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KISS: Monster

After the success of 2009's Sonic Boom, legendary act KISS have struck while the iron is hot with another solid collection of all new material with Monster. While Sonic Boom more than hinted at their classic sound, Monster fully realizes that potential, brimming with memorable, heavy riffs, catchy, anthemic choruses, and rock solid musical performances, everything that was important to many of their most beloved albums.

Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are KISS, but you have to give a lot of credit to drummer Eric Singer and guitarist Tommy Thayer, both of who play a very important role here on Monster. Opening cut "Hell of Hallelujah" is the albums first single, and it's a rip snortin' party track with tons of chunky riffs from Thayer & Stanley, but more importantly it has a great chorus and splendid vocals from both Paul and Gene, reminding of some of the bands excellent early '80s work. "Wall of Sound" contains some truly memorable, heavy riffs, and strong vocals from Simmons, who I thought was lacking a little something on Sonic Boom, but he seems to have brought his 'A' game here. "Freak" is another heavy rocker with plenty of sleaze and swagger, while Gene's huge bass riffs lead in the crushing rocker "Back to the Stone Age", a pounding song driven by beefy riffs, Singer's heavy drum barrage, and Thayer's '70s styled hard rock licks. Paul's strong lead vocals drive the darker "Shout Mercy", another heavy tune that shows that KISS fully intended to up the ante and get down to business here on Monster. "Long Way Down" is a decent enough hard rocker, though the riffs sound an awful lot like The Yardbirds' "Shapes of Things" to these ears, but they bounce back on the great "Eat Your Heart Out", a melodic, fun '70s styled rocker in the grand tradition of Humble Pie, complete with playful vocals from Simmons and a hook on the chorus that will stick in your brain for days. Tasty lead guitar from Thayer on this one, as well as some fat bass grooves from Gene. Break out your air guitars for "The Devil Is Me", one of the heaviest tracks on the CD and a classic Gene Simmons song that will remind of the bands glory years. "Outta This World" is one of the more 'generic' tunes on the album and might be my one throwaway, but that can't be said about the next one, "All For the Love of Rock & Roll" a fun, engaging song which is sung by Singer, and contains some catchy hooks and great classic rock riffs from Thayer & Stanley. Simmons' venomous vocals and Stanley's cleaner delivery highlight the heavy rockin' yet melodic "Take Me Down Below", featuring lyrics which deal with...well, you know, this is KISS after all. "Last Chance" closes out Monster in fine fashion, as Gene's rumbling bass leads things off before crunchy riffs and Paul's powerful vocals come into play, the band once again delivering a catchy hard rocker in grand KISS fashion.

While Monster won't be considered a complete classic like Destroyer, Love Gun, and Hotter Than Hell, it's a damn fine KISS album that is easily the best thing they have done in many, many years. The fact that the band have gone back to their roots here and not only paid homage to some of their heroes of the '60s and '70s, but also given fans who loved the vintage KISS sound something to really sink their teeth into, needs to be commended. This is really good stuff that is certainly going to spend plenty of time in my CD rotation for the next few months.

Track Listing

  1. Hell of Hallelujah
  2. Wall of Sound
  3. Freak
  4. Back to the Stone Age
  5. Shout Mercy
  6. Long Way Down
  7. Eat Your Heart Out
  8. The Devil Is Me
  9. Outta This World
  10. All For the Love of Rock & Roll
  11. Take Me Down Below
  12. Last Chance

Added: October 21st 2012
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2563
Language: english

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