KISS – Sonic Boom

KISS Sonic Boom cover 2

Chart Position #2

Track List:
01. Modern Day Delilah
02. Russian Roulette
03. Never Enough
04. Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect)
05. Stand
06. Hot And Cold
07. All For The Glory
08. Danger Us
09. I’m An Animal
10. When Lightning Strikes
11. Say Yeah
Kiss Klassics Bonus Disc:
01. Deuce
02. Detroit Rock City
03. Shout It Out Loud
04. Hotter Than Hell
05. Calling Dr. Love
06. Love Gun
07. I Was Made For Lovin’ You
08. Heaven’s On Fire
09. Lick It Up
10. I Love It Loud
11. Forever
12. Christine Sixteen
13. Do You Love Me
14. Black Diamond
15. Rock And Roll All Nite
Bonus Live DVD:
01. Deuce
02. Hotter Than Hell
03. C’mon And Love Me
04. Watchin’ You
05. 100,000 Years
06. Rock And Roll All Nite

Paul Stanley – vocals and guitar
Gene Simmons – vocals and bass
Tommy Thayer – guitar and vocals
Eric Singer – drums and vocals

Produced by Paul Stanley. Co-produced by Greg Collins.

Review by Greg Troyan:
It’s 10:30 PM. It’s been a long day at work but the day is now done.┬áTimes are tough in this economy. Sure, I have no debt, but I have no money either. I can barely afford to put gas in my tank. I realize that Wal-Mart is across the street, and I know I won’t have to work for a couple days because I’ve got my classes and my internship, and it wouldn’t be worth the gas money to go back home and go back to Wal-Mart. So I go in the store.

I go to the entertainment section in the back of the store and ask if I can buy the new Kiss album (which features a bonus disc of re-recorded songs and a bonus DVD) at midnight. I’m told I’ll be able to buy it at 12:20, because that’s when the registers switch over, but they can take a copy up front and leave a note to sell it to “the blonde in the work uniform.” I wander around the store, go outside to do homework, talk with a friend on my cell and then talk to a woman who works at the store who happened to be named “Beth”. I fill up the time between 10:30 and 12:20 the best I can. And then, when the time arrives, I purchase my copy of Sonic Boom. My first new Kiss album. The lineup of Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer was the first concert I had ever seen, on their 2004 Rock The Nation tour (I was 14), and it’s the concert that got me into music. And here it was. The new Kiss album, 11 years in the making. I go to the car and open it on the way. I check out the discs and notice that the bonus DVD is scratched up like the opposite side of the Guns N’ Roses Greatest Hits CD. I go back into the store and exchange it for a new copy.

I knew what to expect. I had heard “Modern Day Delilah” a while ago and put it on a couple mix CDs, and I had heard the whole album on YouTube a couple days before buying the CD. And I had someone send me the Jigoku-Retsuden tracks, so I knew what I was buying before I bought it. But, let me tell you something, YouTube does not do the production of the album justice. It has phenomenal production. Recording in analog wasn’t a gimmick, it is truly one of the best produced albums of the new millennium.

Kiss has returned with one of the band’s most solid releases ever. A mish-mash of all eras of Kiss, it’s an album full of rockers, and there’s not a single ballad or outside songwriter to be found. The album starts off with “Modern Day Delilah”, the first single, which is a great album opener with a riff reminiscent of 70s Kiss. There’s a very cool break-down in the song where Paul does a metal scream behind only the drum part before kicking back in to the rest of the song. “Modern Day Delilah” lets you know that Kiss is back and that they are ready to rock, but I don’t necessarily think it’s the wisest idea to let the song stay as the single for long. It’s a very cool rocker, but not a very commercial or radio friendly song.

“Russian Roulette” is the first Gene Simmons song on the album, and also his strongest offering. The walking bassline is on of The Demon’s coolest in Kisstory. “Never Enough”, another Paul song, is a huge rip-off of Poison‘s “Nothin’ But A Good Time”. Still a good song, but an obvious steal. “Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect)” is a fun Gene song reminiscent of the Rock And Roll Over era.

“Stand” is one of the coolest songs on the album, an anthem that rocks pretty hard with an epic chorus. Kiss anthems are usually about standing on your own, but this offers the new lyrical theme of relying on other people. A friendship anthem, and a well done one at that, it is one of the best on the album.

“Hot And Cold” wins points for having the most 70s sounding chorus out of any of the tunes on the album. It sounds like it could have come off of Rock And Roll Over. “All For The Glory”, sung by Eric Singer, is quite possibly the best song on the album and one of the songs with the biggest likelihood of being a hit in today’s market. It’s a cool song that appeals to basically everybody. It rocks hard, but it’s also catchy and epic and anthemic. So they probably won’t release it as a single.

“Danger Us” has an extremely corny title, but after reading the lyrics and listening to the song, you get completely behind it. “I’m An Animal” is a slow, plodding Gene number with elements of Black Sabbath. It’s an obvious attempt at a demonic character song for him, and the worst song on the album. It’s not because it’s a bad song, it’s simply because the album is very good and something has to come in last place.

“When Lightning Strikes”, on the other hand, is one of the album’s highlights. For everybody who heard Tommy Thayer sing bits of “Shout It Out Loud” live and were afraid of him taking over lead vocals, this track should silence the critics. He sounds killer and the song has that great 70s glam rock groove.

The last song on the album is quite possibly the album’s ‘classic’ tune. A song that could be a huge hit, and a song that is practically begging to be played live. “Say Yeah” is a powerful anthem that borrows the ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’ from The Beatles song “She Loves You” for its chorus, and it has a wonderful a powerful epic feel to it.

Each song on the album is tight and sounds great with Paul Stanley‘s production. Sonic Boom is a strong, consistent album that ranks in the same league as the band’s 70s material. One of the most solid albums in the band’s history. Was it worth waiting around Wal-Mart a couple hours after work? I’d say so. –

Reviewed by Greg Troyan for Sleaze Roxx, October 2009.

Review by Edward Cieplinski:
When the recording of Sonic Boom was completed, the four members of Kiss promised an album of ‘meat and potatoes’. No outside writers. No ballads. No keyboards. Not only did they deliver on those promises, they also managed to cram the best of every era of the band into an 11 song CD.

The opening track “Modern Day Delilah” is the perfect way to get things started. With a steady groove that thumps along, the song is symbolic in a sense that it is reminiscent of the Creatures Of The Night album, as well the Lick It Up release, a time when Kiss were finding themselves again. It was the re-birth of Kiss and this tune says exactly that. “Russian Roulette” is Gene Simmons at his ambitious best. From mid tempo, to slow, to fast, it’s both catchy and crushing at the same time. “Never Enough” could have fit nicely and stood tall on Destroyer, Crazy Nights or Hot In The Shade. “All For The Glory” is a fast one with a killer melody. On this track, not only did Eric Singer almost do away with the smashing double bass style and become a more melodic and tasty drummer, he also continued a tradition of raspy voiced singing drummers that Kiss have had throughout the years.

“I’m An Animal” is Gene in a “Rock And Roll Hell”, “God Of Thunder”, “Unholy” kinda mood, with such a badass scream at the end that even if studio trickery were involved, it would still be damn cool. “Lightning Strikes” is the Tommy Thayer sung song on the disc, a cool mid-tempo tune which sounds as if it could’ve been hatched during his Black ‘N Blue days. You can put “Danger Us” on any of Kiss‘ non-makeup releases and it would not only have mixed well, but crushed most of that material. “Stand” is a new type of song for Kiss as Gene and Paul Stanley trade lyrics on this track about camaraderie and friendship. This song and “Say Yeah” are two that hit you in the face with that anthemic, simplistic, giant chorus style that Kiss have made their trademark. “Yes I Know” and “Too Hot, Too Cold” are two Gene songs that takes the listener back to a time when he wrote fun, catchy songs about sex. As a result, these two tunes could go on any Kiss album from their debut up to Love Gun.

Sonic Boom is an album that is 11 years in the making and it does not disappoint. It’s what people want from Kiss, simple, ballsy, and catchy hard rock songs. Paul‘s range is the same as it has always been, but it’s a rougher sounding Paul. It’s a voice that has grown old gracefully, which we all can either identify with or will identify with. Tommy is obviously influenced by Ace Frehley, but he has been able to bring in elements of Bruce Kulick as well. Molding those two styles, along with his own, allows us to enjoy the entire Kiss guitar playing family history.

Sonic Boom sounds like a CD from a band that’s motivated again and willing to be a band again, not just a marketing brand. I don’t know if we’ll have to wait another 11 years for their next release or who will be in Kiss at that point, but I do know that after we all hear Sonic Boom, we’ll all be anxiously awaiting it. –

Reviewed by Bang Your Head With Mike & Ed’s Edward Cieplinski for Sleaze Roxx, October 2009.

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