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Music Review: Kiss ‘Monster’
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Obi-Dan   |  
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KISS: MonsterMonster
KISS
Produced by Paul Stanley
UMe
October 9, 2012 (US) CD | MP3
October 8, 2012 (UK) CD | MP3

After an 11-year gap between albums last time out, KISS stomped on the heads of the naysayers and showed the world they were once again (or always were) a relevant band in rock and roll with love guns at the ready. Realizing they were on to something good, they wasted little time in releasing the appropriately titled Monster.

KISS teased us with “Hell Or Hallelujah” way before the release and it gets Monster off to a flier with its infectious guitar riff and superb Paul Stanley lead vocal. We all know the life story of Gene Simmons’ monster, but he has thankfully put it away long enough to put his mind to better use. “The Devil Is Me” and “Eat Your Heart Out” bounce along on that trademark groin-rumbling bass sound and he is up to his usual tricks on the gloriously filthy “Take Me Down Below.”

It could be argued there are a couple of side-steps in “Freak” and “Back To The Stone Age”; teenage lust sung through old man loins. But it could also be argued that if you were looking for music that didn’t come with a hard two-fingered poke in the eye of the face of subtlety, well, you’ve come to the wrong party, Mister/Missus. Who cares if they are twice the age of their hair, their hips gleam with artificial youth, and their sex tapes are as erotic as Mike Tyson’s bum hair? It’s KISS! And this could be the best album of their career.

Take any track and it could easily stand up against just about any of their previous lead tracks; the guitar licks are loud and proud, plenty of rock with the roll. It might not be much to boast about, but it gives a handful of albums (I’m looking at you, unmasked-‘80s) a good long-tongued licking.

Thanks to 2009’s Sonic Boom album it became apparent for those who had not seen KISS in a live capacity in recent years that those known as ‘hired guns’ were pretty good. But maybe there was still a suspicion that Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer were let out of their cages a little, but were told to go straight back before people started to realize. This time Thayer and Singer prove their worth to KISS. Thayer co-wrote most of the album, much of it with Stanley, and the double-tap of “Outta This World” and “All for the Love of Rock & Roll” with Thayer and Singer’s lead vocals stand proud on the record.

In a live setting is where KISS truly comes alive. A great KISS song can easily be transferred from record to stage, the tricky part has always been to capture what would happen on a stage in a studio. The greatest compliment to pay Monster would be these are ready-made arena fillers with big choruses and riffs you can dance to. It may not be a giant step in the KISS world, but it is definitely a sure-footed one.

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