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KISS: Unmasked (remaster)

After KISS found renewed commercial success with some of the tracks on Dynasty the band would once again test new waters by trying another vein of sound. Dynasty had some Disco moments which sent some fans off bridges while at the same time finding others who embraced their attempt at trying to be different. Unmasked would have a polished and very "Pop-sensible" feel to it and really distance more fans as a result of the yet again different vibe. The album opens with "Is That You?" which is a raucous stance of attitude ala KISS of old but this would be one of the only real powerhouse numbers on the album. The attempt to follow the hit-maker "I Was Made For Lovin' You" led the band to giving us "Shandi" and "Tomorrow". Sadly the two tracks would not find the level of commercial success as the ones on the preceding album. Ace Frehley sings three tracks on this one and they are among the best. "Two Sides Of The Coin", "Talk To Me" and "Torpedo Girl" were excellent and not only gave some solid music but catchy lyrical content. Gene's numbers of "Naked City" and "She's So European" seemed to move him from the menacing Demon just a little more. The album itself was not one of my personal favorites but I did like half of it and I think most KISS fans felt the same way. I admit that songs like "You're All That I Want" and "Easy As It Seems" were Pop drivel and made the band look like some sort of joke rather than the Rock super heroes that they actually were. The recording of this album also came with the realization that original member Peter Criss was no longer part of the lineup. Drumming was performed by studio drummer Anton Fig who not only took the drumming up a notch on some tracks but introduced a double-bass drum feel to some of the songs. The KISS purest might argue some of these points and make it part of their collection just the same, but for the most part this is among the weakest in the bands large back catalog.

The KISS remasters are excellent in their overall sound quality but do not offer any additional or unreleased songs outside of what was on the original album. The original artwork is replicated and features the interesting graphics that often made up a KISS Album. If the artwork was limited, this is of course reflected as well. Music History fans will appreciate the included historical liner notes on the CD's inner section. Each release has information that is topical to the album and the bands history.

Track Listing
  1. Is That You?
  2. Shandi
  3. Talk To Me
  4. Naked City
  5. What Makes The World Go 'Round
  6. Tomorrow
  7. Two Sides Of The Coin
  8. She's So European
  9. Easy As It Seems
  10. Torpedo Girl
  11. You're All That I Want

Added: August 3rd 2006
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: KISS Online
Hits: 3952
Language: english

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KISS: Unmasked (remaster)
Posted by Hugh Dark on 2006-11-15 19:07:01
My Score:

Never bought the remaster version of this as the original has enough compression already! I really liked how Vinnie Poncia was able to take their vocal ability up a couple of notches and the drumming finally did not have a click track recorded along side of it. I am totally serious!! Paul Stanley was really coming on as a lead guitar player on this one as he played all of the solos on his songs. He seemed to possess a melodic sensitivity that Ace did not have and branched out slightly more than just a pentatonic scale. I believe that the solo album provided him with the additional confidence he needed to do this. Ace continues his increased presence as a songwriter on this due to his stock increasing from his solo album being the highest grossing release of the four. I can only imagine the humiliation of Gene and Paul when confronted with this information, but they probably thought they would have a greater chance for a sales success and pushed on! They needed another hit by this point as the Dynasty tour had cost them a ton of cash. It is also worth mentioning that Peter was still a full partner in spite of his departure and would collect his share of royalties until desperation forced him to sell his share to Gene and Paul. I like this album as it was devoid of all the slop and the playing does not sound so regimented and forced. I would rather have heard the album closer to its original demo form in terms of heaviness, but this record needs no apologies. It is a well written and performed POP record and one of my favorites in their catalog as it took a few chances!!

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