Kiss – ‘Dynasty’ (1979) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

After the solo albums, Kiss jumped back in to the studio in January/February 1979 and began work on their seventh studio album (the solo albums aren’t really considered Kiss Studio albums) to be called ‘Dynasty’. It was set up to be the return of Kiss as it was the band’s first “band” album since 1977’s Love Gun. I say “band” because by this point, “band” is a very loose term.

The band was having serious problems with Peter Criss at this point. Peter had hurt his hand in a car accident, he was heavy in to drugs and alcohol and he was basically difficult to work with. To help try and ease things with Peter, the band hired Vini Poncia as the producer as he produced Peter’s solo album so they thought it would make things easier…it didn’t! In fact, Vini did not feel’s Peter’s playing on the recordings was sub par…basically, it sucked. So, they brought in a drummer to do all the drum parts. His name was Anton Fig and he played drums on Ace’s solo album. Anton played on every song, but one. The one song Peter played on was the one he sang, “Dirty Livin'”. It would also be the last Kiss song he played on any album until 1998’s Pyscho Circus (which is a whole other story to be discussed much later in the series).

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Kiss – ‘Ace Frehley’ (1978) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

When we think of the Kiss Solo albums, we really only have Ace to blame.  Ace was not happy with the band and he wanted to do a side project, but to keep the peace, the idea was floated out there that each member of the band do a solo album and they were all to be released under the Kiss moniker and all on the same day.  A feat never done again by Kiss or any other band and there is a reason for that.  No one can afford all albums at once and not every band member is created equally as Ace proved here.

Ace Frehley’s solo album had the best producer of the four, Eddie Kramer, and it was the one that sounded the most like Kiss.  In the case of the solo albums, this is a Win-Win for Ace!  Ace didn’t deviate from the Kiss sound at all.  In fact, I think he refined it and made it even better.  This would only boost his confidence even more and drive that ego to hit the stratosphere as problems would continue from here on in for Ace and Kiss.  Between his issues and Peter’s, things were about to get dicey.  Enough about that, and back to the solo albums.

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You Picked It!: Stevie Wonder – ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ – Album Review

Alright…You Picked It! And here it is. The one you picked was Stevie Wonder’s ‘Songs in the Key of Life’.  The votes were as follows:

  1. Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life – 7 votes
  2. Genesis – Genesis – 4 votes
  3. Funkadelic – Maggot Brain – 3 votes
  4. Adelitas Way – Shine On – 3 votes (one vote was a Like on Twitter by the band)
  5. Mr. Mister – Welcome to the Real World – 2 votes

Thanks to all for participating.  The October choices will be up on Saturday!

STEVIE WONDER – ‘SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE’

I don’t know what I was thinking when I picked this album to add to the You Pick It ! post. I had completely forgot what a daunting task this would be as this album is considered the best Stevie Wonder album, one of the best albums ever and it is a double LP with 21 songs and at a run time of 1 hour and 45 minutes, it is a lot of ground to cover. When the album easily won the vote count, I became a little freaked on how I was going to do this album any justice. There is really no way I can go song by song as this post would be way too long and you would get bored. So, I am only going to go through what I found to be the highlights of this album which is still quite a lot.

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Kiss – ‘Peter Criss’ (1978) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

The third Kiss solo album in the review series is none other than the Catman, Peter Criss.  Peter’s album was released on the same day as all the other band members on September 18, 1978.  And Peter, sadly, had the least selling and the lowest chart placing on Billboard charts at #43, however, that doesn’t mean it was the worst of the group…ok, yes it does!

Peter’s album was my least favorite, by far, and I haven’t heard it in over 30+ years probably.  And when I pulled it out for this review and gave it a listen, it isn’t bad as I remember.  I think that stems from the fact I know so much more about who Peter is that I feel the album fits him perfectly.  Peter is not a real rock drummer, he has more of a jazz feel and this is more of his style of music.  Does that mean I like this one, no, not at all, but I get it now and I respect him for it.

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Needtobreathe – ‘Out of Body’ – Album Review

A couple months back, Needtobreathe sent out emails to their fans and told us some news about a new album, ‘Out of Body’. However, at the same time they discussed the heartbreaking news that Bo Rinehart, lead guitar and founding member, was leaving the band. This caused great pause to me as Bo is the creative mind behind the band. He did a lot of the art, the video concepts, he was a songwriter as well and a hell of a musician. He was one of the many reasons, I love this band. I now had worries about the new album and how the band was going to sound.

This only left 3 members of the band…

  • Bear Rinehart, lead singer, guitar
  • Josh Lovelace – hammond organ and piano
  • Seth Bolt – bass and drums (not at the same time)

I still ordered the album the day it went available for pre-order and I even ordered the Vinyl and CD bundle because why not. Artistically, the cover of the album was amazing, the color of the vinyl was stunning and everything about the concept was beautiful and some of the best the band has done. And you can see below, everything looks great…

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Collective Soul – ‘Half & Half’ E.P. – Album Review (#RSD)

For the August 29th, 2020 Record Store Day, Collective Soul issued a 12″ EP called Half & Half. It is played at 45 RPMs and consists of 2 new songs and 2 cover songs…thus half and half. The vinyl isn’t an exclusive RSD issue, it is a First Release meaning the band will release this at a later time. I am hoping the fact that his is a clear transparent vinyl will be the exclusive RSD part otherwise the only good about it is that I got to hear it before anyone who gets the regular release.

A few interesting notes on the back cover, the band mentions that their new album ‘Vibrating’ will be coming out soon which probably means this two new songs will be on it, but I hope not the covers then this stays a little special. Also, I find it funny they are all wearing some form of sunglasses and I still get a kick out of Ed Roland now going by E Roland because a) it is must have been hard with such a long name as Ed that E is just easier for his mind and b) he is starting to think he is Price and we will soon be getting a symbol as a name and he is just prepping us.

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Bush – ‘The Kingdom’ – Album Review

The 90’s Post-Grunge band, Bush, bring us their 8th album and first in 3 years.  Post-Grunge?  What the hell is that anyway.  I hate these sub-genre names.  Bush is a Rock band, plain and simple.  And this album is some heavy-ass Rock!!

Gavin Rossdale, the only original member still in the band, gave us an album with so much guitar, some incredible riffs and there is a little anger in the songs that comes through loud and clear.  In what might the bands best album since Razorblade Suitcase, Rossdale shows that he still has life in those bones and still has a lot to say.

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If you saw John Wick 3 last year, you heard “Bullet Holes” and you thought, Damn!  If the album is anything like this, it was is going to be awesome.  And you’d be right! Their next single of the album “Flowers in the Grave” sealed the deal for me, this album had to be heard.  Songs like “Flowers…” were so inviting and accessible.  What do I mean by that?  Yes, what do I mean.  The song felt familiar and catchy and stuck with me and I just connected to it.  When you have songs that can do that, you have an impactful album.

Then you get the next song, “The Kingdom” and your life is changed.  The song is one of the heaviest on the album and maybe that they’ve done. It is an incredible portrait of the state of our world right now.  The star is not only Gavin’s vocals, but Chris Traynor on lead guitar. This album is a showcase of his talent.  He lays down killer riff after killer riff.  The band is hitting on all cylinders with this song and I don’t want to leave out the drum sound on this one either, The newest member, Nik Hughes has an immense sound here.

 

This album goes from one heavy song to the next and you don’t want to skip anything.  “Ghosts in the Machine”, also known as “Slave”, is a favorite with its haunting lyrics and what feels like references to his painful divorce (Apple Music calls it “Ghosts…” and the CD calls it “Slave”).  Then it is “Quicksand” which really sounds like early Bush to me.  There is so much here that remind you of the best of 90’s Bush that you get this big grin on your face when you are listening to it and finding those moments.

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It is one heavy rock song after another until you get to “Undone” which slows things down without losing any of the momentum that has been building.  And by this time in the album you need to catch your breath.  “Undone” is actually quite beautiful and very melodic and I would think it takes me back to “Glycerine”.  And the album ends with “Falling Away” and it leaves you wanting more.  The song is not that heavy, but not a ballad either.  Somewhere in between and it is so melodic, catchy and there is a tenderness to its sound you can’t help but become engrossed.

I could go on and on, but let’s be honest, I would be repeating myself on how great this album truly is.  It has already garnered a listen every single day since its release and will garner more to come.  Gavin Rossdale has given us an album that could be a pinnacle in the career of Bush.  It is one of the band’s heaviest sounding albums, the production is polished and lays Rossdale’s vocals front and center, it is melodic, accessible, inviting and everything you want in a rock album.  It is as close to perfection as you can get.  With all that being sad, this is easily a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars!!

 

Kiss – ‘Gene Simmons’ – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

The second Kiss solo album in the review series is none other than the Demon himself, Gene Simmons.  Gene’s album was released on the same day as all the other band members on September 18, 1978.  And Gene had the distinction of being the highest ranked album on the Billboard charts at #22, however, that doesn’t mean it was the best of the bunch.

Gene approached his album a little different than the other members.  Gene wanted as many people as he could possibly get to appear on his album.  And he delivered a smorgasbord of guest including Joe Perry from Aerosmith, his current girlfriend Cher, Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen, Bob Seger, Helen Reddy, Donna Summer, Michael Des Barres and an unknown artist at the time Katy Sagal (you know her as Peg Bundy from Married with Children). And an interesting note on the album is that Gene did not play bass on it at all, that was handled by Neil Jason.

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Def Leppard – ‘Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 29 March 2019’ – #RSD – Album Review

On Record Store Day, August 29, 2020, I was able to pick up a few albums and one of the ones on my list this time around was a Def Leppard release of the live performance of their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony on March 29, 2019. For a band that once said, live albums were for bands that couldn’t come up with anything else, they have now put out a bunch of live material since those words years ago. I’m not complaining, just saying.

As you know if you follow this site, I buy anything and everything Def Leppard and I figured this is a nice piece for the collection as it is a special moment in the band’s history. This band that I like so much was voted in to the 2019 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!! That means…well…it really means nothing, but still a cool honor for the guys. A little more validation that they are a great band so screw you haters out there that think differently!!! I will unfriend you and delete you because that is how Facecrack works right!!

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Kiss – ‘Paul Stanley’ (1978) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

By 1978, Kiss had reached the peak of stardom.  They were flying high and a couple members were too.  Trouble was brewing and most especially with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. From what I have read, they both wanted to do solo albums, but the band needed to keep the train rolling.  So Bill Aucoin and others came up with a strategy to help keep the peace.  The entire band would each do a solo album and they would all be released at the same time on the same day, however, they would be under the Kiss umbrella.  Brilliant or Stupid was still yet to be seen.  No band had ever attempted this prior or since and probably for good reason.

Each member had to find their own producer, their own musicians as no one in the band played on the other persons record.  It took a lot of time and while they were working on the records, the label released ‘Double Platinum’ which we discussed last week.  All the albums came out on the same day, September 18, 1978.  Now I needed to decide what order to review these so it wouldn’t look like I was showing favorites so I let the posters do the talking.  The order of these Solo reviews is based on how the posters piece together from left to right.  In that case, Paul Stanley’s album is up first.

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