Kiss – The Albums Ranked Worst to First

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!!

WORST – ‘PETER CRISS’ (1978):

Continue reading “Kiss – The Albums Ranked Worst to First”

Kiss – ‘Jigoku-Retsuden’ (2008) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

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!!

Continue reading “Kiss – ‘Jigoku-Retsuden’ (2008) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)”

Kiss – ‘The Originals’ (1976) – Bonus Edition (The Kiss Review Series)

In the last two weeks, I have talked about special Kiss albums or singles in my Big Box of Vinyl and that continues one more time.  This time in my big box of vinyl there was one more special Kiss album.  Now I bring you ‘The Originals’.  This was released on July 21st, 1976 which actually turns out to be 44 years ago just two days ago!  Why didn’t I schedule this for Tuesday…who knows.  Sometimes I am stupid.

‘The Originals’, as noted on the album cover, are “the albums that touched off a Rock & Roll explosion.”  It was a special edition re-release of the albums ‘Kiss’, ‘Hotter Than Hell’ and “Dressed to Kill” in one package.  With the overwhelming success of the live album ‘Kiss Alive!’ and ‘Destroyer’, Casablanca Records wanted to take advantage of that success and re-release the albums in one glorious package.

The album comes with a 16-page history booklet, a color Kiss Army sticker, and a sheet of six trading cards.  It looks something like this…

lp_-06b-originals

Continue reading “Kiss – ‘The Originals’ (1976) – Bonus Edition (The Kiss Review Series)”

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…

IMG_2045

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 January 29, 1977 show and the setlist matches exactly…almost as the 3 encore songs are missing.

IMG_1078

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.

IMG_1079

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)