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Kiss – Monster

Label: Universal Music
Format: CD
Released: 2012
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 8/ 10

20th studio album from Kiss and musically I was pleasantly surprised with “Monster”. Not that Kiss hasn’t made good music in recent years since the reunion tour in 2005 with Ace and Peter (and the semi-reunion album “Psycho Circus”), or the first studio album with Thayer and Singer in the ranks (“Sonic Boom”), but “Monster” to my ears, is, for starters a rawer production, but a well balanced mix of Kiss’ history from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s.


First single, lead off track, ‘Hell or Hallelujah’ is a standard big arena rockin anthem with Stanley at lead vocals. Gene takes the lead on ‘Wall Of Sound’, brings me back a bit to their 70s stuff in the riff, maybe even “Creatures Of The Night” for the chorus. ‘Freak’ is more “today” in the vein of the “Carnival Of Souls” album, still with a recognizable vocal and structure for Paul. ‘Back To The Stone Age’ is classic Simmons (at times reminiscent of his tunes on “Revenge”) beginning with that bass line followed by the driving rhythm and chorus. ‘Shout Mercy’ again has a 70s feel in the riff change (especially before the chorus, it’s very Ace). The a cappella intro to ‘Eat Your Heart Out’, bass swagger, guitars, and chorus brought me right back to albums “Love Gun” and “Rock n Roll Over”. Very early 70s Kiss arrangement and delivery, maybe “Dressed To Kill” period (‘She’, ‘Parasite’), to ‘The Devil Is Me’. Fierce leads by Tommy and vocal from Gene. Cool stuff. ‘Out Of This World’ is another great upbeat 80s feelin rocker with Tommy takin lead vocals (although lyrically its criminal, about taking you out of this world on a midnight rocket??? Really?? That’s Ace’s territory). Another overused title for Kiss, ‘All For The Love Of Rock n Roll’, lets Eric take the lead for this old school feelin rock n roll number, and he sounds just fine (although Singer is just killer on MTV Unplugged), but this one is filler ‘Take me Down Below’ has this great throbbing bass and drum beat (think of the attitude from ‘Charisma’ from “Dynasty”) backed by the guitars, with a nice lead vocal trade-off between Gene and Paul.

Monster” is a solid well rounded album worthy of Kisstory. But really… why are guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer wearing Ace Frehley and Peter Criss’ makeup (not their fault)??? They really should have their own identities like Vinnie Vincent and Eric Carr had. Where is the respect for those characters??

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