The release of Music From The Elder in the autumn of 1981 came as a shocking indicator of Kiss's commercial decline: as of 2012, it is (still - afaia) the only Kiss album not to achieve gold status. In actual fact, all the album did was to confirm a trend that had been going on since 1978 (see separate Dynasty thread), whereby Kiss had steadily lost its original audience through questionable musical and personal decisions by band members (solo albums, Phantom, Gene and Cher, etc) as well as Kiss's omnipresence in American culture (people were getting bored with them). Gene Simmons has an (undeserved, imo) reputation as a savvy marketing man: so what lay behind his decision (backed up by Paul Stanley) to attempt to reverse Kiss's declining fortune by producing a concept album? Concept albums could not have been more 'out' in the scorched earth musical climate of the early 80s and Kiss have always prided themselves on being a band that listened and responded to the fans/marketplace. What the 'fans' wanted was, apparently, the 'heaviest yet' album that Kiss had been promising them for the last few years: the rejection of Unmasked (in the US, at least) had proved that any further forays into pop territory wouldn't yield any dividends. So, it was back to a forumla that had worked: Bob Ezrin and some high quality outside writers (including Lou Reed). They would have been better advised to go with Ace Frehley's suggestion of a real return to heavy (perhaps using his own 1978 solo album as a template?) - but Ace was outvoted and that was the beginning of his protracted exit from the band. After that, and the failure of The Elder, they had no choice but to give the fans what they had wanted all along - only to find that those same fans had long moved on to other things.... I have to admit to liking The Elder: it is the most atypical record Kiss ever made (I could be wrong, but I don't think there are any songs about sex on here), as well as being (easily) their most ambitious project - particularly when you remember that American bands didn't really have a pedigree where concept albums were concerned. It may not totally work, but it contains some great moments (World Without Heroes is one of the best AOR tracks ever recorded, I'd say): both Simmons and Stanley come out with some great material (Mr Blackwell and I Believe In Me are two of GS's best) and Ezrin was the ideal person to shape this stuff, whatever you might think of him as a producer. So - what did you make of The Elder? What did you think of Kiss at this time? How did you react to the new look (short hair and medieval costumes)? Or had you long since ceased to listen, or care?