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    Kiss

    Kiss Introduction written by adriandenning.co.uk

    By the end of the 70s I was 6 years old and had never even heard of Kiss. I liked Iron Maiden and AC/DC, two bands that were popular at the time in the United Kingdom when it came to consider the rockier edge of pop music. Since then, Kiss have enjoyed about the grand total of two UK hit songs only and were never even really written about. I think of them as the US Status Quo, particularly now that Quo are releasing their own movie which gently sends themselves up.

    Why I'm writing a page on Kiss, i'm not quite sure, other than I will come to the band as a complete outsider and certainly not as a fan. So far, as i'm tapping away at the keyboard, i've heard the grand total of about 3 Kiss songs and know absolutely nothing about them other than my memories of men wearing paintings of kittens on their faces, and of course, the wonderful 'Kiss Do Christmas' on the ever entertaining Family Guy.

    Kiss ( 1974 )
    Strutter / Nothin' to Lose / Firehouse / Cold Gin / Let Me Know / Kissin' Time / Deuce / Love Theme From Kiss / 100,000 Years / Black Diamond

    I was born in 1974, so could hardly have listened to this album when it first came out, yet listening to it now, it screams of 1974. 'Strutter' is ok, it rolls along with riffs and stuff but I prefer 'Nothin To Lose' which is so 1974, so glam rock and silly and so harking back to 50s rock n roll. Bands did tend to do that at the time. Well, i'm a couple of songs in and my music player indicates I have about 21 hours of Kiss music to go. I'm the kind of person that would try to do this in one initial sitting, then re-listening when required. Well, it's a thought. I got married in 2008, so such musical and beer related excursions aren't really allowed any more. I once drank ten hours straight listening to Captain Beefheart's 'Trout Mask Replica' all in the name of amateur music reviewing 'honour'. If I did that now, i'd be divorced and homeless.

    'Firehouse' joins 'Strutter' in me worrying about the quality of the lead vocals, not enough grit, far too generic. Sure, the guitar, bass and drums are all very generic as well, yet music is music - I want a vocalist to hold it all together. Anyway, at a certain point half-way through 'Firehouse' I started singing 'All Right Now' by Free. Cold Gin is apparently the only thing that keeps them together, I enjoy the riff, I enjoy Gin but yet, do tend to drink it cold as heating it up seems wrong somehow - anyhow, a good song!

    I watch old episodes of BBC's 'Top Of The Pops' and the Seventies shows are very entertaining, full of showbiz and bad music. 'Let Me Know' could have come straight from a British group circa 1976, and this surprises me, as I had always thought of Kiss as American to the core. 'Let Me Know' gets going with groovy riffs and full band playing during the final 3 seconds, damn them all to hades. The guitar player proves he knows what he's doing during the faintly entertaining 'Deuce'. Post-script, my wife is asleep. Let's get drunk and listen to bad music, let's listen to 20 hours of KISS! 'Love Theme From Kiss', nice riffs. I have a ginger tom cat sleeping on my sofa and '100,000 years' pouring out of my speakers, like some kind of scary Arthur Brown and his flaming helmet - ooh, nice guitars arrive some 1 minute 50 seconds in, props to the guitar department!

    Well, it's been an education, as every man and his cat had told me glam didn't exist in America, yet Kiss truly prove that not to be the case. I've had fun listening to this, and music is meant to be fun. Sorry to wrap this up just as the final song is playing. 'Black Diamond' is, well, it's solid.

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    Readers Comments

    Michel LeGrisbi Regina, SK, Canada
    Gene & Paul in several interviews cite Slade as an influence, it's not too difficult to imagine old Noddy doing the vocals for "Let Me Know". I wouldn't typify Kiss as American to the core, rather taking music and then americanizing it. As for glam, it certainly existed but briefly, dressing in drag didn't go over so well in the West. Feminine elements usually were replaced by more ghoulish characteristics. Go ask Alice (cooper). .


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    Hotter Than Hell 7 ( 1974 )
    Got To Choose / Parasite / Goin' Blind / Hotter Than Hell / Let Me Go, Rock N Roll / All The Way / Watchin' You / Mainline / Comin' Home / Strange Ways

    Released just 10 months after their début yet performing considerably worse commercially, 'Hotter Than Hell' suffered from an initial lack of promotion and relatively poor distribution. Musically, Kiss don't sound too different from their début, although perhaps they sound slightly more serious and ever so slightly darker - the production helps lend this effect, too. Often criticised for having a somewhat 'muddy' sound is 'Hotter Than Hell', you could alternatively argue it's got a somewhat warm sound, could you not? I mean, The Stones 'Exile On Main Street' was muddy as hell, to the point where half the band didn't even like the record, until good portions of the public and press hailed it as a masterpiece. So, 'Hotter Than Hell' only peaked at number 100 on Billboard, yet features several Kiss concert staples (i'm told) and 'Parasite' was even later covered by thrash metal band Anthrax. The opening sequence for this record is very good, all told, 'Got To Choose', 'Parasite' and 'Goin Blind' each having much to recommend about them. 'Got To Choose' opens with intent, mean chords and moody lyrics that tell the tale of an affair. Gene Simmons sings the riff-laden 'Parasite' and his voice suits this gritty sounding tune which has a good chorus about a 'parasite lady with parasite eyes. 'Goin Blind' is perhaps the best of all, reportedly a story of a 93 three-year old man having a relationship with a 16-year-old girl, the guitars sound serious yet simple and the vocals suitably raspy. There is a brief yet brilliant Ace Frehley guitar solo and yes, three tracks in, nobody could really say anything other than Kiss were making seriously good music.

    The title tracks states 'She's going to leave you well done, she'll burn you like the mid-day sun' - it's a rather silly song full of clichés and only partially saved by yet more sterling guitar work from Ace Frehley as well as a mean harmonica solo. 'All The Way' is again about girls and relationships and at this stage during the album, the songs tend to come across as much of a muchness and overly generic hard rock. 'Watchin You' would have made for a decent track to place in fourth place as far as the running order's concerned, buoyed by a simple little addictive riff and spirited vocals, there is much to admire here. To finish, 'Mainline' and 'Comin Home' are modestly entertaining glam-rock pieces and closing 'Strange Ways' a mean sounding tune with dirge-like riffs that rather over-shadow a fairly weak lead vocal.

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    this page last updated 21/07/13


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