KISS, a self proclaimed band for the fans, had their share of disappointing moments since their debut in 1973, sometimes making even the most loyal members of the KISS Army blush. Unlike their last studio effort, 2009s “Sonic Boom”, KISS has seemed to strike gold with their latest, “Monster” which will hit US shelves on Tuesday, October 9. Even after just a single listen it is quite clear that every song has a different style and attitude. This flame should reignite the faith in the bands hardcore fan base as well as please the casual listener.
“Hell Or Hallelujah”, provides a fast, heavy opening to the bands twenty-fourth studio album which is produced by frontman and rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley. As Stanley provides a great vocal to the aforementioned track, it is lead guitar player Tommy Thayer who shines greatly on the albums first single with a blistering solo and impressive lead work throughout. Replacing original spaceman Ace Frehley in 2003, Thayer is known for his carbon copy moves and playing style of his predecessor. While not pressing originality here, he successfully worked all eras of the band into his playing, creating a strong lead track to the entire record.
Reality TV star and underrated bass playing demon, Gene Simmons, snarls his way through five of the twelve songs including strong tracks “Wall Of Sound” and “Eat Your Heart Out”, the latter of which contains an interesting a-cappella intro then filled with typical Gene lyrics.
While there aren’t many, the weakest tracks here are “Outta This World” and “All For The Love Of Rock Roll”, each provided with lead vocals from Thayer and drummer Eric Singer respectfully. While not bad songs by any means, both are heavily based from a lyrical stand point that original members Frehley and Peter Criss are known for, giving the overall tone a weird vibe. That being said, the whole band is responsible for this heavy hitting LP and its one that only these four would be able to create successfully under the KISS moniker.
As a whole, “Monster” provides a solid outlook of the bands legendary career. Every song has something creative to offer and never gets stale. The staple of Stanley and Simmons splitting songs with their lead vocals is a great build up to “Take Me Down Below” which feature both sharing leads a la old favorite “Shout It Out Loud”.
Going in with low expectations “Monster” is exactly what the title states. Easily one of the strongest KISS releases since 1992s “Revenge”, the band is musically, lyrically and vocally stronger in a noticeable way. After nearly four decades KISS shows they can still produce quality material when they are not trying to recreate periods in the groups history. A tight unit indeed, KISS, proves they are here to stay with there new, unique “Monster” album.
01. Hell Or Hallelujah
02. Wall Of Sound*
04. Back To The Stone Age*
05. Shout Mercy
06. Long Way Down
07. Eat Your Heart Out*
08. The Devil Is Me*
09. Outta This World
10. All For The Love Of Rock & Roll
11. Take Me Down Below
12. Last Chance
13. Right Here Right Now
all lead vocals by Paul Stanley except where noted
*- lead vocals Gene Simmons
track 09- lead vocal Tommy Thayer
track 10- lead vocal Eric Singer
track 11- lead vocals Stanley, Simmons
Produced by: Paul Stanley
Co-produced: Greg Collins