‘Monster’ is album #20 for KISS, in a year that sees them celebrating 40 years as a band. Having just celebrated the 35th anniversary of ‘Destroyer’ by re-releasing their stone-cold classic album; it seems to be party central in the KISS-camp.
Anyone who’s been following the build-up to the release of ‘Monster’ will be only too aware that this album has had quite a buzz surrounding it. Cementing the good work put down on last album ‘Sonic Boom’, the band have promised to head back to basics with a straight ahead rock’n’roll album. This includes ditching “the outside writers, the choirs and the ballads”. A brave decision when you consider that KISS’s main chart botherers of the second half of their career have been ballads.
First on the album and the lead single is ‘Hell or Hallelujah’. It’s been around for most of the summer and it’s a typical lead track from the band. A Paul Stanley led stomp through good time rock’n’roll with a hook filled chorus and plenty of air guitar magic from Tommy Thayer. Tommy really stamps his authority on the whole album leaving no doubt who wears the silver paint these days…
Next track ‘Wall of Sound’ is inevitably a Gene led track. With a thunderous bass heavy riff designed to shake stadiums; the track lives up to its name and completes a superb brace of tracks to introduce the album.
‘Monster’ has all the trademarks of a great KISS record but it isn’t KISS by numbers. ‘Freak’ has a group chant chorus and ‘Eat Your Heart Out’ has a raw soul intro that sees the band treading new ground in writing. The record as a whole has more of a classic rock sound, as opposed to the KISS sound that we’ve heard many times over.
There seems to be more influences within the music from the outside, rather than recycling their own work. Most importantly, KISS sound better musicians than they ever have. Often dismissed as showmen, the whole band put in a splendid performance musically. This is the sound of men who want to be taken seriously, even if they are stood there in make-up and high heels!
KISS have lived up to their promises. ‘Monster’ rocks far harder than you’ll ever expect it to. If ‘Sonic Boom’ took you by surprise, ‘Monster’ will blow you away!
‘Monster’ is out now!