The sticker on the front of “KISS – Monster” couldn’t be more honest. When they promise no filler and no ballads they mean it. All twelve tracks on this album rock from beginning to end. Whether written and sung by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer, or Eric Singer, each song is an adrenaline ride of rock ‘n roll riffing.
Just like “Sonic Boom,” every single track on “Monster” is written by one of the four members of the band. It’s 100-percent KISS the way fans like it.
It’s hard to keep things rolling on a record for twelve songs but KISS succeeds where other bands fail over and over. From the first track to the last, your eardrums will be beat down by songs that bring to mind the 1980s era of the band like “Animalize,” “Asylum,” and Crazy Nights.”
There’s not a lot here that reminds me of the 1970’s KISS albums. That might be a bad thing for some, but not true KISS Army members. I find all the eras of the band to be great in their own unique ways.
Lyrically, the band returns to its raunchy roots on tracks like “Eat Your Heart Out” and “Take Me Down Below.” Each member gets to step into the limelight on “Monster.” Paul Stanley brings his “take it or leave it” attitude to the single “Hell or Hallellujah” and “Freaks.” “The Devil in Me” and “Back to the Stone Ages” are classic self-reflections by Gene Simmons.
Tommy Thayer’s track, “Outta This World,” features the talented singer / songwriter grabbing the Spaceman character by the balls and making it his own. Eric Singer performs lead vocals on a track that reflects himself entitled “All for the Love of Rock ‘N Roll.” Anyone who’s ever read or heard the drummer’s philosophy about life knows he practices what he preaches.
Paul Stanley produced “Monster” with the help of Greg Collins. The outcome is a raw and rollicking sound that is an extension of “Sonic Boom.” You can hear the energy and passion they put into each song. It’s evident the band was recording the songs the way they wanted to present them.
“Monster” continues to show that KISS is here to stay. Two solid records with the same lineup should put to rest any doubts in anyone’s minds. The present incarnation of KISS is more than capable of continuing to deliver quality rock anthems just as they have since the band’s first album in 1973. They continue to be the “Hottest Band in the World” and show it on “Monster.”
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
KISS Beats the Texas Heat at Dallas Show
KISS Drummer Eric Singer Tells Dallas to Get Ready for ‘Monster’ Show
KISS Issues #1 and #2 Comic Book Review