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4.09 | 18 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2012

Filed under Hard Rock


1. Hell Or Hallelujah (4:08)
2. Wall Of Sound (2:56)
3. Freak (3:36)
4. Back To The Stone Age (3:02)
5. Shout Mercy (4:05)
6. Long Way Down (4:07)
7. Eat Your Heart Out (3:51)
8. The Devil Is Me (3:41)
9. Outta This World (4:29)
10. All For The Love Of Rock & Roll (3:22)
11. Take Me Down Below (3:25)
12. Last Chance (3:06)

Total Time 43:48


- Paul Stanley / vocals, guitar
- Gene Simmons / vocals, bass
- Tommy Thayer / guitar
- Eric Singer / drums

- Brian Whelan / piano (track 3)

About this release

Release date: October 9, 2012
Label: Universal Music Enterprises

iTunes Edition has following bonus track:

13. Right Here Right Now (3:58)

Japanese Edition has following bonus track:

13. King Of The Night Time World (live) (3:59)

Thanks to Stooge for the addition and Lynx33, diamondblack for the updates

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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Kev Rowland
Back in 1978 I was 15 years old, and looking to expand my musical knowledge so when a mate of mine gave me a cassette with the words ‘Double Platinum’ written on the case I took it home and gave it a fair listen. That night I became a Kiss fan, I knew nothing about them and hadn’t even seen a picture of them but wanted more. It was a bit of a surprise when I saw what they looked like, but I was soon a paid up member of the UK Kiss Army, and had the logo emblazoned on the back of my denim jacket. I finally got to see them at Stafford with the Simmons/Stanley/Cusano/Carr line-up (musically the best in my opinion, although not the most fun as it was a stripped down show with no make-up or effects). After a while I moved on, and didn’t search out the band as much as I had previously, as ‘Animalize’ was a disappointment for me (although not nearly as much as ‘Dynasty’ or ‘Unmasked’ to be fair), and I couldn’t see them ever doing anything worthwhile again, although I was hopeful. But, then the originals got back together and I caught them on the reunion tour in ’96 and once again I toyed with their music but while it was okay, it wasn’t great. What has happened to the band I had once loved so much? When I saw the reviews for ‘Sonic Boom’ I was amazed, so sought it out and while it was okay, it wasn’t brilliant. Many critics were saying that it was the best thing for years, but when the albums being compared against are ‘Hot In The Shade’ et al is it really that hard?

So when ‘Monster’ started being touted as the best thing since sliced bread I was more than a little dubious. True, this line-up has now been together for quite some time (even if it is only their second album together), but how could the new album compare against the old?

So, I put it on and for the next 52 minutes was mesmerised, as this really is the Kiss of old. It has to be the best studio album of theirs since ‘Lick It Up’ in ’83, and it might even be the best since ‘76’s ‘Destroyer’ – and I have every studio album they have released so I’m not saying that lightly. This is Kiss doing what they do best, anthem after anthem with just a little tongue in cheek as first Paul and then Gene take the lead vocals. “Freak” is a nod back to “God Of Thunder” and I found that I was comparing the new songs to the old. This is particularly true of the songs where Tommy and Eric take the leads. “Outta This World” could have come from the spaceman as it tips the hat to “Rocket Ride” while Eric’s “All For The Love of Rock & Roll” has the cat all over it. The penultimate song of the album proper (I have ‘The International Tour Edition’ which has a bonus song, and there is another version that has a live cut of “King of the Night Time World” as well) is “Take Me Down Below” which sounds like a Gene special (although apparently co-written by Paul, Gene and Tommy) but although he sings the first verse, Paul takes the second. I have been racking my brain and can’t think of another instance where this has happened.

If you have never heard a Kiss album then this isn’t the place to start, get the ‘Alive’ albums then ‘Destroyer’, followed by ‘Love Gun’ and ‘Rock and Roll Over’. But, if you have ever worn the make-up or sung along to “Rock n Roll All Nite” then take it from me that these guys are back with a bang. Now, where are my platforms??...
Monster is the twentieth official studio album by the legendary American Rock band Kiss, it was released in 2012, around fourty years after the band’s inception, it was produced by Paul Stanley and Greg Collins and it is their second studio album with the Stanley/Simmons/Singer/Thayer line-up (although Singer and Thayer have both been involved with the band in different capacities for years and years).

Monster follows up the 2009 Sonic Boom album, which was seen by a great many fans as a return to form, or reaffirmation of the band’s quality and as probably one of the band’s best efforts since the Seventies. A large part of the album’s success was in deliberately using equipment and tones that they would’ve used in the Seventies, as well as concentrating on the Hard Rock part of their signature sound and not filling the album up with experiments, strings, choirs or ballads. Monster is very much constructed in the same vein as Sonic Boom

Throughout their history the band have also made some questionable decisions with regards to hiring outside writers to contribute to the albums instead of band members, and with Monster, the band are making a big deal out of the fact that the band sat down and wrote all the material themselves.

The material that the band came out with has everything you’d expect from a Kiss album that’s mission statement is pure hard Rock. If it wasn’t so enjoyable it would almost seem like a cynical textbook run through of how to write and structure good Rock music.

There’s loads of lead guitar, there are fun and simple drumbeats that make everything catchy, as well as touches of cowbells and hand-claps to make it fun, there’s a mix of different vocals (Paul and Gene take lead vocals on different tracks as usual, and the other guys get a bit of an airing too, like on Sonic Boom) and structurally there are a lot of fun stop/start mechanics and instrument-drop-in-drop-out dynamics.

The album kicks off with the energetic lead single ‘Hell Or Hallelujah’ which is reminiscent of some sort of mixture of pre-existing high energy Kiss songs like ‘I Stole Your Love’ ‘Modern Day Delilah’ and ‘I Pledge Allegiance To The State Of Rock And Roll.’ Its simple enough to be fun, but it has a bit of depth to it too, its heavy for Kiss’ standards, and there’s great lead guitar work. It’s a bit of a shame that there’s nothing else on the album that’s this fast though, about two more songs in this tempo would’ve really did it for me personally.

There are some great slower, but still hard tracks like ‘Wall Of Sound’ which actually reminds me of Foghat more than anything, as well as ‘The Devil Is Me’ and ‘Take Me Down Bellow’ which are great stompy hard rock moments.

There are also a few tracks like ‘Long Way Down,’ which has a Zeppelin sort of feel in parts, and ‘All For The Love Of Rock N Roll’ that aren’t really in the same sort of driving pounding direction at all and add a bit variety to the album.

My favourite track on the album is probably ‘Back To The Stone Age’ which seems like a sneaky modernization of ‘Deuce’ but is still a great song despite the obvious homage.

To be fair, its surprising that any band this far into their career can put out such a fresh and energetic record but of course, some people will just never ever like any Kiss without Peter Criss or Ace Frehley in the line-up and if you haven’t liked anything the band have done in ages, then I don’t see this record changing your mind.

Overall the album is pretty much in the same vein as Sonic Boom; not identical but certainly similar, and if you liked that album, then I imagine that this will satisfy you as well. If you desperately need originality or youthful sounds then look elsewhere, but if you like solid, classic sounding, mid-tempo rock music its surely worth a listen. It isn’t the best album that any band made ever, but its definitely one of the best Kiss albums since the Seventies.

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