I haven’t been this excited about a KISS CD since Psycho Circus back in 1998. Being a KISS fan for over 35 years, I found myself enjoying their 2009 release, Sonic Boom ,but feel Monster is a more unified and stronger sounding effort with the band having found their unique writing style.
Through-out their career KISS have racked up 28 U.S. gold albums, along with 40 million U.S. and 100 million in world sales. Monster will be the bands 20th studio album in their historic forty year career and is set to be unleashed to the world on October 10, 2012.
This incantation of the band with Gene Simmons on bass, Paul Stanley on rhythm guitar, Tommy Thayer on lead guitar and Eric Singer on drums has been together for roughly 11 years. Monster will be their second release together. It combines the KISS flair and catchy hooks from the early ’80s CD with the sonic crunch and song writing bite from their early ’90s releases.
The 13 tracks on Monster (including the Best Buy bonus track) range from the raucous prehistoric pop tune of “Back to the Stone Age” with Gene on vocals to the heavier rally cry for individually and independence on “Freak” with Paul taking the helm. All songs on this CD have an infectious groove that lasts with you even after the first listen just like their first single, a full-throttle rocker, “Hell or Hallelujah”. As you would come to expect with any KISS song, the lyrics are laced with sexual innuendos and overtones.
Were you expecting anything different?
What separates this release from Sonic Boom is that the music has more dimension and depth. It’s the subtle nuances on the guitar work and leads that add the texture to each of the songs as well as provide a level on complexity, breaking the mold of verse, chorus, verse that KISS has always been known for.
I think that Tommy Thayer has stretched out of the Ace Frehley box for this CD and is on his way to perfecting his own signature guitar sound, just like Vinnie Vincent did on Lick it Up in 1983. He even takes lead vocals on my favorite track, “Outta This World”, a story about taking you out of this world on a midnight rocket!
The songs are split up pretty evenly between Paul and Gene on lead vocals and even have Eric Singer getting in on one, “All for the Love of Rock n Roll”, which Paul wrote specifically for his singing style.
Gene’s songs really shine on Monster; they are reminiscent of his efforts on Revenge, being dark and malevolent like on “The Devil is Me” and “Wall of Sound”. “Long Way Down” and “Shout Mercy”, with Paul on vocals are soulfully slinky, rock driven songs just what you would come to expect from the “Starchild”.
The songs flow perfectly into each other, offering continuity from the first song to the last. I think Monster is a monumental achievement for Kiss that will please the diehard KISS fanatics and thrill any newcomers.