Thursday, October 11, 2012


Universal Music Group

Sorry, but I'm afraid I have to start of this review with a little rant. Although really folks it feels like I'm stating the obvious here. It's bad enough that Kiss is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame already, but to not be nominated for the class of 2013 is a total slap in the face! How can you have a rock museum without one of rock's biggest names? This just goes to show you how much of a joke the whole thing is. Is that a surprise though when the building is located right in the heart of Cleveland? They don't call it the mistake by the lake for nothing! It's hard enough being a sport's fan in Cleveland, but when you have a "rock" hall sitting there without one of "rocks" biggest names on the list I really have to pull out that Cee Lo Green song, "Forget You" (trying to keep it PG here boys and girls, but you know what I mean!). Anyway, now that I've had my soapbox moment here we are with the 20th! studio album from Kiss. That's right, the 20th! Who would have ever thought that this strange band that formed in New York City in January 1973 (about a half a year before I was born-man, I feel old!) would still be rolling out the rock? Now, as with 2009's "Sonic Boom", the new album was was produced by Paul Stanley and co-produced by Greg Collins. And, just like "Sonic Boom" (which may or may not be a better album depending on your personal tastes), "Monster" finds the band returning to the more primal rock/hard rock that made them such a huge deal to begin with. While the 2009 album stands as a return to their roots this album builds upon that and, in that regard, sounds more natural then "Sonic Boom". As good as "Sonic Boom" was it did come of (sometimes) as if the band's aim was to create a "rock" record verses just letting the rock naturally flow out. From the first single "Hell or Hallelujah" it seemed obvious that Kiss had found more of there comfort zone. "Hell or Hallelujah" (which opens the album) is pure hard rock heaven. It's one of those singles that made me hope and pray that "Monster" would be this triumph return to form for Kiss. Truth be told I'm not the world's biggest Kiss fan (that title was taken by "Little" Larry back at my old workplace-now there was a Kiss Army fanatic if ever I saw one!) although I love the classic album's and (shock) even enjoyed some of the band's hard rock/glam moments (forgive me for sounding utterly sappy here, but I think "Forever" is a great ballad!). So, while I did pick up "Sonic Boom" along the way, when this album "fell into my hands" I make no claim to knowing Kiss inside and out, but I know good rock/hard rock when I hear it. "Monster" is good. Not great, but good. My may gripes? Well, as I was listening to "Eat Your Heart Out" I could not help but have one of those "hey, that sounds awfully familiar" moments. The reason why? Well, as I was enjoying the track it dawned on me that it sounded EXACTLY like something AC/DC would write! I'm not saying it is a carbon-copy, but it reminded me a lot of "Highway To Hell" with it's overall structure and feel. Interesting. The other thing was (and yes, this sounds weird but just follow me here folks!) there were times when it sounded like Kiss covering Lordi covering Kiss! Weird description all around, but as Lordi is influenced by Kiss some of these songs actually sounded like leftover Lordi tracks that Kiss re-worked. There is no other way to describe it then that! I'm willing to admit that the album is growing on me with each new listen and it is a solid album from this legendary group. I just wish overall the album was as thunderous as that first single. Now, that would have made for a MONSTER of an album!

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