Friday, 12 October 2012

Review: KISS - Monster

 Your favourite band loves KISS. Since the taking off of hard rock in the 1970's, KISS have been doing the rounds with massive rock and roll party anthems, an influence that has been cast on every hard rock bands and most metal bands today and of course, the rad make up and costumes. It's difficult to think of any rock band today whether they're an indie band or a black metal band that hasn't at some point been immersed within the big riffs of Paul Stanley or Ace Frehley's shredding, who of course we can't really talk about in a justified way now because he left the band some time ago.

 And despite all this, it still feels like someone needs to stand up for KISS in this day and age. People have become cynical towards the band's concepts. They've become cynical to Gene Simmons and his constant schemes of making money through his band's image and merchandising, which arguably reached it's pinnacle last year with the announcement of KISS themed coffins and urns. They've become cynical with the supposedly irreplaceable lineup being replaced with lead guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, who wear the same makeup as Frehley and Peter Criss that stood before them. And apparently KISS don't even have enough love in the UK to prevent the Sonisphere festival that they were to headline from being cancelled.

 Sad as it is, perhaps something is to be said about The Hottest Band in the World's fire beginning to cool down. However, with a mass collection of die hard fans, and an unmovable amount of respect aimed towards them in the world of modern rock, the band release their 20th album Monster which will sadly, at best test the patience of their biggest followers.

 That's not to say that the album is band or anything. In a time where writing a solid set of three minute hard rock songs bursting with positivity that carry an air of good times, KISS still have a knack for getting people's heads moving. Opener Hell Or Hallelujah slams the album into action with big riffs from Stanley and a bigger vocal performance. As tracks like Freak and The Devil is Me go on with massive hooks and rousing cheer, there's an assurance that KISS do still know the ways of rock and roll and it's need to unite people.

 And surely we know by now that if you pack a song with nothing but good time hard rock songs, it becomes a repetitive mesh of the same thing. And by the time KISS get to Shout Mercy, they're already pushing their luck on just how long they can keep a listener attached to the album as we get to Outta This World which sounds less like it's being fired out and more like churned.

 But of course, you can't be seen to criticize KISS, because, well they're rather legendary in the grand scale of rock musicians and have such an indestructible legacy that being critical seems un-doable. Even now, I don't want to write disparagingly about these iconic musicians.

 However, with all the criticism and love for the band laid down by everyone, it seems that the band should be trying something that can continue to blow all their listeners away as they've managed so effortlessly in the past. Maybe it's something that comes with age and maybe with age and maturity the amount of partying one does should be toned down a little, otherwise your attempts to continue partying will become less impressive. (Unless your name is Andrew W.K.) It's why with Monster, KISS' attempt to show they can still party at their current age is often a sign of them playing at their most underwhelming and even as someone who loves KISS as much as your favourite band does, there is room for criticism in what they've done of late after all.


KISS' Monster is out now via Simston Music.

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