Kiss – ‘Hotter Than Hell’ (1974) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

After the poor sales of the debut Kiss album and the fact that Casablanca was bleeding money on the tour, Neil Bogart wanted the band to get back in to the studio to record their next album.  While on Los Angeles for a show in August of 1974, Kiss started recording their follow-up.  The band’s line-up was unchanged and the producers were unchanged as Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise were behind the boards again.  And yes, they are to blame for the awful sonics on this record, especially the dull drum sound.

Let me tell you, the band was not thrilled with doing this album in L.A.  These guys are New York guys and this whole new environment was foreign to them and not home.  Put that along side the fact they have had zero time to write new songs, they weren’t being setup to succeed.  They plowed through and by October 22, 1974, the album was released and actually performed worse than the debut album which is no easy feat as that one did poorly.

Before we go in to the music, can we talk about that cover?  Of course we can, it’s my blog.  I remember seeing this cover as kid of maybe 7 or 8 and thinking how cool this was with all the Japanese writing (now not sure I really knew it was Japanese, but it was still cool).  The album concept was done to mimic the look of Japanese comics and if you notice that little character at the bottom…

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That character stands for the word “Chikara” and if you know that then you know that is the name of a greatest hits package by the band that was only released in Japan in 1988.  It is on my grail list to get a copy.  If you are interested, “Chikara” means power. And there were other Japanese lettering on the album cover. The lettering in the top right corner of the album actually means “the shout of hell” which isn’t the same as “hotter than hell”, but not sure if that was the intent or not. Continue reading “Kiss – ‘Hotter Than Hell’ (1974) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)”

Kiss – ‘Hotter Than Hell: Radio Broadcast 1976’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review

We are on the final Bootleg in the series.  Okay, at the least the final for now. This is the last of what I have currently in my Kiss collection.  I will get more and when I do, I will come back and add to the collection so fear not, it isn’t really over…just slowed down immensely.

This release is on CD and is called ‘Hotter Than Hell’ and is labeled as a Radio Broadcast from 1976.  No other information on the insert or anywhere to really give you any more tidbits. So, I had to dig and the internet is a wonderful thing.

The setlist is not from 1976.  The setlist is from the Rock & Roll Over Tour in 1977 and they are in Detroit so this in Cabo Hall as Paul mentions Detroit and it being the last night. Well, in 1977, they played 3 shows at Cabo so this is the September 29, 1977 show and the setlist matches exactly…almost as the 3 encore songs are missing.

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Now that isn’t the only error on the disc.  There is another glaring one.  Take a look at the line-up on the back cover.  The line-up is right, but when did Peter and Ace change instruments.  This has Peter on guitar and Ace on drums…awesome!!!

There are no more pictures of the insert because the back cover and the insert are the same picture so nothing new to show.  For that, it is time to get to the music and the sound.

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The sound of the show is actually pretty great.  It is a radio broadcast, so you know it is going to be decent.  It is the band live and untouched so there are issues but it is how you would have heard it if you were there and for that it is fantastic.

There are three things wrong with the disc.  One, the opening track Detroit Rock City does not start at the beginning of the song.  The song is already in full gear when the disc starts as if someone forgot to hit the record button when they were supposed to hit it.  The second thing is that when the track # changes, there is a pause between each track which disrupts the flow of the show.  And the final thing is the album is missing the three encore songs that were played at the show so it is not a full set.  It is missing “Shout It Out Loud”, “Beth” and “Black Diamond”.

What did they get right?  Well, look at that set list.  It is pretty fantastic.  I am digging “Take Me”, “Ladies Room”,  “Makin’ Love”, “I Want You” and “Do You Love Me”.  The rest are normal songs on almost every set list so it is these songs that I enjoy the most.  Another thing is Paul’s vocals and his banter is awesome. He is so much better at this point in the band. He has found his comfort zone and he shows why he is one of the greatest frontman of any band.

What else is great?  Well, the solos.  All of them.  Peter’s is great, Ace’s is even better! Ace’s solo at the end of “Cold Gin” was one of the best I have heard from him.  Back when he could play.  I don’t think there was anything shooting from the guitar.  It was his fingers moving 100mph and it sounded like nothing I had heard on any of the other bootlegs.  He just played his ass off and he was stunning!! (or was it Peter, haha).

Peter’s drum solo comes at the end of “God of Thunder” and Peter drives it home with some tremendous kick drumming and beating the hell out of the Toms, snare and cymbals.  He was on the prowl that night and the Cat Man was feasting on those drums.  It was a great way to go in to “Rock & Roll All Nite” and end the show.  This was Kiss in their prime and it shows.  You can’t go wrong with this one at all!!

Yes, there are some problems with it, but the good outweigh the bad on this one and for that it gets a 4.0 out 5.0 Stars.  Hell, the Ace solo alone is worth it.  This is another one that will get played quite often.  It is a great set list and the sound is pretty great as well.  Definitely worth grabbing if you see this one out.

Check out the rest of the series if you have time!!  Thanks for stopping by!!

  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)