The 'Sonic Boom' erupted Tuesday, and we all faced the Kiss, and death to all rumours of this band breaking-up. Ever since this blessed day, I have been treating all my neighbours to the new Kiss, on the block. Even my son has enjoyed watching the DVD, and hearing the CD spinning in the car.
As this is a Wal-Mart exclusive, we were also excited about all the limited edition merchandise made available to celebrate this landmark release. We definitely decided to purchase the new Kiss Mr. Potato Heads, each with the four faces, and their appropriate instruments; although, my son wanted a "Cat" for himself, as well.
The new Kiss is another one of the highly anticipated 'Grandfathers Of Rock" reunion releases, like Heaven And Hell, Spinal Tap, Twisted Sister, AC/DC, etc., but is it worth all the hype?
The CD begins with the first single - "Modern Day Delilah" - a total return to their classic sounds of the '70s. This was also the song which they performed Tuesday night on David Letterman.
As with most lyrics for Kiss, sex is the penetrating theme. Here sex and sedition fall into place, and take on new meaning in this Biblical reference to the story of Samson, and the queen to slave idol who stole love. However, perhaps it is more of a Queen to Slade idle inspiration, as the old school glam vibe is quite pronounced, and this makes for a fun, figuratively fashionable song.
Next up is "Russian Roulette" showcasing mean Gene's insatiable lust. With his love gunning for more nubile kisses, and some open ended arguments, the 'Revenge' element becomes quite "Unholy", as the dominoes begin to fall.
Gene is a self-proclaimed A$$hole as his second solo album was aptly titled. As much as he insinuates his XXX intentions, he is never as graphic as say, Steel Panther, who also put out their -'Feel the Steel' - album on Tuesday, in the US.
"Never Enough" is a fun party song which resonates with a real strong Poison vibe similar to "Nothin' But A Good Time" and the renown Kiss' anthem "Rock And Roll All Nite". "Yes I Know (Nobody´s Perfect)" comes across as a sequel to "Calling Dr. Love" with its charisma and dynasty of lust, in the never-ending pursuit for power, pleasure, and prestige.
"Stand" is a real stand-out track which is very catchy and similar to the style found on Paul Stanley's second solo - 'Live To Win'. This is definitely not at all like Poison song of same name, but it is one of best songs on 'Sonic Boom'; since thankfully there are no ballads!
The very simple and tepid - "Hot And Cold"- incisively echoes "100,00 Years", with its temperate arrangement of cliche' lyrics, and two sides of the coin, flippant tone. Of course, I always want to hear it loud, and I am never too old!
Another commonplace song like - "I´m An Animal" - lies somewhere between "All Hell's Breaking Loose" and "The Oath", after the lunatics have left the 'Asylum'. This, and quite a few songs electrify with a current AC/DC vibe.
The most promising song on 'Sonic Boom' is "All For The Glory" with Eric Singer on lead vocals. Kiss fans, you should raise your glasses, as Mr. Eric Doyle Mensinger carries the spirit of Eric Carr, and keeps his drumming dynamics alive and thriving. When he is not working with Alice Cooper, he truly belongs in Kiss.
This does bring up a certain comment. Why do Eric and Tommy dress like Ace & Peter? Should not Paul and Gene give them their own defining characters? Vinnie Vincent and Eric Carr had their own personas? Does Gene really think he is fooling us? Whatever happened to Eric's desire to be the hawk? Believe me, Tommy is no Ace!
The obligatory - "When Lightning Strikes" - is the weakest link, even with Tommy Thayer singing, which he does rather poorly. However, his guitar playing is top notch, and there are some great solos to be found all throughout. His back in black technique, and six string sting carnal fever, carefully gives way to those blue note for note dynamite riffs, which are a true autoblast on the senses and soul.
I should also give a shout out loud for the new Ace Frehley. 'Anomaly' is a remarkable comeback from a musician who many had long written off the charts. The music, attitude, and lyrics really shocked me! I love the honesty of the song "A Little Below The Angels", replete with his daughter's fascination, and the mellifluent choirs. Songs like "It's A Great Life" and "Sister" also really show the level of maturity, and growth that Ace has undergone. I found his cover of "Fox On The Run" to be totally Sweet!
The astounding achievement that is 'Sonic Boom' does not necessarily vitiate their accomplishments with 'Psycho Circus'. As much as that album was maligned, I really enjoyed it, and it was the catapult which thrust me back into Kiss, over a decade ago.
Ever since their first reunion, I became a revitalized Kiss fan addict. I bought all the ridiculous merch, which is now spread all around the house, and I secured all their CDs. I am still a strong supporter of the band, all owing to this reunion album: even if it was not all that they made it out to be.
In this very vein, the essence of '70's and '80s Kiss will have you reignited and dreamin' - "Danger Us". This TNT type of union honours "God Of Thunder", which Paul originally wrote. The clever "Danger You...Danger Me..."Danger Us" is not only witty, but also ever so true.
The uplifting affirmation of - "Say Yeah" - ends the album. This song is pure Paul Stanley, and it mirrors a strong rock 'n roll 'Crazy Nights' shining, amorous appeal. After hearing this album repetitively for the last few days, I truly hear his voice in my head, as well as Gene's unique timbre falling on my deft ears, making me feel very much alive!
As CDs are on the decline, and the packaging for many new releases has been rather shoddy and bleak. i.e. Chickenfoot. Kiss respond with a full colour booklet full of lyrics, and photos; although, some of the words on certain songs are a bit mixed up. Paul came up with the packaging concept, and performed the primary production.
As an addition with the new CD, Kiss fans are treated to the - 'Kiss Klassicks' bonus disc - of supposedly re-recorded cuts. This may be a bit suspect, as the songs have an older production sound. Nevertheless, they are all great with the exception of the odd choice in "Forever". This 'Hot In The Shade' ballad co-written by the epicene Michael Bolton, seems out of place. I want to know, where is "Beth"?, Did they skip this one because Peter is out? What about "Tears Are Falling", or "Hard Luck Woman"?
The bonus DVD is what you would expect from a Kiss Live performance. Although, Paul's vocals are beginning to show some real wear and tear, and emotional strain; especially in a live atmosphere. This is clearly noticeable on the Live in Buenos Aires, Argentina show.
I do enjoy the manner in which Paul and his band attempted to honour and celebrate Traditional South American music and customs, before breaking into their own anthem - "Rock And Roll All Nite"; which concludes with Paul smashing his guitar, then an elaborate display of fireworks, and the band bowing before their fans in the Kiss Army.
In conclusion, any Kiss fan will certainly relish in the sounds of 'Sonic Boom'. Is this a triumphant return to their former past glory? A resounding, "Yes!". Is it all that is was promised to be? "Yes, and No! This is a great album, and I wanted the best, but it is not quite the best. It has a few shortcomings, and some songs which seemed non-professionally assembled.
I did not care for Gene Simmons - 'Asshole', but I did really enjoy Paul's - 'Live To Win'. I am definitely appreciating the latest work from Ace. With this in mind, this is how I view 'Sonic Boom', as a mix of all three.
Congratulations to Kiss for a hotter than hell album which flicks the switch, lights up my life, and sears my soul!
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