Kiss’s New CD Monster WOW Really?

I’m a pretty huge Kiss fan, the real kiss that is. Ace, Peter, Gene and Paul, the Real Kiss. Although I give Props to the Bruce Kulick years make up free they had very few songs outside of “God Gave Rock and Roll to you” and some of the heavily influenced Bruce Kulick tracks that I liked. Beyond that Rock and Roll over was the last good Kiss record that I purchased. That old school raw 3 chord gang vocal hard rock and roll, they did it and they did it well.
I’ve listed to monster streamed twice over the interwebs and was like wow, this is worth another spin. At $7 bucks on itunes I said sure yeah why not. For my taste this is the best album Kiss has done since 1976. This album has some really good hard rock songs on it, many of them much more than the usual KISS 3 chord “rock and roll” arrangements they’re known for. Paul Stanley produced this album and Clearly let Tommy Thayer out of his cage a bit. On their last release Sonic Boom Thayer played all old Ace Frehley licks through the record. On Monster he doesn’t play all the same Ace Frehley inversions he’s doing his own thing in his arrangements especially the great guitar solos he did on this release.

The songs on this CD are the strongest Kiss have assembled since the 70’s. They’re solid, they rock, they have content and something to say on several tracks which is pretty epic for the band who did Christine Sixteen. Wall of Sound a Gene Simmons track just kicks ass, Great track from a guy who hasn’t written one in a long time. Back to the Stone age another Simmons track sounds like Heavy Metal Mot the Hoople of the new millennium, very hooky very cool a little weak lyrically in the first verse but hell it’s Kiss.  Long way down a Paul Stanley track is quintessential Paul Stanley but broken out of that 3 chord rock song cage, the arrangement is sharp especially for a Kiss song. Tommy Thayer plays the shite out of this track with some seriously funk inspired licks and a really beautifully arranged guitar solo that’s simple but really melodic, it’s a top pick for the entire CD for me. Then there’s all for the love of rock and roll vocal by Eric Singer who hit’s it out of the park! Not only does Eric’s voice naturally sound like Peter Criss but the song has a strong R & B feel to it in the vein of Baby Driver and Hooligan from the early years. Written by Paul Stanley I think this track should have been the first single.

Tommy Thayer wrote and sings a song titled Outta This World that I thought was Gene Simmons until I looked at the credits. Genes voice changed noticeably around Love Gun record, his performance on the first 3 albums were really different then all of his later songs. Tommy Thayer really resembles Gene on the first 3 KISS records on this track, it’s uncanny how much he channeled early Gene Simmons. Eric Singer (one of my all time favorite drummers) and Thayer really come into their own on Monster. Although Gene Simmons stated the record was done all analog I don’t buy it. It was edited in Pro Tools or Logic. The guitars are to perfectly synced, the drums sound quantized in a few spots although not to many and the vocals have been pitched corrected. I have no question in my mind it was edited digital no matter how it was recorded. It has a slick Nashville production vibe to it much like Sonic Boom.
I give Monster 4 out of five stars, the best KISS album since 1976 IMO.

5 responses to “Kiss’s New CD Monster WOW Really?

  1. Hey Dino! Awesome post and impressive analysis. Funnily enough just an hour ago I pondered the fact that I don’t really own any KISS albums and should change that. Thanks to your post, I now know where to start. :) Seeing as I’m a die-hard Age-of-Johnny Skynyrd fan, I’m a sucker for simple but strong chord progressions and evolved Hard Rock. I’ll definitely give it a go! P.S.: Your post could need the one or other grammatical polish

    • Mike good to see you back and around! I know I didn’t prof read it and Yoda the Dyslexic one is all knowing tonight. I’m to tired to fix it, it will have to wait till tomorrow.

      • So I got the CD. Listened to a couple of the tracks – not all of them, but some – and I really like it. :) It’s not really being a deliverance – but it’s rock solid Hard Rock. And nothing less. :)

        Also I’m still around… just music theory got me SO bored that I actually stopped updating my blog. I suck. But, hey, at least I finally got Rocksmith, and it’s a real revelation! Also, it revealed that I suck. But maybe I’ll write a blogpost about that. ^^

    • Hey Mike! Good to see you around! Rocksmith really helped with my picking technique. It was the Expert level of that Queens Of The Stone Age song Go With The Flow. It kicked my ass! The way the latency works out on the XBOX, the grouping of those fast repetitive notes over such a long song and the fact that I had to alternate pick every note of the track. Every time I cross picked I’d have a latency issue with the XBOX and the note would miss even if I nailed it. By the time I passed that song on Expert my right hand felt like it was on fire, the fatigue was painful but the next day I could feel how much better my alternate picking was. I think that game is the greatest thing for guitarists and kids that want to learn to play. I can’t wait until the PC version comes out!

      • Well it is already out… we in Europe got it last. It should be available in the US – and it should have been so for a couple of months already. I suggest you buy the Steam version – providing you have Guitar/USB-cables.

        Speed is really my nemesis, too – but also were I found I improved very quickly. There’s one song where I need to strum a lot of single notes and “small” power chords (They’re called “full stops”) in fast repetition. Hanging my guitar lower, and after struggling with the first set, it suddenly came naturally to me. As if somebody turned a switch. And then I could do it! It probably still sounded bad outside of the song (I tried) but at least I’m on the very right track. It was a really amazing feeling.

        Less than amazin was trying to even play the verse of my beloved Sweet Home Alabama on more than 50% mastery. So far I improved to 85% – which I consider very good – but it’s still not the real deal. I’m frustrated it takes so long to learn to play it – but as always I’ll bite my way through it. But, holy hell, is this song difficult!