Whether or not you consider Kiss to be a metal band, I don’t believe that anyone could argue that their 1982 album Creatures of the Night is a heavy metal record. And a damn fine one at that!
Here with the epic anthem “War Machine” from the Creatures of the Night record is the mighty Kiss.
After the failed pop crossover attempts of their two previous records Music from the Elder and Unmasked, the band roared back with their heaviest record to date. Creatures of the Night was the first album without founding drummer Peter Criss, who was replaced by powerhouse drummer Eric Carr. It would also be the last album to credit founding lead guitarist Ace Frehley as a member. The credit was mostly lip service though, as Frehley’s replacement Vinnie Vincent wrote half of the record and played most of the guitar parts on it.
Creatures of the Night would also be Kiss’ last record for Casablanca records. Label head and Kiss benefactor Neil Bogart died of cancer during the recording sessions. The band used an opt out clause in their contract to become free agents and ended up signing a highly lucrative deal with Mercury records going forward.
The Kiss Army were pleased with the band’s return to form, as were critics. The tour for the album (which I was fortunate enough to witness first-hand) featured opening acts Wendy O Williams and the Plasmatics as well as a bunch of young upstarts named Motley Crue, who were touring behind their stellar debut album Too Fast for Love. Creatures sold no better than its predecessors at the time, but in retrospect is widely considered to be one of the band’s strongest efforts.
Vinnie Vincent’s tenure with Kiss would be a short and rocky one. Eric Carr, on the other hand, would probably still be the drummer had he not passed away in 1991 from heart cancer. Carr is still one of the fans’ most beloved members of the band to this day.
This Massive Metal Monday is dedicated to the memories of Neil Bogart and Eric Carr.
When I was growing up in rural Indiana in the early ’80s, there was very limited access to heavy music. These were the days before MTV blew up with the whole hair metal, Headbangers Ball phenomenon. But on Sunday nights, there was a two-hour radio show that came from WOXY, just across the state line in Oxford, Ohio (home of Miami University of Ohio). It was called Massive Metal for the Masses and I would wait all week for it to air. It was through this show that I was introduced to bands like Venom, Bathory, WASP, Michael Schenker Group, Slayer, and countless others. This Monday weekly column is my tip of the hat to that show. I call it Massive Metal Monday. Every week, I will pay tribute to defining moments by the artists that laid the groundwork for heavy metal to become the worldwide cultural bond for all of us metal heads.