KISS – Monster

KISS - Monster

Released on October 9, 2012 (UMe)

Track List:
01. Hell Or Hallelujah
02. Wall Of Sound
03. Freak
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
iTunes Bonus Track:
13. Right Here Right Now

Band Members:
Paul Stanley – vocals and guitar
Gene Simmons – vocals and bass
Tommy Thayer – lead guitar and vocals
Eric Singer – drums and vocals

Additional Musicians:
Brian Whelan – piano (3)

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

Walking through a large retailer’s ‘Entertainment’ section on a Sunday afternoon, the last thing I thought I would run across was KISS‘ brand new CD Monster — two days before its supposed official release in North America on October 9th. After quickly cancelling my order via Amazon, I picked up the new KISS album at this large retailer’s store.

Having already heard the first single “Hell Or Hallelujah” a number of times, I was excited to see if KISS could deliver an entire CD of great and similar type songs — or even a worthy follow up to their stellar 2009 release Sonic Boom. KISS had promised once again that there would be no ballads and simply great rockers from beginning to end.

Monster starts off with “Hell Or Hallelujah”, and for those who have not heard this song yet, it simply rocks from start to finish complete with Ace Frehley-like solos throughout. It is simply a worthy and better successor to Sonic Boom‘s debut single, “Modern Day Delilah”. The next song is a Gene Simmons sung one called “Wall Of Sound”, and it’s a typical Simmons song played a bit faster than his usual stuff. The next four tracks quickly roll by and sound fairly similar with nothing really standing out aside from the stellar guitar solos by Tommy Thayer.

“Eat Your Heart Out” however is a little different with its intro (I’ll let you check it out) and sounds like a classic Simmons fronted tune with a phenomenal guitar solo. This song could have easily found its way on many prior KISS classics including Rock And Roll Over. “The Devil Is Me” is another Gene Simmons piece which is again surprisingly good. In the last 20 plus years I had gotten used to the best compositions on any new KISS album being sung by Paul Stanley, but on Monster the Demon gives the Starchild a good run for his money.

One song for which I have little time for is the Tommy Thayer penned “Outta This World”. It sounds quite bland, seems to go on forever, and should have simply been left off Monster. Unfortunately, the CD does not pick up with the next song, “All For The Love of Rock & Roll”, which again sounds bland and is played a little slower than it could have been. However, the best parts of the CD are likely Tommy Thayer‘s guitar solos, which is not a big surprise considering Thayer has songwriting credits on nine of the 12 songs here.

There is no comparison between Sonic Boom and MonsterSonic Boom is easily hands down the better album. Monster may have the best song, “Hell Or Hallelujah”, but the previous effort has way more quality songs including the very underrated Eric Singer sung “All For The Glory”. Perhaps my expectations were too high after having heard Sonic Boom a few years ago, but Monster does not live up to what I was hoping for — then again, this is still a good CD… just not a great one. At the end of the day KISS scores huge points for continuing to release solid new music while many other bands either release nothing, a teaser track here and there (Twisted Sister and Motley Crue), or simply something terrible (take a listen to Queensryche‘s Dedicated To Chaos). Hopefully, KISS will be releasing at least one more studio album in the future… with Paul and Gene.

Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, September 2012

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