for the diehards that happen to love ’80s KISS? This is definitely worth picking up (can easily be found at a low price) for the two new tracks and Eric Carr’s take on “Beth”.
KISS – Asylum of Death Interviews (2006, MVD)
Another DVD I streamed on my PS3 courtesy of Netflix. You know, I’m really starting to enjoy the titles of these unauthorized videos. They make no sense but sound darn fun: first “Krazy Killer” and now “Asylum of Death”! If only those had been actually KISS albums.
This is a collection of interviews and TV news pieces but unlike the oddball collection on Krazy Killer, there’s a bit more continuity here as many of these clips are from the Dynasty era. This is fine by me because I always thought KISS looked pretty cool during their disco rock phase (or as Ace calls it during an interview “rock disco”). I found it funny during one interview Ace is asked why they decided to go disco. He explains that it’s really only “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” that is “rock disco” and somehow ties this into a statement that disco is dying then three sentences later he says “disco is hot right now”. Of course, Paul steps in as the consummate promoter and says they must have done something right because the song is “number one or number two all around the world”.
The very first clip features the infamous appearance by Gene on The Mike Douglas Show then we get into an “unmasked” interview featuring KISS except they all have their backs turned to the camera. Next up is a round of Dynasty period interviews and then the video jumps to ’91/’92 with what I guess is the British MTV doing an interview with some guy who runs the “KISS Museum” and is a collector and seller of their memorabilia.
The final piece is an interview in England, by the same MTV veejay who interviewed the museum guy, talking to Gene, Paul, Eric Singer and Bruce Kulick. Appears to have taken place shortly after the release of Revenge. It’s an interesting piece notable for when the discussion turns to Eric Carr and after a few somber answers from Gene & Paul, you could visibly see talking about this was getting to them and they told the interviewer it was time to change the subject because they’d rather not dwell on not having Eric and would much rather celebrate the times they did have with him. I’ve read a few negative things over the years knocking Gene & Paul for the way they handled matters while Eric was sick, if there’s ever any proof that these guys truly cared for Eric and it was a tough situation for them as well, this interview is it.
It is during this interview where Paul and Gene state Revenge is heavy and almost like a return to the first album. Paul goes onto say this is KISS being true to themselves and not following trends. Pretty funny when you consider 30 minutes earlier on this video he was defending their “rock disco” album! He also bashes the power ballad craze of the day and likened “Everytime I Look At You” to a Led Zeppelin or Rolling Stones ballad that has nothing in common with the pop metal (“pap” as he called it) ballads. Again, this is humorous because KISS did their best to fit into the ’80s pop metal (the very scene their “true” selves inspired)!
This is a solid collection that I’m sure hardcore KISS fans will appreciate. There’s even an interview conducted by Billy Crystal! The sound and picture quality varies, but it’s acceptable for clips that date back to the late ’70s. At one hour and available for less than ten bucks, this really isn’t a bad purchase for those that are huge KISS fans and it is definitely worth a rental at least.
KISS – Krazy Killer (2006, MVD)
Being the KISS fanatic that I am, I was aware of this DVD’s existence for quite some time but you couldn’t pay me to sit down and watch some extremely low-budget unauthorized disc such as this. Well… Times change and no, no one paid me to watch this but I’m also a Netflix fanatic and they just happened to have this available to stream to my TV. It was a slow night so I figured I would go ahead and see what this was all about. So while I like to review only what I own, for some reason, I’m making an exception for music-related DVDs. Netflix has more than a few releases I’d like to rent but have no interest in buying, so look for more of these reviews in the future and I’ll be sure to note whether I actually own it or not.
After all, the DVD description sure does make things sound exciting what with Gene & Paul storming at 1994 KISS Konvention and taking back their own merchandise. They should’ve given this release the tagline of “They took the law into their owns hands.” Sounds like a good tag line for some ’80s direct-to-video action movie, doesn’t it? In fact, I’m fairly certain that’s where I stole it from. Krazy Killer also sounds like some weirdo ’80s direct-to-video movie but I’m thinking that it would be more of a slasher film.
Anyway, at worst I figured I would have wasted a few minutes of my quiet night and turned the DVD off promptly as the first signed of complete boredom. But I kept watching… and watching… and watching. You know? Because this much ballyhooed “Konvention” raid doesn’t even take place until about an hour into this ninety-minute DVD. So what’s eating up so much time on Krazy Killer?
An uncut interview with the band circa 1982/1983. Apparently the interview was being conducted for USA Network’s “Night Flight” late night program. I don’t remember that show at all but I do remember its successor “Up All Night” hosted by Gilbert Gottfried and Rhonda Shear. No doubt, this nearly one hour interview was probably clipped down to a few soundbites for a 3 minute segment when all was said and done.
KISS – Nashville 1984 (CDR bootleg)
Recorded: January 11, 1984 at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, TN
1. “Creatures Of The Night” … 4:19
2. “Detroit Rock City” … 4:05
3. “Cold Gin” … 5:34
4. “Fits Like A Glove” … 4:35
5. “Firehouse” … 4:03
6. Paul Stanley Guitar Solo … 1:00
7. “Gimme More” … 3:44
8. Vinnie Vincent Guitar Solo … 5:12
9. “War Machine” … 4:06
10. Gene Simmons Bass Solo … 4:30
11. “I Love It Loud” … 3:15
1. “I Still Love You” … 5:44
2. Eric Carr Drum Solo … 6:35
3. “Young And Wasted” … 4:44
4. “Love Gun” … 3:55
5. “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose” … 5:20
6. “Black Diamond” … 7:11
7. “Lick It Up” … 6:15
8. “Rock And Roll All Nite” … 7:37
Paul Stanley – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Backing Vocals
Gene Simmons – Lead Vocals, Bass, Backing Vocals
Vinnie Vincent – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Eric Carr – Drums, Backing Vocals
I’ve never made it a secret that I’m not the biggest fan of live albums. If I want to hear a band warts and all, I’ll go see them in concert. When it comes to listening to them at home or in my car, give me the perfected and produced version of their songs. Besides, 99% of all live albums usually fall somewhere in between live and studio making them completely obsolete.
That said, for my most favorite bands, I’ll sometimes check out the myriad of bootleg sites out there just to see what’s available. The seldom times I’ll download a bootleg, my main goal is to hear songs that these bands will never play live again. Plus with bootlegs… It really is love! No overdubs, no touch ups! Straight from some sneaky fan to the rest of us!
This brings me to this KISS bootleg called simply called Nashville 1984 but was apparently recorded for the old King Biscuit radio show. It finds the band in fine form with a set list dominated by then-recent Creatures of the Night and Lick It Up albums– two of KISS’ best. Coupled with the fact that Vinnie Vincent is on guitar, this was a must have for me. According to the site I found this this at, this bootleg is straight from the soundboard. I’m no audio expert, but that sounds about right me. Really good quality here.
The band is absolutely on fire for this show and full of energy. The Stanley/Simmons/Vincent/Carr line-up is probably the best the band ever had in terms of power, abilities and songwriting. Paul’s voice sounds great and near identical to what he was putting on the albums at the time. Definitely a far cry from how he sounds today. Gene sounds a bit off on this show though.
It’s really great to hear so many Lick It Up songs (five) and Creatures of the Night songs (four). This whole era was incredibly underrated. One thing that I find hilarious is that KISS plays all of their ’70s material at a quicker tempo. I’ve read they did that throughout the entire decade. I guess they felt they needed to compete with the heavy, speedier bands of the day. It’s a bit silly but what makes things even sillier is the new stuff is played faster too! Why didn’t they just record it the same way? For the record, the original tempos found on the albums are better than what they play live for both songs new and old.
Another quirky thing about this show is Paul’s over-the-top stage rap shtick. With New Year’s Eve only a few days behind them, the intro to “Cold Gin” is an odd one with Paul bragging about how drunk (“fucked up”) he got that night. Really, Paul? Did you really down 12 shots of tequila in ten seconds that night? Given Gene & Paul’s disdain for alcohol, I have to believe this was just Paul trying to have some type of bad boy image to compete with other ’80s metal acts. By the way, does anyone else think it’s weird that Gene sings a song (still to this day) praising alcohol?
Then for the rap right before “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose”, Paul’s delivery of “there are some hot lookin’ girls here tonight!” cracks me up.
All in all, this is a classic live performance. Really makes you wish Gene & Paul would rethink their self-imposed setlist “obligations” of playing a show dominated by their 1970s material.
KISS – Live In Las Vegas (2002, Pixelon.com)
1. “Shout It Out Loud”
2. “Love Gun”
3. “God of Thunder”
4. “Rock and Roll All Night” (as it is labeled on the DVD)
Paul Stanley – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Backing Vocals
Gene Simmons – Lead Vocals, Bass, Backing Vocals
Ace Frehley – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Peter Criss – Drums, Backing Vocals
Awful, awful, awful! Subtitled “The unseen concert”, I wish this one had remained unseen… by me! I was young and naive and wasted $14.99 on this DVD back on February 23, 2003 (the receipt was inside the DVD case). Live In Las Vegas is a cheap and unauthorized KISS DVD featuring the band’s four song “limited appearance” at Pixelon.com’s iBash ’99 from October 29, 1999 at the MGM Grand.
Pixelon was a fairly notorious dot-com company that got into the internet business by making ridiculous boasts about their video streaming technology and by throwing lots of money around to nab some big music names for their iBash launch party. Also notable is the company’s founder, who as it turned out, started the company under a false identity because he was wanted in Virginia for stock scams. The company only lasted a year before going bankrupt so I’m guessing this 2002 release was just a way to try to pay off some debts.
Paul Stanley issued a statement at one point saying “this DVD or Video has NOT been approved, endorsed or authorized by us”. I’m really surprised Gene & Paul would slip up to the point where someone else could market, own and release some concert footage of them. I thought they were pretty good about owning their performances, but I guess when someone is throwing an insane amount of cash at you to perform four songs, you tend to not worry about the details. Don’t feel bad for KISS only though, others were wowed by Pixelon as well. The iBash launch party also featured other big names like The Dixie Chicks, Tony Bennett, The Offspring, Faith Hill and The Who.
So why is this one bad? The performance is lip-synced, perhaps ripped straight from the albums themselves and then there’s the annoying issue of the video & audio not being sequenced correctly. Mouths are moving when they shouldn’t. The video is actually pretty good but the packaging of this DVD is very cheap. There is a director’s cut and a multicam cut to choose from. The director’s cut is horrible, there’s way too much jumping around from band member to crowd to band member. Your eyes never have time to settle and take in what you’re seeing. The multicam cut divides the screen in to quarters and those individual cameras are much more consistent, choosing to linger at different angles on the band as they play.
Surprisingly, there is a decent amount of special features. Perhaps Pixelon was feeling a bit bad about sticking us with a four song “concert”. I’m not sure how Pixelon got their hands on all of this extra KISS footage, but some of it is interesting.
Keeping with the failures of Pixelon, iBash was supposed to be broadcast over the internet, but the servers crashed at the last minute! Oops! Luckily, members of the KISS Army can now “finally see the concert that fate denied them the first time around”, as it says on the back of the DVD box.
But don’t bother, fate was looking out for you.
KISS – Alive 35: Live at Cobo Arena – Detroit, MI – September 25, 2009 (2009, Concert Online)
1. “Deuce” … 4:52
2. “Strutter” … 5:13
3. “Got To Choose” … 4:43
4. “Hotter Than Hell” … 4:31
5. “Nothin’ To Lose” … 4:32
6. “C’mon And Love Me” … 3:29
7. “Parasite” … 3:59
8. “She” … 11:09
9. “Watchin’ You” … 4:10
10. “100,000 Years” … 15:40
11. “Cold Gin” … 5:25
1. “Let Me Go, Rock ‘n’ Roll” … 9:49
2. “Black Diamond” … 5:39
3. “Rock And Roll All Nite” … 10:24
4. “Shout It Out Loud” … 3:07
5. “Lick It Up” … 10:37
6. “I Love It Loud” … 4:39
7. “Modern Day Delilah” … 5:32
8. “Love Gun” … 6:46
9. “Detroit Rock City” … 6:41
Paul Stanley – Rhythm Guitar, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Gene Simmons – Bass, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Tommy Thayer – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Eric Singer – Drums, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals
From the 9/25/09 Cobo Arena show in Detroit, Michigan, which I was lucky enough to attend live for my first ever KISS show. It was the kickoff show to the North American leg of the Alive 35 world tour. My initial thoughts can be found here in my concert review.
As I said in that review, Paul’s voice was a little rough in the early going, but he got better after the first couple of songs. His voice is a bit weaker than what it used to be, but he’s still doing a great job, so it’s not like he’s out there embarrassing himself. Gene’s voice is as strong as ever though and Eric’s got a great voice that’s a dead ringer for Peter Criss. As for actual musicianship, everyone was on all night long. These guys are true professionals.
I LOVED getting to hear “Love Gun” in person (my favorite KISS song) and “C’mon And Love Me” has become another favorite of mine over the years. It was a real thrill to hear “Modern Day Delilah” performed live as well. Too bad we didn’t get “Say Yeah” from Sonic Boom as well (they added that to the set list a few weeks later).
I had been meaning to get this album for awhile, but at $30, I kept putting it off. I really wanted it the night of the concert, but was low on cash by that point in the week. I can safely say this is the most I’ve ever paid for an album! But it’s a great memento from the show and well worth the money. It’s a real treasure and a very personal album from my collection that means a great deal to me.
I was pretty impressed with the shipping process. I got the CD within only a matter of days of my order being processed.
Highlights: “Strutter”, “C’mon And Love Me”, “Parasite”, “Black Diamond”, “I Love It Loud”, “Modern Day Delilah”, “Love Gun”, “Detroit Rock City”
KISS – Killers (1997, Mercury Records – German Import)
Original Release: 1982, Phonogram Records
1. “I’m A Legend Tonight” … 4:00
2. “Down On Your Knees” … 3:31
3. “Cold Gin” … 4:20
4. “Love Gun” … 3:17
5. “Shout It Out Loud” … 2:39
6. “Sure Know Something” … 4:01
7. “Nowhere To Run” … 4:33
8. “Partners In Crime” … 3:48
9. “Detroit Rock City” … 3:56
10. “God Of Thunder” … 4:11
11. “I Was Made For Loving You” … 4:20
12. “Rock and Roll All Night (live)” … 3:59
Paul Stanley – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Gene Simmons – Lead Vocals, Bass
Ace Frehley – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Eric Carr – Drums
Peter Criss – Drums
Bob Kulick – Lead Guitar (Tracks 1, 2, 7, 8; uncredited)
Producer: Michael James Jackson (Tracks 1, 2, 7, 8 )
I don’t care for compilations these days. Sure, I own tons of them, but I only bought them as an introduction to a band, I didn’t and don’t buy them in order to have a complete collection from an artist. Even if there was a band I was curious about, I wouldn’t dare go for the compilation in this day and age, I would just start with the album that is generally considered as their best and proceed from there.
Even the now standard trick of “let’s record one or two new songs to get longtime fans to buy it” doesn’t work on me, but for this 1982 KISS compilation, I have been willing to make an exception ever since I heard to four new songs that were written for it. After the great, but poorly received and poorly timed “fantasy rock” of Music From “The Elder”, the international side of KISS’ label wanted a compilation package to reaffirm to the world that they were indeed a hard rock act. Forgetting about the four new tracks, this is a great listing for a KISS compilation.
It was only by chance that I found it while rummaging through a used record store across from the Michigan State University, but for $10, it was money well spent on this German import (notice the KISS logo). It was decided that 1976′s The Originals and 1978′s Double Platinum were already more than enough compiled KISS for America to handle, so that is why this album was only released in Japan and Europe. Which is a shame, but it still doesn’t explain why Japan got it on CD in ’93, Germany in ’97 and the U.S. still hasn’t gotten a proper release! Also, could someone explain why this type of “let’s not flood the market with compilations” thinking has fallen to the wayside post-’96 reunion?
To my knowledge, none of the four new songs have ever been performed live and only “Nowhere To Run” has shown up elsewhere (2001′s box set).
KISS – Peter Criss [Remastered] (1997, Mercury Records/Casablanca Records)
Original Release: 1978, Casablanca Records
1. “I’m Gonna Love You” … 3:19
2. “You Matter to Me” … 3:17
3. “Tossin’ and Turnin’” … 4:01
4. “Don’t You Let Me Down” … 3:43
5. “That’s the Kind of Sugar Papa Likes” … 3:01
6. “Easy Thing” … 3:54
7. “Rock Me Baby” … 2:53
8. “Kiss the Girl Goodbye” … 2:46
9. “Hooked on Rock ‘n’ Roll … 3:37
10. “I Can’t Stop the Rain” … 4:26
Peter Criss – Lead Vocals, Drums, Percussion
Art Munson – Guitar
Stan Penridge – Guitar
Elliot Randall – Guitar
John Tropea – Guitar
Brendan Harkin – Guitar
Steve Lukather – Guitar
Bill Bodine – Bass
Neil Jason – Bass
Allen Schwartzberg – Drums
Bill Cuomo – Keyboards
Richard Gerstein – Keyboards
Michael Carnahan – Saxophone, Baritone Sax
Producer: Vini Poncia
With the coolest album cover of the ’78 KISS solo releases, Peter delivers the worst music. But hey, it shipped platinum, so what do I know?
I believe this was the last of the solo albums I bought, I had put it off because I kept reading about how bad it was. I’ve always loved Peter’s voice and I couldn’t believe it was a bad as people were saying it was. Well, after about two or three spins to get a good grasp on the album, I’m pretty sure I never reached for this album again unless I was in a SERIOUS KISS mode.
Really, it’s not horrible and if you like this style of music, it may be quite good, but I don’t have much of a taste for this hybrid of soft rock, big band, jazz and R&B music. A majority of this material was written in Peter’s previous band Lips. Oh well, for my own personal tastes, Peter would have better albums to come (but they also have been buried by critics and fans alike).
Despite being the most panned and least selling album of the four releases, KISS would enlist producer Vini Poncia for the next TWO KISS albums, Dynasty and Unmasked (generally considered the two worst KISS records), in an attempt to keep Peter happy and in the band.
Highlights: “I’m Gonna Love You”, “Tossin’ and Turnin’”, “That’s the Kind of Sugar Papa Likes”, “I Can’t Stop the Rain”
KISS – Asylum [Remastered] (1997, Mercury Records)
Original Release: 1985, Mercury Records
1. “King Of The Mountain” … 4:19
2. “Any Way You Slice It” … 4:03
3. “Who Wants To Be Lonely” … 4:02
4. “Trial By Fire” … 3:26
5. “I’m Alive” … 3:46
6. “Love’s A Deadly Weapon” … 3:31
7. “Tears Are Falling” … 3:55
8. “Secretly Cruel” … 3:44
9. “Radar For Love” … 4:01
10. “Uh! All Night” … 4:03
Paul Stanley – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Bass (“Tears Are Falling”)
Gene Simmons – Lead Vocals, Bass, Rhythm Guitar (“Any Way You Slice It”, “Trial by Fire”)
Bruce Kulick – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Eric Carr – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Jean Beauvoir – Bass guitar (“Uh! All Night”)
Producer: Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons
Bruce Kulick’s first album with KISS was the last KISS album I needed to complete my collection. It was always on my wishlist, but what really pushed me over the edge to buy it was buying and watching their Exposed video on DVD, which featured the music videos for “Who Wants To Be Lonely”, “Tears Are Falling” and “Uh! All Night”.
As with most of KISS ’80s output, the Gene songs are hit and miss. Despite getting a producer credit on this album, his focus was on Hollywood at the time and most of his songs during that decade were simply filler. Paul on the other hand is in his element with this pop-metal album. Paul is one of the true forerunners to the ’80s pop metal scene and despite downplaying the band’s work during this time (Gene & Paul have especially mentioned a dislike for this album), he really seemed to be enjoying his work. Even to this day, there’s an ’80s pop-metal vibe to virtually every song he writes.
“Tears Are Falling” was the only somewhat successful single from the album, and it’s a great ’80s KISS rocker. Another shining moment for Paul. Not many songs from this album were album played live, but in 2004 on their Rock the Nation, the band briefly brought “Tears Are Falling” back into the set list in an attempt to not be so predictable. I was really excited because I had bought tickets to see them on that tour in Pensacola, Florida, but only a handful of shows into the tour, the dropped the song from the set. Didn’t really matter though, because my show ended up getting canceled anyway! At least I got to see them play on the Rock the Nation DVD!
During this time, many people said KISS were following the bands that they themselves had inspired. And while that’s true to an extent, I’ve seen it pointed out in some reviews that the album cover was an “obvious” ripoff of Poison’s Look What the Cat Dragged In. Um… No. It is “obvious” this is an ’80s version of the Dynasty cover. Never mind the fact that Look What the Cat Dragged In came out a year AFTER Asylum! So Poison either ripped off Dynasty or Asylum, you pick.
This isn’t a heavy album, but it is a great balance of pop-metal and hard rock before they released Crazy Nights and went even softer. Essential KISS? Debatable. Essential ’80s KISS? Yes.
Highlights: “King Of The Mountain”, “Who Wants To Be Lonely”, “Trial By Fire”, “I’m Alive”, “Tears Are Falling”, “Uh! All Night”