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Kissin' Dynamite - Ecstasy

Label: Metal Blade
Format: Download
Released: 2018
Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 5/10

Big lipped, cigarette smoking Amy Winehouse look-alike on the cover, after eleven years (five studio, one live albums) the young Germans meet not only the North American market directly, for the first time, but also a major label, courtesy of Metal Blade's agreement with Sony Columbia. A new entity, to most, I've seen the band live at least a half dozen times, as they transformed from glam to a '14 misstep and back again. High energy and very entertaining, onstage, it should come as no surprise that on the "I've Got The Fire" opener Hannes Braun (who also produced the album) sounds remarkably like Jon Bon Jovi.


The remaining dozen tracks have the biggest production values of their career. In fact, while Kissin' Dynamite have a metallic history, this is about as far afield a Metal Blade album has gone, since the Goo Goo Dolls were on the label. Whereas the last album took aim at the hashtag/cell phone obsessed generation, there's no hackles raisers herein. "Somebody's Gotta Do It" has the Sunset Strip strut favored by exotic dancers the world over, while the title cut features Hannes, in duet with Anna Brunner (Exit Eden). Mature, (safe) polished radio fodder "Still Around", has a countrified aspect to it (ditto "Wild Wind"), even beyond the acoustic guitar. Back to rock, "Superhuman" could have come out of New Jersey (the state, not the album), pre-Slippery When Wet.
After a stomping intro, staccato "Breaking The Silence" slows, adopting acoustic guitar and whisper, at various points. About as "different" as it gets. Late in the running order, "One More Time" gives the guitars (brother Ande Braun is one half the tandem) a brief moment to shine. Subdued six-string intro greets the otherwise acoustic tinged ballad, "Heart Of Stone". Almost an afterthought, link-to-the-past, big sing-along finale, "No Time To Wonder" is a failed attempt at a party anthem, the kind they used to be able to write, in their sleep.
Having lived through it once before, this is reminiscent of the slick, over-produced, faceless, third/fourth tier hair metal bands that record companies were signing left & right, in the late 80s/early 90s, right before grunge wiped the slate clean. Sure there's a market for it, especially with aging American soccer moms reliving the past and their daughters (who missed out), trying to recreate the stories they've been told. Will be interested to see how their considerable fanbase (at home) reacts. Personally, find it hard to imagine they'll be co-heading a European tour, playing these songs, opposite Powerwolf.

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