In the last 10 years, Ace has been quite productive with four solo albums, including this one over that time span. How many albums has Kiss put out (studio albums, not greatest hits or live albums)? Only 2 with no signs of anything new coming. I would say Ace is winning in this category.
Ace’s new album is a throwback of sorts. Let’s start with that cover. The cover is paying homage to the photo shoot from his 1978 Kiss solo album which was 40 years ago. Here is the picture I found on pinterest…
The album title as well is a throwback to his days as “The Spaceman” in the Band. He will always be the Spaceman in my book (even though Tommy Thayer is killing it as that character in the band now).
The whole album has a reflective feel to it. As Ace has gotten older (and sober), he seems to be reflecting on the past and with songs like “Bronx Boy” and “Rockin’ with the Boys” (the first two singles) you definitely get that feeling that he now appreciates his past, embraces it and thinks fondly of it. Heck, even the cover song he does, “I Wanna Go Back” (Eddie Money cover), is looking back. And makes me think he wants the Kiss job again.
Let’s get to the music and the songs…
The album opens with the song “Without You I’m Nothing” and I think it is a great opening track. Good rocking song and some classic Ace guitar work. And the whole album has great little solos by Ace that are why you want to this album to begin with. This opening song was written with former bandmate, Gene Simmons who also plays bass. Gene is also responsible for co-writing “Your Wish Is My Command”, but that song doesn’t work for me. It seems like it should be a Kiss song and have Gene’s vocal growl to it. It is missing that punch, but the solo is awesome.
I mentioned “Rockin’ With the Boys” and “Bronx Boys” earlier, but I didn’t mention what I thought of those songs. I thought they were both brilliant. Old school rockers that would have fit nicely back in the 70’s just as well as they do today. And for me, “Bronx Boys” just gets better with every listen and is one of my favorites from the album.
The final song on Side One is “Pursuit of Rock and Roll” is another favorite of mine. Ace is looking back again with the lyrics as he celebrates all his rock influences from the past and name checks them all nicely into the song. This is just Ace at the top of his game.
The Eddie Money cover, “I Wanna Go Back”, opens Side Two and is that one cover Ace has on every album (when he isn’t doing a full cover album). This one holds up really well and might be his best…okay, maybe not as “Do Ya” is still my favorite cover he has done. It is up there though. I hadn’t heard the original in quite awhile and I realized that it is such a well-written song. Eddie was the man back in the day!!
Now we get to “Mission to Mars”. This might be the best song on the album for me. Just a screamer of a rocker. Ace is tearing it up on this one. It is probably the heaviest song on the album and the most aggressive. It is just so freakin’ good to me. It is what I love about Ace’s guitar playing. Check it out.
“Off My Back” is my least favorite on the album. Lyrically he is laying in to an old love I assume, but musically and vocally this song missed the mark for me. It felt like it was missing something. It seemed to meander along and the pacing was off, but Ace is great on the guitar solo.
Now the song ends with something has done quite a lot and ending with an instrumental. “Quantum Flux” has a progressive rock feel and it is in the same vein as “Fractured Mirror” from the 1978 Solo album. It has an acoustic guitar backing up his amazing electric guitar work. Best one he has done in quite awhile.
Now, the album came with a Digital Download card, but this one was different. It was plastic like a credit card with a cool picture of Ace. It was more of a collectible than a piece of paper you would throwaway once you downloaded the album. I wish more bands would do this.
And lastly, the album I got was the Silver Edition vinyl. I don’t think I have a Silver disc in my collection. There is a cool Orange one floating around the Independent Record stores you can pick up and I wish I wouldn’t have ordered so early so I could get that. It has a different cover too…maybe I will still get it.
And there you have it. I really thought this was a great album by Ace. There were a couple songs I liked a little less than others, but I would not delete them so maybe I will take 1/2 point off each. That would make the track listing score an 8 out 9 or 89%. The total package score of this album is a 4 out 5 stars. Ace’s guitar work is awesome, the vocals are pretty good for Ace and the songs just kick ass. I liked the track order and the flow and it is one of the better albums he has put out recently. Damn fine work sir!!
Now, I have a comment about Ace and the fact he fired his band right after the release of this album. Dude!!!…Douchebag move!!! Scott Coogan (drummer) is awesome and has done some great work for you and your touring band. Chris Wyse…he will be fine as he is extremely busy all the time and in demand. The suckiest part was firing Richie Scarlet right after his wife died. Fucking harsh man. Also, just sucky all around as this was a great band you had. All for saving a buck…you have been hanging around Gene way too long. I should deduct another point off my score for this move, but I won’t because that is not fair to the album. Okay, off my soapbox.
Anyway, if you are a fan of Ace’s music…this is a must have. You won’t be disappointed.