After just finishing the Kiss Review Series, I have come to realize I have a ton of posts that are about Kiss. I figured (thanks to the help of Mike Ladano) that putting all the links to every Kiss Post in one post might be convenient for the readers of this site. I have everything from Album Reviews, to Book Reviews, to Concert Reviews to almost anything you can think of, I’ve probably written about it. And the good thing is, I will continue to have Kiss Posts as I find more vinyl I don’t have in my collection, more videos, more books, more bootlegs, more tour books and more of well…Kiss. So, I will continually be updating this post with the latest Kiss posts. You might want to bookmark this page for easy reference.
As of right now there are 155 Posts of Kiss…This might take you a while to go through so sit back, grab some coffee and enjoy!!
We are finally to the end of the Kiss Review Series. And like I like to do at the end of each series is Rank the Studio Albums from Worst to First and we aren’t going to do it any differently here. There are 24 Studio albums and since there are so many, I am keeping the summaries brief and no videos as I usually like to post a video with each album, but just way too many to do this time around.
Kiss began in 1973 and are still around today, but the last studio album was in 2012. It started with the original four – Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. Then came Eric Carr who replaced Peter Criss; then Vinnie Vincent who replaced Ace Frehley; then Mark St. John to replace Vinnie and then Bruce Kulick replaced Mark; and it continues with Eric Singer replacing Eric Carr after his death and then Peter & Ace came back in and out after the reunion and then finally Tommy Thayer replaced Ace for good. Lots of changes, but Gene and Paul are always the consistent formula that has kept Kiss “Alive” all these years. For the diehard fan, remember, this is my opinion and your favorites are probably going to be different, but it is okay as we both love Kiss. For the newbie, this is a good guideline on where to focus.
Now, if the band ever decides to do another Studio album, I will gladly come back and update this, but it doesn’t look like that will ever happen. If you want to check out the review of each album in detail, there are links at the bottom to all the reviews in the series and there were only 72 of them!! It took me almost 14 months to get through them all and it is still the most fun I have had on the site.
Thanks for spending all this time with me going through the Kiss catalog and my Kiss collection. I hope you enjoyed it. Enough chit chat as there is a lot to get through so sit back, grab a coffee or a beer and enjoy!!
After over a year of reviewing everything Kiss and pretty much everything in my collection, we are finally to very last Kiss record in the collection…I am sure it won’t be the last as they will release more over the years to come and I will add them to the series. For now, this is it though. Kiss has finally realized they can make money on these Kiss Bootlegs that are out in the wild by finally releasing their own Bootleg Series called “Off the Soundboard”. First up for them is the show from Tokyo 2001 which is a short era of the band that has little to no representation anywhere else. It was with the line up of Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, of course, but also features Eric Singer on drums and Ace Frehley on lead guitar. This line-up was only around a very short time right after the first Farewell Tour that was really a farewell to Peter. And it is this line-up that is the major selling point which is why they highlighted it on the front cover.
The album came out last month on June 11, 2021 and it is great to go out on the Review Series with a new release, but do note, I would’ve bought it no matter what. The packaging is really fantastic and yet very simple. Kiss brilliantly gave the set a look like it was really a bootleg. It looks like cheap cardboard box with everything just stamped on to the box. It looks cheap and yet it is that cheapness that is the brilliance. The vinyl are on a white label that looks like the info was also stamped and typed on to it which gives it even more of a bootleg feel. If it is going to be an official bootleg, make it look like one and they did. I hope this is the beginning of a lot of great shows that are out there in the bootleg world and yet we will get a cleaned up mix with some great sound and this one is a perfect start.
The show for this release was on March 13, 2001 at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. This was actually part of the Farewell Tour and really close to the end. As I mentioned earlier, by the time this show was done, Peter was gone and Eric Singer was brought in. This set list is impressive. It contains 21 songs and includes all the solos, the great Paul Stanley banter and all mistakes which is exactly what you want from a bootleg. The show is over 2 hours long and does cover 3 LPs. Kiss didn’t skimp on this release in the least.
Believe it or not, Kiss released yet another live album and not a studio album. It is a sad commentary on the Kiss World at this time. And to this day, it still doesn’t look like a studio album is coming. But this is no ordinary live album…or is it? Kiss took a break from their killer 40th Anniversary World Tour and spent some time at a residency in Las Vegas…I mean who doesn’t nowadays. From November 5-23 of 2014, Kiss held up shop at the Hard Rock Hotel And Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer gave us the Kiss spectacle night after night in all its glory. The DVD set was released on August 26, 2016 almost two years later and not sure why the delay in getting it out.
And this package is a beautiful set and gives you everything you want. You get a DVD of the show in Full Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, you get a bonus acoustic set and then you get the show on CD of the same songs (less the acoustic). If you want the acoustic on CD you need to get the Japanese version…of course…and of course Ladano has that one if you want to here his take on it. You also get a booklet with tons of pictures from the band.
By this time in the Kiss World, things are kind of boring. There are no more studio albums and doesn’t look like there will ever be. The band is touring regularly meaning they are basically doing Summer Tours with another Big Named Band. And for their 40th, that Big Name Band was none other than Def Leppard…yes, I saw that show and Leppard was freaking fantastic and Kiss was good. But it was still exciting because the band was celebrating their 40th Anniversary (which was really 2013 if I’m not mistaken)…regardless, it was time for the band to release another Greatest Hits Compilation…yes…just what we needed!! That is supposed to be very sarcastic so if you could read as such, that would be great!!
They did make this compilation a little interesting. Being the 40th Anniversary, they picked one song…and I mean only 1 song…from each and every album release they have had over the years. That means, that picked a song from all studio albums, including the solo albums, they picked one from every live album and every greatest hits package and every box set. How many bands can say when they pick one song from every release they can have 40 songs…probably none. And actually they couldn’t either. There were 4 extra songs added to get to the 40 and we will talk about that later.
Not every song was the album version though. They did throw in some Single Mixes such as “I Was Made for Loving You” from Dynasty, Radio Edits like “Jungle” from Carnival of Souls, an edited version of “Shout It Out Loud” from Alive II and an edited version of “Psycho Circus’ from Psycho Circus that had the beginning instrumental piece edited out. They weren’t all the cookie cutter songs straight off the release.
This time around, we have a little bonus edition for you. There is no dramatic story behind this release, it is simple a way to give the fans something kind of cool and the band a little more money. There are no new songs or remixes, these are all songs you already have in some way shape or form. On November 13, 2012, Kiss released the box set, ‘The Casablanca Singles 1974-1982’ collection. It houses all 29 singles the band released on Casablanca Records. They have all been digitally remastered and given some very collectible sleeves from the original single releases from around the world.
Now, this is not going to be review of each song, been there done that with all of the album reviews. No, this is going to be a picture review of the entire box set. You are going to see everything there is to see in this box set. There are over 90 pictures so sit back and enjoy. We will do them in order of each album, but first we will start with the box set itself and the booklet. I hope you enjoy…
The box set is literally housed in a box. There is a flap on the side you open and all the singles and booklet slide right in. It is nice and sturdy. There is a cool effect on the front where the box there is an empty space with a fiery red, orange and yellow swirled backing that gives the Kiss logo its fiery appearance. The box also has an etched metal plaque engraved with the name “The Casablanca Singles 1974-1982 Limited Edition”. But here is the big question…What’s in the Box??
It has only been three short years since ‘Sonic Boom’ and Kiss is ready to put out another album. Three years might seem like a long time, but lately in the Kiss World, it is a blip in the radar. The band has actually not had any drama during this time gap and things seem to be going smoothly which is not normal for these guys. The band is unchanged with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley still at the helm and Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer still the hired guns.
The band went back in the studio starting in April 2011 and didn’t finish the album until January 2012. And heck, then it wasn’t even released until October 9, 2012. The guys were in no rush obviously. Kiss wanted to get back to their roots on this one while keeping it sounding like what the band is today. To help accomplish that the band actually recorded the album using analog equipment and a 24 Track Tape and a Trident board. They were going at it old school…no digital. Did it help? Well the album went all the way to #3 on the Billboard Charts, so we will see.
But speaking of old school. There were no outside writers and no outside players (except one on piano, but we will get to that shortly). Tommy gets to sing again and so does Eric. This was a band album, just like ‘Sonic Boom’, and a band album is what the fans want. They started with around 20 songs and ended up with 12 on the vinyl & the CD (13 on iTunes). We are talking the 12 here since my copy is on vinyl. Let’s get started.
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.
We are now 10 years past the last studio album, ‘Psycho Circus’, and Kiss has still yet to do another studio album. Instead, we basically get yet another greatest hits package. This one is different of course because it was actually a re-recording of Kiss Klassics, but this time the players are not just Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, but we now have those old hits recorded by Eric Singer on drums and Tommy Thayer on guitar. My first question is…WHY?? Do we really need to have studio versions of these great, amazing Kiss songs done by the new members. (rhetorical question)
I guess the people of Japan did because that is the only place this album was released. The title of the album is Jigoku-Retsuden which means something like “Legends from Hell” or “Hell’s Legends” in Japanese. Okay, that is pretty cool, but that is the only thing cool about this release. Okay, maybe the OBI strip is pretty cool as well. But that is it, I promise…alright, the cover is a little cool too…no more…stop!!
The 2000’s have seen Kiss release more live albums, greatest hits packages and box sets than Studio Albums. And this particular release has sat on the shelves for six years because one thing or another got in the way. The album was recorded on December 31, 1999 and January 1, 2000 at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, Canada and consisted of the original band members of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. The original intention for this album was to be released as Kiss Alive! IV, but there was a problem and it got shelved because the record label, Mercury, was being gobbled up by Universal in a giant merger. Then a few years later, Universal agreed for Mercury to release it, but the band was working on the Symphony show which would become Kiss Alive IV. One thing after another kept pushing this release back. Thoughts were that it wasn’t a good show, but I think it was bad timing.
The album would see a release on November 21, 2006 when it was included on the box set Kiss Alive! 1975-2000. That box set included Alive!, Alive II and Alive III as well and since those have already been reviewed, I went with just reviewing the Millennium show as that did get a separate vinyl release of its own.
One of the cool things about this release is that there are three songs on here that had never been played by all 4 of the original members. You get “Heaven’s On Fire” and “Lick It Up” both from the non-makeup era that Peter and Ace were not on and you get “I Love It Loud” which Peter was not on and Ace was credited on the ‘Creatures of the Night’ album but reality proved he didn’t play on it. However, the opening track on here is “Psycho Circus” and Peter and Ace actually didn’t play on that song either even though it was the “Reunion” album.