Kiss – ‘Sonic Boom’ (2009) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

It has been 11 years since Kiss has released a studio album, and on October 6, 2009, we finally got what we had been waiting so long to hear. Now, the band gave us a lot of stuff in those 11 years. We did get greatest hits compilations, live albums, DVDs, solo projects, but we had been wanting a Kiss Studio album of all new songs. And the band finally delivered what we had been longing to hear for over a decade. This time in Kisstory, the band was Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley and current members of Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer. And this album is the first in decades to feature all 4 members of the band playing on the album and writing all the songs. That is right, no outside influences in any way. This was so much of a band album that even Eric and Tommy both had a song to sing. This was just like the old Kiss from the 70’s.

So why did Kiss finally release a new studio album. In part, it was because Paul & Gene didn’t want ‘Psycho Circus’ to be the final Kiss studio album. They were upset that Ace and Peter wouldn’t show up to play on it and what was supposed to be a Kiss album was full of outside writers and players. Now, if you talk to Peter Criss, I believe his story would be more along the line of Gene and Paul didn’t want them playing on it so they paid them not to be on it. That might be partially true, but Ace and Peter were on it, sadly only the songs they sang on. If they didn’t want ‘Psycho Circus’ to be their last studio album, does that mean ‘Sonic Boom’ will be their last? We will have to wait and find out.

When the album was finished it was released exclusively by Wal-mart…yes…Wal-mart. You were not able to get this album from anywhere else if you lived in the U.S. and Canada. Now, they did sweeten the pot with this one as you got a 20-page booklet, the album, a CD of Kiss Klassics and a Bonus DVD of Kiss Live in Buenos Aires. All packaged in a nice cardboard digipack. It is actually quite a bang for the buck. But was it all worth it, let us find out.

The album opener and first single, “Modern Day Delilah”, takes right back to the 70’s with a rockin’ Kiss groove. It has a heavy bass line and some great riffage by Tommy and Eric was laying down a some solid drum fills. Paul sounds great and really hits some massive screams. You are transported back to those early days and you feel like nothing has changed. Kiss was back!! Okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves as there are still a ton of songs left to go through…but what a great opening track.

Next up is “Russian Roulette” which opens with Gene delivering some nasty bass licks before he starts to sing. Since it is Gene, it is dark and full of sexual innuendos because if you pull that trigger, there is only one shot of something that I am sure would impregnate any female within range. Typical Gene fair, but something we have been missing for a long time. Gene isn’t as growly or gritty as in the past, his voice is smooth yet still menacing. Tommy throws on a wicked solo and some cool riffs that adds even more flair to the song. I love me some Gene so this is great.

“Never Enough” doesn’t take me to the 70’s, more like a leftover track from the 80’s. Paul sounds like he still had that colorful spandex on. It is fun, light, infectious and melodic like any 80’s era Kiss. I am mean listen to Paul, did he sing this back then because he sounds the same. Tommy does another solo that could’ve been done by Bruce…it is crazy. Overall, a great radio-friendly track that makes you want to grab your members-only jacket and rock out.

Gene is back with “Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect)”. As typical with a lot of Gene tracks, it has heavy bass lines and again, full of sexualize lyrics. Gene is sounding great vocally and I love Eric’s driving drum beats as he pushes the song along. I could see this being played on almost any Love Gun or Rock & Roll over album. This isn’t my favorite Gene song, but it holds up well enough to continue the fun of the album. Heck, it’s Gene, what else do you need.

Then we get a “Stand” which has vocals shared by Paul and Gene. And who doesn’t love that. When they sing together you know they are going for a pure Rock Anthem. And this one is hit and miss. I love them sharing verses, but that chorus is pretty freakin’ cheesy. It doesn’t make me want to stand up, raise my arms in the air and worship at the alter of Kiss, but at the same time the corniness of the chorus is a little catchy. It seems like it is trying to be “God Gave Rock & Roll To You III”, but just a bit outside. Not their best anthem, but not their worst.

“Hot and Cold” is the third Gene song already and has that nasty bass sound and even has Eric doing cowbell…always need more cowbell. This is a much better effort than Gene’s last one. This one seems to hark back to the 70’s as well and I am not complaining they can hang out in that era all damn day if they want. Tommy knows how to do a solo that has Ace influence and give you a feel that was 70’s as well. He does a bang up job here. Is the Kiss Army still around because I am ready to enlist again!!

Eric Singer finally gets his shot at lead vocals with “All for the Glory”. Eric has always been great as a background vocalists so it is nice to seem him be front and center. It is a very predictable chorus and pretty damn cheesy as well, the kind of cheese that as you pull it away it stretches and stretches and never seems to break and when it finally does it gets all stuck in your beard. I don’t know what that means as that is how lost I am in the song. It is over-the-top goodness and another brutal Thayer solo as he is completely killing it on this album. You can say what you will about Eric and Tommy being in the make-up, but there is no denying their talent.

Now we get to my favorite Paul song all the album, “Danger Us”. The song feels so grand and epic despite the corniest ass lyrics. But musically it is one of the best songs on the album. The bass sounds full and loud, the drums beat like your heart at a million miles an hour and the guitar sound is textured and gritty. I feel it could be a song on “Creatures” as it is pretty heavy. Now on the corny side is the play on the words with Danger Us sounding like Dangerous…get it. Doesn’t matter though, as I think this is still a killer track.

The next track, “I’m An Animal” was written by Simmons, Stanley and Thayer the first to have 3 members in quite awhile. It has Gene on vocals and musically the song is a cross between Sabbath and Zeppelin if I had to make a comparison. It is very heavy and distorted and plain nasty. This is Gene being very menacing and might be his best song on the album, but honestly, the song doesn’t fit with the vibe of the album. It seems a little out of place which sucks because I think it is a solid, bad-ass song. It doesn’t sound like Kiss on this album.

Now we get Tommy Thayer on vocals on “When Lightning Strikes” and what a blast this one is. Written by both Tommy and Paul it is great to see him step out in front as well. He sang at some of the shows, so it is great he gets an album cut as well. There is nothing new about this song as it is typical 70’s Kiss vibe like the rest of the album (just listen to that solo), but having a different voice makes it fresh and exciting. Hell, Tommy has a little Gene vibe to his vocal styling which is cool as well.

And the album ends with I think is a great Kiss song and a new classic, “Say Yeah”. It is Paul on vocals and he sounds amazing on this one. The song is catchy as hell and will get you singing along with that chorus. It has a great hook that slams the chorus home. It is a new anthem and a fantastic closing track. I don’t mind when they play this live, but it is seems to be a bathroom song for most as they never bothered listening to this album which is a shame. This to me is the most Kiss-like song on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Modern Day Delilah – Keeper
  2. Russian Roulette – Keeper
  3. Never Enough – Keeper
  4. Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect) – Keeper (1/2 Point)
  5. Stand – Keeper (1/2 Point)
  6. Hot and Cold – Keeper
  7. All for the Glory – Keeper
  8. Danger Us – Keeper
  9. I’m An Animal – Keeper (1/2 Point – only for not fitting with the album)
  10. When Lightning Strikes – Keeper
  11. Say Yeah – Keeper

The Track Score is 9.5 out of 11 or 86% which is pretty solid.  Now does the album rank as one of the best Kiss albums, no it doesn’t. Is it great for what it is, absolutely but it will never be a classic Kiss album I’m afraid.  I hadn’t heard this one in awhile and I daresay it is way better than I remembered.  I like the old 70’s vibe, I love they attacked it like a band like back in the old days, I think it is great Tommy and Eric got a lead vocal and think they put their hearts and minds in to this record.  Overall, it is a solid 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars and they are hanging with the big boys with this album.  If you want some fresh, old Kiss sounding songs, then look no further.

One of the bonus discs with the album is called ‘Kiss Klassics’, but it is not just another greatest hits compilation. All these songs have actually been re-recorded with the current line-up of Gene, Paul, Eric a& Tommy. I know what you are thinking, didn’t I just review this last week under the title, ‘Jigoku-Retsuden’ which was a Japanese only release? And to answer that I would have to…”Say Yeah”. It is. The band repackaged that disc so the rest of the world would have access to that disc. And that is why I actually haven’t bought that Japanese only disc yet, because I have it here. If you want to read about that review, click on the album title down below.

The second bonus disc is the DVD of part of a live show from the River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina from April 5, 2009. And this is the current line-up which is how these should be done. You only get 6 songs from that show and they are “Deuce”, “Hotter than Hell”, “C’mon and Love Me”, “Watchin’ You”, “100,000 Years” and “Rock And Roll All Nite”. I love that they are all classic era song and I really love “Watchin’ You” and “100,000 Years” so those two are a treat for me. The show is okay, it is loud and bombastic as you would expect, but Paul doesn’t sound all that great anymore…passable, but starting to wain a little. The really cool thing about it is that crazy-ass Argentinian crowd. Those people are nuts. In between songs, they would just start singing…I mean the whole damn crowd. The band would have to stop and they would just listen before having to try and quiet them down. The band was both amazed and I think Paul was a little annoyed. For all of that, it is a cool set.

And here is everything you get…which I have to say was a great little Wal-mart exclusive set!!!

Next Up: Kiss – Monster (2012)

Check out the rest of the series if you have time!!

The Kiss Review Series:

  1. Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)
  2. Kiss – Kiss (1974)
  3. Kiss – Hotter Than Hell (1974)
  4. Kiss – Dressed to Kill (1975)
  5. Kiss – Alive! (1975)
  6. Kiss – Destroyer (1976)
  7. Kiss – “Flaming Youth” 45 Promo Single – Bonus Edition (1976)
  8. Kiss – Special Kiss Album For Their Summer Tour (1976)
  9. Kiss – The Originals (1976)
  10. Kiss – Rock & Roll Over (1976)
  11. Kiss – Love Gun (1977)
  12. Kiss – Alive II (1977)
  13. Kiss – Double Platinum (1978)
  14. Kiss – Paul Stanley (1978)
  15. Kiss – Gene Simmons (1978)
  16. Kiss – Peter Criss (1978)
  17. Kiss – Ace Frehley (1978)
  18. Kiss – Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park Movie (1978)
  19. Kiss – Dynasty (1979)
  20. Kiss – “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” (1979) – 12″ & 7″ Singles (Bonus Edition)
  21. Kiss – Unmasked (1980)
  22. Peter Criss – Out of Control (1980)
  23. Kiss – Music From The Elder (1981)
  24. Kiss – Killers (1982)
  25. Kiss – Creatures of the Night (1982)
  26. Kiss – Lick It Up (1983)
  27. Kiss – Animalize (1984)
  28. Wendy O. Williams – WOW (1984) (Bonus Edition)
  29. Kiss – Animalize Live Uncensored (1985)
  30. Kiss – Asylum (1985)
  31. Kiss – “Tears Are Falling” 7″ Single (Bonus Edition) (1985)
  32. Kiss – Creatures of the Night (1985 Re-Issue)
  33. Vinnie Vincent Invasion – Vinnie Vincent Invasion (1986)
  34. Black N’ Blue – Nasty Nasty (1986)
  35. Ace Frehley – Frehley’s Comet (1987)
  36. Kiss – Exposed VHS (1987)
  37. Kiss – Crazy Nights (1987)
  38. Kiss – “Crazy Crazy Nights” – 12″ Single (Bonus Edition)
  39. Kiss – “Reason To Live” – 12″ Picture Disc (Bonus Edition)
  40. Kiss – Chikara (1988)
  41. Kiss – Smashes, Thrashes & Hits (1988)
  42. Kiss – Hot In The Shade (1989)
  43. Kiss – “God Gave Rock And Roll To You II” (1991) – 12″ Picture Disc
  44. Kiss – Revenge (1992)
  45. Kiss – Alive III (1993)
  46. Kiss – Konfidential VHS (1993)
  47. Kiss – Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved (1994)
  48. Kiss – MTV Unplugged (1996)
  49. Kiss – You Wanted the Best, You Got the Best!! (1996)
  50. Kiss – Greatest Kiss (1997)
  51. Kiss – Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions (1997)
  52. Kiss – Psycho Circus (1998)
  53. Kiss – The Second Coming Documentary (1998)
  54. Eric Carr – Rockology (1999)
  55. Mark St. John – Mark St. John Project (1999)
  56. Eric Singer Project – ESP (1999)
  57. Bruce Kulick – Audiodog (2001)
  58. Kiss – Kiss Symphony: Alive IV (2003)
  59. Gene Simmons – Asshole (2004)
  60. Kiss – Rock the Nation Live! DVD (2005)
  61. Kiss – Alive! The Millennium Concert (2006)
  62. Paul Stanley – Live to Win (2006)
  63. Kiss – Kissology: Volumes 1 to 3 (2006-2007)
  64. Kiss – Jigoku-Retsuden (2008)
  65. Kiss – Sonic Boom (2009)

The Bootleg Series:

  1. Kiss – ‘Accept No Imitations’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ASYLUM TOUR)
  2. Kiss – Look Wot You Dun to Me (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (CRAZY NIGHTS TOUR)
  3. Kiss – The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out! (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DESTROYER TOUR)
  4. Kiss – Return to Capital Center (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DYNASTY TOUR)
  5. Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (HOTTER THAN HELL TOUR)
  6. Kiss – Northhampton PA March 19th, 1975 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DRESSED TO KILL TOUR)
  7. Kiss – The Hottest Show On Earth (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE HOTTEST SHOW ON EARTH TOUR 2010)
  8. Kiss – All the Way to the Ball Room (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (Australian Tour 1995)
  9. Kiss – Kiss of Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (The Rising Sun Tour 2006)
  10. Kiss – Agora Ballroom 1974: The Cleveland Broadcast plus Bonus Cuts (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE KISS TOUR)
  11. Kiss – Hotter Than Hell: Radio Broadcast 1976 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ROCK & ROLL OVER TOUR)
  12. Kiss – The Tickler (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (LICK IT UP TOUR 1983)
  13. Kiss – Barbarize (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – North American Tour)
  14. Kiss – They Only Come Out At Night (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – EUROPEAN TOUR)
  15. Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)

Kiss – The Box Set:

  1. The Box Set (Part 1 of 6)
  2. The Box Set – Disc One 1966-1975 (Part 2 of 6)
  3. The Box Set – Disc Two 1975-1977 (Part 3 of 6)
  4. The Box Set – Disc Three 1976-1982 (Part 4 of 6)
  5. The Box Set – Disc Four 1983-1989 (Part 5 of 6)
  6. The Box Set – Disc Five 1992-1999 (Part 6 of 6)

Gene Simmons – The Vault:

  1. Part 1 – The Grand Opening
  2. Part 2 – Disk 1
  3. Part 3 – Disk 2
  4. Part 4 – Disk 3
  5. Part 5 – Disk 4
  6. Part 6 – Disk 5
  7. Part 7 – Disk 6
  8. Part 8 – Disk 7
  9. Part 9 – Disk 8
  10. Part 10 – Disk 9
  11. Part 11 – Disk 10
  12. Part 12 – The Bonus Disk
  13. Part 13 – The Best Songs of the Vault
  14. Part 14 – The Worst Songs of the Vault
  15. Part 15 – The Final Verdict

21 thoughts on “Kiss – ‘Sonic Boom’ (2009) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

  1. Props to your dedication man, looking at your list of Kiss reviews, you covered A LOT!!! It is pretty freaky how similar Eric and Tommy look like Peter and Ace with the makeup on. ‘Sonic Boom’ sounds like a decent album since the whole band contributed to it and wrote the songs themselves, unlike ‘Psycho Circus.” No doubt there’s a reason why bands play Argentina, the crowds are insane!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s cool Tommy and Eric helped them out, I just wish they had individuality, instead of being Ace and Peter’s replacements. But it’s for the brand, so can’t do anything about that.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Love your review. Nice and detailed and the album package and artwork is fantastic.

    I had high hopes for this one when it came out. “Modern Day Delilah” was a great start. And they had some cool bits in the other songs, but it was all same same of others and then “Say Yeah” started at the end of the album and I was like, yeah I like this one.
    And they are my two favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember the first song and the last song and nothing in the middle. lol. I will need to check this one out at some point again. I never understood the redo of the original songs with hired guns. I know why as its always something between those guys.
    Old dude drama..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I didn’t get into this disc when it first came out, but a while back I made a KISS playlist on my iPhone of all studio albums to play on shuffle, and the individual songs from this one started to grow on me the more I listened. Unlike most KISS albums, I couldn’t recite the track order of Sonic Boom.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I picked this one up a while back cause I liked the artwork. I’ve yet to sit down with it, though… sounds like it addresses the issues I have with some of the earlier Kiss albums, though (some good songs, but sound a wee bit too thin). Anyhoo, you’ve got me thinking I’m in for a treat, so I’ll maybe give this a spin later.

    Liked by 1 person

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