Kiss – The Box Set (Disc Five 1992-1999) – Album Review (Part 6 of 6)

Welcome back to final review in the series which is Part 6 of the 6 Part series. We have already talked about the Box Set and its packaging in Part 1 and we have covered Disc 1 and Disc 2 in the set.  For those, we got about 20 unreleased tracks between those two.  Quite impressive.  For Disc Three, we only get 3 unreleased tracks and Disc Four we only get 2 unreleased tracks and for the final disc, Disc 5, we only get 3 previously unreleased tracks.  As a result, I will also talk about the other songs on here to make it a fair representation.

For Disc 5, we only have 3 studio albums and some live albums to include on this set and not everything was great.  As far as studio it is the fantastic ‘Revenge’, the lack of direction ‘Carnival of Souls’ and the reunion album ‘Pschyo Circus’ which not everyone played on so not really a reunion, but that is another discussion.  You also get tracks from the MTV Unplugged album, The Detroit Rock City Soundtrack and some unreleased tracks.  Here are the songs and I love how Eric Carr in Fox Makeup is the background!!

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First up on the disc are four songs from the album ‘Revenge’ which is an album that saw Gene get comfortable in his skin again and gave us one of their heaviest albums since Creatures.  It was fantastic.  Out of the four songs, we get the demo of “Domino” which was written by Gene in 1991 for the ‘Revenge’ album.  The demo is pretty close to the original song with some minor changes as the solo in the album version is played at a different key than the demo.  It is a cool piece to the collection.

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The next batch of four songs is from the MTV unplugged album. The first three tracks are with Eric Singer and Bruce and the last song, “Nothin’ to Lose” has Ace and Peter on it.   I think all four tracks are great as is that whole album.  With so few albums to pull from on this set, we are getting a lot of songs for each album which is part of the drag on this disc.

Next we get two tracks from the album ‘Carnival of Souls’ and to say this isn’t a good album is almost an understatement.  There are some good songs from the album such as “Master and Slave”, but the songs chosen for this release are not my favorites.  These don’t sound like Kiss songs to me.

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Then we get four songs from ‘Psycho Circus’ and none are demos or anything rare.  The song choices are fine it is just like I said earlier, four songs from one release is a lot and it would have been nice to have more unreleased stuff on this disc.

There is one cool song on here from an album I didn’t have which is the Detroit Rock City Movie Soundtrack.  The song is “Nothing Can Keep Me From You”.  I believe the song played through the end credits and was actually written by Diane Warren and not by Kiss.  I enjoyed the track and this is the perfect set for songs like this to be on.

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Then we get one of the most famous unreleased tracks, a song called “It’s My Life”.  This song is one of the best on the disc and did you know Kiss played this live for the first time on the Kiss Kruise IX which was a month ago.  The song dates back to around the time of ‘The Elder’ and was never fully finished.  I believe it has all the original band members on this track was supposed to be on Psycho Circus, but as you know, didn’t make it.

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The last two tracks are both live.  The first one is “Shout it Out Live” from a show in 1996 and on ‘The Greatest Kiss’ album.  And then a previously unreleased version of “Rock & Roll All Nite” because that was what we needed (yeah, no!).  It was from 1999 and was later released on the ‘Alive! The Millennium Concert’ in 2006. For me, not much a great win as an unreleased track.

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This disc had a few highlights for me with “It’s My Life”, “Nothing Can Keep Me From You” and “Domino”, but outside of that it was underwhelmed.  There were too many songs from each disc and the Carnival of Song choices kind of sucked. I don’t ever need another version of “Rock & Roll All Nite”…I mean who does.  I am going to only give it a 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars as a result.  The 3.0 is generous, but I do love “It’s My Life”.

And now that we have all the scores from all 6 reviews, we need to tally up the whole Box Set and come up with an overall score.  Here were the scores:

  • Overall Packaging – 5.0 out of 5.0
  • Disc One – 5.0 out of 5.0
  • Disc Two – 4.5 out of 5.0
  • Disc Three – 3.5 out of 5.0
  • Disc Four – 4.0 out of 5.0
  • Disc Five – 3.0 out of 5.0
  • Overall Average Score – 4.2 out of 5.0 Stars

Check it out and let me know what you think. If you want to go back and read them all, click on the links below:

And that is the end!!  I hope you enjoyed this 6 Part Series of The Box Set!

Kiss – The Box Set (Disc Four 1983-1989) – Album Review (Part 5 of 6)

Welcome back to Part 5 of the 6 Part series. We have already talked about the Box Set and its packaging in Part 1 and we have covered Disc 1 and Disc 2 in the set.  For those, we got about 20 unreleased tracks between those two.  Quite impressive.  For Disc Three, we only get 3 unreleased tracks and now for Disc Four we only get 2 unreleased tracks.  As a result, I will also talk about the other songs on here to make it a fair representation.

Disc Four is a fun one for me.  It covers the Unmasked years of the 80’s.  Not the album, Unmasked, the non-makeup years unmasked.  The 80’s is where I got back in to the band.  My first show was the Lick It Up tour plus I saw the Asylum Tour and the Crazy Nights Tour as well.  It was all Kiss all the time (well, when it wasn’t Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue and Whitesnake).  I think this era of Kiss is so overlooked and unfairly so as I love it!!  Here’s what you get…

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Now here is where Kiss messed up the box set.  Yes, I get they had to put Ace’s picture on a disc like they did the other original members, but Ace isn’t on any of these songs…not a one.  They should have put Eric Carr on this disc and Ace on the next one. Yes, it would have been out of order, but at least it would fit the timeline.

Continue reading “Kiss – The Box Set (Disc Four 1983-1989) – Album Review (Part 5 of 6)”

Kiss – The Box Set (Disc Three 1976-1982) – Album Review (Part 4 of 6)

Welcome back to Part 4 of the 6 Part series. We have already talked about the Box Set and its packaging in Part 1 and we have covered Disc 1 and Disc 2 in the set.  For those, we got about 20 unreleased tracks between those two.  Quite impressive.  For Disc Three, we only get 3 unreleased tracks.  Rather a big let down after the first two.  As a result, I will also talk about the other songs on here to make it a fair representation.

Disc Three covers the years 1976-1982, which were some very rough years for the band. Coming off the fantastic Alive II album, the band released 4 solo albums, Dynasty, Unmasked, The Elder and Creatures of the Night.  Creatures being the only album that was truly fantastic…one of their absolute best.  The others were not so great.  The solo albums were a mixed bag, Dynasty was too Disco, Unmasked was too Pop and I don’t know what the hell The Elder was (I like it better as I am older).  Kiss lost a lot of fans during this era and probably for good reason.

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Disc Three contains 19 songs covering all the album I mentioned above and then some.  Like the albums from this time, the songs for me are a mixed bag as well.  It starts off with “Detroit Rock City” and omits the opening intro which is a version I don’t have so I will gladly take it.  The next song is “King of the Night Time World” off the Alive II album.  This is the only live song off that album which to be honest, I am a little surprised.  Instead, we get two of the studio tracks from that album which more than makes up for it as the songs are “Larger Than Life” and “Rocket Ride”, with “Rocket Ride” being one of my favorite Ace Frehley tracks.  It rocks out quite nicely.

Continue reading “Kiss – The Box Set (Disc Three 1976-1982) – Album Review (Part 4 of 6)”

Kiss – The Box Set (Disc Two 1975-1977) – Album Review (Part 3 of 6)

Welcome back to Part 3 of the 6 Part series. We have already talked about the Box Set and its packaging in Part 1 and we covered Disc 1 in Part 2 which covered the years 1966-1975.  That set gave us 12 Unreleased tracks.  This one has a lot, but not quite as many. For Disc Two, we get 8 previously unreleased tracks out of the 20 tracks on the disc.  And it is those 8 tracks we will spend most of our time here today on.  The rest will get covered when I actually do a Kiss series later down the road.

I am sure now you are wondering the what is the track listing for this disc if there are 20 songs and I am going to show you in pictorial form with this picture of the back of the CD case with Paul’s Starchild face covering the whole rear of cover.

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The first four tracks on this are taking from the Alive! album which was released in 1975 and since they are previously released will skip over them and get to the three previously unreleased tracks that come up next.

First we get the song “Doncha Hesitate” which was written by Paul Stanley.  The song was recorded as a demo and one of the few times the whole band would get together to record a demo.  However, there are different stories on when it was recorded.  Gene says it was recorded for ‘Dressed to Kill’ when they were trying to come up with more songs. Paul says it was written after ‘Alive!’ and before ‘Destroyer’ which are both after ‘Dressed to Kill’…so not sure who is write on this one.  The song is great for a demo as it is very raw and rough around the edges, but it falls flat as an overall song which is probably why it was never used.  I do like it though and always great to have unreleased tracks that were not used in any other song.

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Next we get the demo of a song called “Mad Dog”“Mad Dog” was recorded as a demo for the ‘Destroyer’ album along with numerous other songs that Gene had (some of which went on his solo album – not this one).  As they were picking through songs, Bob Ezrin would pick pieces of the demos and they would end of making a new song.  The riff from this song will sound familiar as it would become the riff in the song “Flaming Youth” on ‘Destroyer’. The song kinda sucks, but it has a great solo included and I love the song “Flaming You” so I actually dug this one a bit for that connection.

“God of Thunder” is a demo and the song was originally written and sung by Paul Stanley.  This to me is one of the gems on this Disc because it is so cool to here how Paul envisioned the song.  You can see why Bob Ezrin had Paul give it to Gene to sing because the theme, the sonics and the lyrics all scream Gene’s demon character.  Paul’s version is a faster tempo and less eerie as the final version, but it is fun and a rocking song.

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We go through some songs from ‘Destroyer’ before we get to the next demo which is “Bad, Bad Lovin”.  When you hear this one start up, you know it is the demo for the song that would become “Calling Dr. Love”. The verses are pure “Dr. Love”, but the chorus of “Bad, Bad Lovin” is so bad and doesn’t even fit with the feel and vibe of the verses.  Re-working it become “Calling Dr. Love” was definitely the way to go.  And cool that they put “Calling Dr. Love” as the next song on the album.

“Mr. Speed” is the demo of the song from ‘Rock & Roll Over’.  It is not my favorite song to begin with and this does nothing to make up for that.  This version has Bob Kulick on guitar and not Ace, but it is a demo so no big deal.

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We are going to skip the next batch of songs as they have all been released on albums and we will go to the next unreleased track which is a Soundcheck recording of “I Want You”. It was recorded in August 1977 at the soundcheck  at the Los Angeles forum.  Being a soundcheck, it is loose and a freaking blast!.  I love this song to begin with so any cool version I can get is fine by me.  Another favorite of mine on this disc.

The next demo is of the Kiss Klassic “Love Gun”.  Paul demoed this in New York with drummer Steve Korff of the band The Planets.  Paul played the bass and guitar for the demo.  That machine gun drum fill is the heart & soul of the song and was only replicated by Peter Criss as Paul came up with it.  The demo was pretty complete and sounds really close to the final version so not much was tweaked on this one.

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The last track is the Gene Simmons demo of a song called “Love is Blind”. It is one that was never recorded and it is Gene on all the instruments. And if you listen closely, you can here the click track in the background.  It doesn’t sound anything like Kiss, but maybe would have fit on his solo album as it was so diverse.  Gene felt it had more of an Eagles feel to it and I can hear that it in the overall sound.  A really cool track to me.

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And that is all the unreleased tracks.  Another great disc and almost as good as the first one, but not quite.  The 8 unreleased tracks are fantastic to have in the collection and I think this disc will get almost as much spin time as the first one.  Overall, I will score this one a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars.  These first two discs were the majority of the Unreleased tracks from the set.  There are only about 10 more over the next three discs so I am going to have to review those slightly different otherwise they will be short reviews.  Until then.  Enjoy!

Check it out and let me know what you think. If you want to go back and read Part 1, click on the link below:

  • The Box Set (Part 1 of 6)
  • The Box Set – Disc One 1966-1975 (Part 2 of 6)
  • The Box Set – Disc Two 1975-1977 (Part 3 of 6)

Up next is Disc Three 1976 – 1982 (Part 4 of 6)

Kiss – The Box Set (Disc One 1966-1975) – Album Review (Part 2 of 6)

In Part 1 we talked about the packaging and all that was included in The Box Set.  Now, we are going to talk about the music.  There are 5 discs included in this set and they are broken up in to certain eras/timeframes of the band.  They cover from the very beginning all the way up to 1999.  The set was released in 2001 so nothing from after Psycho Cirus.

First up is Disc One that covers the era from 1966 to 1975.  Wait…Kiss didn’t start until 1973, how do we have stuff from 1966?  Well, you will have to wait and see.  The disc has 21 songs and of those, 12 are previously unreleased. And it is those 12 songs that are the prize on this release.  Here is the entire track listing for this disc.

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The first two songs up are demos that were done in 1973 at Electric Lady Studios with the great Eddie Kramer on the boards.  You know Eddie from his work with Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix…at least you should.  The two songs were “Strutter” and “Deuce”, two of the bands most iconic songs.  These versions had never been released prior to this set.  I think I am going to go out on a limb and mention that these versions might be better than the actual recordings on the debut album of which, Eddie was not a part. These songs had so much more meat to them.  They had more edge and captured more of the band’s essence.

“Strutter” is actually from an early Gene Simmons song called “Stanley the Parrot”.  They took the chord pattern off that song and turned it in to a song that Paul feels has a “strutting” feel to it and thus the name.  “Deuce” was another song that was sort of a Frankenstein pieced together from a couple of other songs except these weren’t old Kiss songs.  The band loosely based it off the song “Bitch” by the Rolling Stones and the beginning of the song came from The Raspberries song “Go All the Way”.

Continue reading “Kiss – The Box Set (Disc One 1966-1975) – Album Review (Part 2 of 6)”

Kiss – The Box Set – Album Review (Part 1 of 6)

I didn’t buy this when it originally came out as I was not a in a good music place at the time.  My music buying was limited.  So, now that I wanted it, I had to search for it, find one in good condition and find it at the right price as some of the prices were RIDICULOUS!!!

Lo and behold, I was at a record show here in Charlotte and a guy had one for sale.  Actually, he had two.  One was in the guitar case, CDs still sealed and had the hard back book, but I didn’t want to spend that much dough, when I could get this version for a fraction of the price. Plus, I wasn’t paying a premium for sealed CDs as the seal doesn’t last long on my collection. I listen to my music.  As much as I want the guitar case version, my wallet decided this was the better way to go. Sometimes my wallet is smart and other times, he wants to spend, spend, spend.

The Box Set by Kiss was released on November 20th, 2001 and consists of 5 CDs spanning their entire career (up to that point) and a paperback photo book which we will get to in a minute.  I will review all 5 CDs individually over 5 different posts over the next couple of months.  For now, we will talk about the overall box set and the packaging.

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The CD’s span different eras of the band and there are 5 discs full of music.  The Box Set includes 94 tracks,  which consists of 30 previously unreleased band and solo demos as well as outtakes and live recordings.  The other 64 tracks are songs selected from each of the band’s albums except for Gene’s solo.  From that one you get a demo.

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That is a lot of stuff.  Here are the discs…

Disc One: 1966-1975

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Disc Two: 1975-1977

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Disc Three: 1976-1982

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Disc Four: 1983-1992

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Disc Five: 1992-1999:

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PHOTOBOOK:

You also get a 120-page color booklet that contains track-by-track commentary by the band, detailed track information, photos and essays.  I loved the commentary and getting all the tidbits of information on the songs.  The pictures are stunning and the book is really high quality as it is with everything the band does.

Here are some pictures…

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I had to have my daughter hold it open to take the pictures as the book hadn’t really been viewed and was nice and stiff.  I was able to edit out her fingers.

The package comes in a nice box with a red velvet insert to hold the disc.  It is really a nice little set up.

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And then on the spine of the box, the Kiss logo is in engraved into the fabric for a nice shiny feel.  You can feel the grooves.

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For the packaging and the photobook, I will give the set a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars.  It is what you would expect from a Kiss Box Set. Now for the music, I will review over the next 5 posts and rate each disc separately and then a final Overall Score on the last post.  There will be 6 parts overall (this is part 1) to this series and I hope you enjoy them all as much as I will going through them.  Thanks for stopping by and until next time, have a great day!