KISS: The Songs 1974-2012

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by GodShifter, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. Haggis Wampovich

    Haggis Wampovich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Burning River, USA
    KISS Unplugged is a magnificent release in many ways. Love it.

    It shows the band had great songwriting and vocal chops. Eric and Bruce sound amazing here. The fact that they pulled out some deep cuts highlights the fact that these guys had the tunes behind the bombast and stage show. Of course, I would have loved to hear more songs- it's too bad they didn't do a volume 2 at any point while they had the white hot band in tact.

    I think this might be Paul's finest hour. He looks and sounds great, and he's sitting on a bar stool. Any doubt about his musical abilities? This is exhibit A in support of his awesomeness.

    Ace and Peter coming in is also good, but their chops weren't quite happening, especially when compared to the level of the rest of the band. I'm not saying they sounded bad necessarily, but it's obvious that they were being carried a bit.

    I love all the KISS drummers and vintage Peter will always be my favorite. That said, this video really showcases Eric's contributions both as a drummer and vocalist. He's so solid.

    A+
     
  2. YardByrd

    YardByrd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Helsinki
    I bought CoS for the first time a little while back. It's quickly wormed its way into my Top 5 as well. Great record.
     
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  3. carlwm

    carlwm Well-Known Member

    Location:
    wales
    I truly hope you're right about the grunge thing. I haven't heard any I've enjoyed. Always regarded it as the petulant, unwashed spotty teenage cousin of proper rock music and therefore always avoided COS.

    In truth, Creatures & the odd song aside, KISS have never convinced me as a heavy band. Now I'm back home with decent listening facilities, I've given Revenge a couple of spins for the first time. Not as bad as I'd feared but not as good as the three preceding albums (and I'm aware that I'm swimming against the tide with this opinion). I'll put up a slightly more detailed review when I've had another listen or two.
     
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  4. bartels76

    bartels76 Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    CT
    No, they were booing a bit when the current lineup came back on.
     
  5. dave9199

    dave9199 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC
    I agree more with Mr. Fernando here but agree somewhat with Diamond Star Halo. I think after COS their main thought was looking back obviously but I think they were still looking forward creatively to see what an album with the original lineup would be like. I'm betting if the reunion went well enough the plan was to do an album and see how that went. It was after Psycho Circus that the creativity stopped. Maybe they were trying to do another one after that before that lineup collapsed again, I don't know. The nostalgia thing was coming in by greater degrees through the 90's and that's where I do agree with DSH about how can you avoid that. Give the people what they want but then how long will the people want what they wanted? Attendance goes down again and they try different things. Rather than putting the energy into another album, their creative energy goes into the shows more than ever because that's where the money is nowadays. Someone else asked why would a label put money into an album that would be shelved. They didn't know that at the time but any label would've gladly taken that bet if it looked like they could get the next one with all four original members on it (even though that actually wasn't the case). I thought I heard it was Singer and Kulick who pushed to get COS released and the fact it got bootlegged.
     
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  6. vamborules

    vamborules Forum Resident

    Location:
    CT
    I don't think any of those songs would have worked. A lot of songs just aren't well suited to the Unplugged format, and Ace's are maybe less suited than most. Especially if we are considering his voice and not just the songs. He needs some loud guitars. I don't know. I'm not really a fan of this as a record to begin with. I've never owned the CD. The band sounds great and everything but it's not really the way I want to listen to these songs. These are hard rock songs and that's the way I like them.
     
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  7. Haggis Wampovich

    Haggis Wampovich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Burning River, USA
    Unplugged songs I think would have translated well (limited to five)

    Naked City
    I
    Flaming Youth
    Larger Than Life (maybe with some slide guitar from Bruce)
    Kissin' Time
     
  8. DTVOICES94

    DTVOICES94 Well-Known Member

    Unplugged
    Some personal highlights...
    For all the talk of the "KISS Live Spectacle", it was nice to see the songs shine here and boy did they shine brightly.
    Comin Home was wonderful as an opener and is easily my go to version of the song.
    Plaster Caster & Goin' Blind sounded great and Sure Know Something was mind blowingly good.
    A World Without Heroes was a nice surprise but See You Tonight stole the show for me.
    If nothing else, Unplugged showed that the members of KISS can indeed write and play memorable songs and were much more than blowing things up and fire/blood.
    This is right up there with Alive for me as my favorite KISS live album and shows how great this lineup was musically...Paul was on top of his game vocally, Eric was a dynamo on drums, Bruce was as well rounded and versatile as ever, and Gene put in one of his best all around performances. On top of that, the return of Ace and Peter. What a time to be a fan!!
     
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  9. vamborules

    vamborules Forum Resident

    Location:
    CT
    I was think more about the reunion last night. I remember telling my dad when I went to the show, and he said 'so how long ago was that we went to see them?. I said 18 years. And he said 18 years. As in that's a long time. And it seemed like it was at the time. But now that conversation is 20 years ago and the Dynasty show we were talking about is 38(!) years ago. I'm five years older than he was when we went to it..etc. Time. It's a bastard.
     
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  10. vamborules

    vamborules Forum Resident

    Location:
    CT
    Also, I was remembering that the opening band at my show was Sugar Ray. It's kind of funny because this was like maybe a month before they hit with 'Fly'. After 'Fly' they went full-on VH1 soft rock, but at this point they were still trying to be a (sort of) hard rock band .
     
  11. carlwm

    carlwm Well-Known Member

    Location:
    wales
    I've been enjoying reading everyone's opinions while I've been away. Here's a few thoughts on HITS:

    I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting Crazy Nights. I love AOR and am happy enough with 80s production styles, so there was always going to be more for me to enjoy here than for some.

    Back in the day, barring a few songs, I thought that HITS was a bit of a step backwards from its predecessor but I gave it another chance a while ago & I've really taken to it. Too long? Most definitely but there's not much completely awful here.

    RISE TO IT - Disappointing start for me. Jaunty enough but no real meat on the bones. Poor choice for a single. 2/5

    BETRAYED - Ah, now this is more like it. Gene at his best. Fab singing & decent melody. 4/5

    HIDE YOUR HEART - Brilliant. Even better the the mighty Bonnie Tyler's version ( hey, I'm from Swansea!). Love the tune & love the dramatic performances. Should have been huge. 5/5

    PRISONER OF YOUR LOVE - More great Gene vocals. He's so much better when he sings rather than shouts. Chorus is a bit generic though. 4/5

    READ MY BODY - Yeah, it's cheesy & far too Aerosmith but for all that, it's fun. 3/5

    LOVE IS A SLAP IN THE FACE - If this was on one of the Big Six, I reckon this would have been a fan fave. Completely infectious. This should have been the third single, not Rise To it. 5/5

    FOREVER - Easy to see why this hit big. Lovely melody & sung with real passion. Always felt the chorus could do with another line before the "until my life is through" bit. No matter. Doesn't spoil the song. Be nice to hear an Ann Wilson cover . Agree with the praise for Bruce on the solo 5/5

    SILVER SPOON - Solid but one I can never bring to mind when I think about the album. The soul chick vox at the end elevate it to 3/5

    CADILLAC DREAMS - Gene's on a roll. Love the southern rock vibe on this one. Could have been a Doc Holliday song. And those horns. Stunning 5/5

    KING OF HEARTS - Whereas Hide Your Heart has a Bon Jovi flavour, this one steals the entire recipe, especially of Runaway on the debut. No matter - top song nonetheless. Love the chorus! 4/5

    THE STREET GIVETH..... - Not quite up to Gene's selections thus far but still pretty decent. Bit of a rewrite of Christine Sixteen. 3/5

    YOU LOVE ME TO HATE YOU - Very commercial so another possible hit. More Desmond Than Paul in this one methinks. 3/5

    SOMEWHERE BETWEEN HEAVEN & HELL - I love this song - my favourite on the album. As good as anything Gene did on the Big Six. What a chorus! 5/5

    LITTLE CAESAR - Good to have an Eric lead vocal. He reminds me of someone that I can't quite bring it to mind. Maybe the chap from Head East? Probably not. Nice strong verse here but the chorus isn't up too much really. 3/5

    BOOMERANG - Oh Gene, it was going so well. This is like an Animalize out-take. Terrible. 1/5

    Interesting that, for me at least, HITS is topped and tailed by its worst songs. Can't think of any other record where that's the case. As for the rest, it seems that Paul has done what he has for the last few albums & chased the commercial zeitgeist (with some genuine success, I reckon) while Gene has taken a look at his 70s writing and tried to recreate the magic (again, for me, successfully for the most part).

    I'd remove Boomerang (although it would probably come back :) ) and Rise To It, for certain, and perhaps Silver Spoon. Other than that happy enough.

    Overall rating (15 track): 3.7,
    Overall rating (12 track): 4.1
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  12. bartels76

    bartels76 Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    CT
  13. Digital Morphine

    Digital Morphine Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Here
    I think you're right, I had a case of earspaintedonitis :)
     
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  14. antonkk

    antonkk Forum Resident

    Location:
    moscow
    I absolutely love Blue Moon Over Brooklyn of Peter's 1994 album

     
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  15. GodShifter

    GodShifter Starless and Bible Black Sabbath® Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA
    Ha! Fat chance! I'm sure somehow it'd just give Gene another excuse to try and sue me :laugh:
     
  16. yarbles

    yarbles Forum Resident

    Location:
    Darkhan
    Totally agree. And I don't think COS will change that, however heavy it might be. Didn't Warrant 'go grunge' too? I'm expecting 'grunge KISS' to be about as credible as 'grunge Warrant', not that I ever heard a Warrant album...
     
  17. GodShifter

    GodShifter Starless and Bible Black Sabbath® Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA
    [​IMG]
    KISS Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions (Mercury Records, 1997)

    Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions is the 17th studio record by KISS. It was recorded from November of 1995 through February of 1996 at Music Grinder Studios, in Hollywood, California. The album was produced by Toby Wright, Gene Simmons, and Paul Stanley. It is seen as one of the more polarizing albums in the band’s long and varied discography (probably right up there with Music From The Elder in terms of love/hate from the fan base).

    Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions was originally intended to follow up KISS’s Unplugged album that was released in 1995 and aired on MTV with a companion video released at the same time. With the success of that album, however, and the hype behind original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss joining for a few songs, the excitement began to build about a possible reunion of the four original members and a subsequent tour. Never the less, through all of this anticipation, negotiations, and speculation, the band was still at work recording Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions with their regular line up of Simmons, Stanley, Kulick, and Singer. However, when the reunion was announced in 1996, the band ultimately decided to cancel the release of the record and it was shelved. It would not be released until late 1997 as Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions after rough bootlegs of the album had been circulating for almost a year prior.

    The origins of Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions sound go back to the rise of “grunge” scene (a stupid term but that's the usual accepted nomenclature) in Seattle in the early to mid 90’s. Bands like Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, Melvins, and Mudhoney were becoming the heavy music of the day and replacing more mainstream hard rock and metal in many listener’s collections and on the radio. KISS feeling, once again, that they needed to shift their focus to a trending sound, decided they wanted to put out a heavier, darker album that was something akin to Alice In Chains like material. Approaching producer, Toby Wright, who had worked with Alice in Chains on their self titled album (otherwise known as “Tripod”) the band began to work with him just months after that album was completed in terms of the recording sessions.

    Indeed, the music on Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions is dark, dense, and has off kilter time changes and involved instrumental sections. It’s certainly one of the most ambitious albums, music wise, that the band had ever attempted and it had to push Simmons and Stanley to handle some of the material in terms of execution. Indeed, Bruce Kulick handles much the of the guitar work for the album and plays bass on six of the albums’ 12 tracks. Surprisingly, he also got a lead vocal for the last song on the album “I Walk Alone” (a somewhat fitting send off for the guitarist who had been a mainstay in the band for some ten years). Eric Singer, ever the pro, handles the music with ease. Indeed, his deft fills and fine drum work help propel much of this dense, tough material to great heights. Vocally, Simmons is right in his wheelhouse with this kind of material as his gruff, powerful "Demon" voice fits the dark, heavy material perfectly. Stanley, on the hand, doesn't fair as well (and that's being kind, but more on that as we go). Personnel wise, there are no outside players on Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions, but both Jamie St. James and Tommy Thayer from Black 'n' Blue contribute songwriting as well as outside contributors Curt Cuomo, Ken Tamplin, and Scott Van Zen with additional songwriting credits.

    Carnival of Souls was the first KISS studio album to not reach even Gold status in terms of sales. The album is uncertified by the RIAA but has sold close to 200,000 copies since Sound Scan starting tracking the numbers. It’s highest charting was #27 on the charts lasting 4 weeks. No songs from the album have ever been performed live by KISS, but Bruce Kulick in other projects has performed “I Walk Alone” and “Jungle”. The Eric Singer Project has performed both songs as well.

    With that somewhat shaky introduction in terms of factoids and the history of Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions let's now look at the first song "Hate".



    HATE 1997 (Simmons, Van Zen, Kulick) (4:36)

    “Hate” was written by Gene Simmons, Bruce Kulick, and Scott Van Zen (who had had a previous writing credit with KISS on Revenge for the awful “Spit”).

    The origins of “Hate” date back to 1993 with Simmons having the chorus worked out, but not until Van Zen and Kulick came along would the song take full form. Both Kulick and Simmons envisioned the song being a follow up, in terms of spirit, to “Unholy” which was the lead track from Revenge. The song was demoed several times during sessions after Revenge during the down time the band had after the tour.

    The beginning of “Hate” starts out with some weird sound effects that were achieved through plugging a guitar into a very high amp gain along with a overdrive distortion pedal. Apparently that’s Paul saying, "Ladies and Gentlemen, from Boise, Idaho... direct from the Paramount Theatre... 12 years-old, little Billy Corgan" with “Corgan” being backwardly masked. (Bruce, claims on his website, that the band was just having some fun and no ill will existed between the Smashing Pumpkins frontman and the band). From there the band launches into a crushing tune complete with a dominant and hard hitting vocal by Simmons with backing vocals by Paul, Eric, and Bruce. Lyrically, the song is along the lines of “Unholy” in terms of theme as Simmons stated in an interview that the song is about humans having the “instinct to want to kill and having to fight that urge” (KISSMONSTER.com) to live in a civilized society.

    Musically, “Hate” is a choppy tune with heavy, down tuned guitars with drummer, Eric Singer, bashing away behind his kit adding huge, complex staccato beats and fills with little bits of interesting percussive effects here and there and awesome cymbal work. Gene is on bass for this one and is very busy adding lots of runs underneath the guitars and the drums.

    Kulick claims to be primarily responsible for the bridge of the song which Gene really liked and decided it needed no vocals for that part. It, indeed, is a powerful part of the tune and leads up to Bruce’s solo where he uses what’s called a Whammy Pedal which allowed him to do several octave shifts as well as providing the wild, frenetic sound from his guitar (Kulick says that to try and recreate this solo live would have been "a nightmare").

    To me, “Hate” starts out the album with a bang and I really like the song. I think it sets the mood perfectly for a dark, gritty, and foreboding sound which is what KISS was looking to accomplish. That said, there’s nothing really that novel or eye opening about the sound of the song as bands like Alice In Chains and Soundgarden had mined this kind of down tuned, dirty style before KISS, but credit must be given for the powerful performance of Simmons' vocal, Singer’s terrific drumming, and Kulick’s inspired guitar work. It’s a great start for the album and leaves me wanting more of this type of thing (though I’ll admit I’m a total sucker for really sludgy, ugly metal like this so maybe take my opinion with a grain of salt).
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  18. carlwm

    carlwm Well-Known Member

    Location:
    wales
    I really can't get my head around a grunge Warrant. That's like a punk Leo Sayer!

    I'm going to try to keep an open mind about COS but much like cows who keep an open mind on the way to the slaughterhouse, I don't expect the outcome to be a pleasant one.
     
  19. GodShifter

    GodShifter Starless and Bible Black Sabbath® Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA
    Agree with post 100%; especially the last part. I've never owned it, either.
     
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  20. antonkk

    antonkk Forum Resident

    Location:
    moscow
    With the only difference that KISS did grunge in 1974 with tracks like Going Blind and most grunge bands were big KISS fans. Can't say the same thing about Warrant.
     
  21. antonkk

    antonkk Forum Resident

    Location:
    moscow
    Right of the gate Carnival of Souls dissapointed me with Hate. Not much of the tune behind the heaviness here, to put it mildly. I picked up COS the same day as Priest's Jugulator with the huge expectations and boy did the opening tracks of both leave the bad smell in my mouth. 2 classic band shamelessly chasing the 90's trends with pretty much disastrous results. COS of course turned out to be a better album than Jugulator but the opening track showed very little promise.
     
  22. Curveboy

    Curveboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    Such a great song...too bad about the demo quality.
     
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  23. Curveboy

    Curveboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    HATE

    So back in...geez...I don't know...COS was maybe my first internet bootleg. If I recall the tempo was different, either faster or slower based on the cassette it was bootlegged from. But damn did I love it and couldn't believe it was sitting on the record companies shelf!
    Word was they planned on re-recording it with Ace and Peter...can you imagine Peter Criss trying to play this drum part??

    And the two killer things about this song are those lyrics and Eric Singer's drum parts. Considering our current political climate this is the perfect song. "All you foreigners? And saviors? Go though the same door..."

    This is a vicious, brutal heavy metal attack!
     
  24. BluesOvertookMe

    BluesOvertookMe Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seabrook, TX, USA
    OK, so I gotta start this with my personal biases - we all have them, don't deny: I consider the 1990s the worst decade for music in the Rock & Roll era. I think grunge is almost as stupid a term as hair metal and an even more stupid term than classic rock. And don't get me started on the term alternative.

    I mostly gave up on Pearl Jam after the first two records (which I do like) and a recent listen to In Utero reminded me that I don't care for it.

    That having been said, I am a fan of Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. Not that they would make my top 40 bands.

    I have never heard Carnival of Souls before.

    When Hate started, I wondered about all of the feedback and if I would like the song, but ultimately I did. Very heavy - the guitar is good, Gene's vocals fit the song, and Eric Singer's drum work was nice too. The melody worked for me overall - I'll give it a 7.2 out of 10.


    [​IMG]
     
  25. BluesOvertookMe

    BluesOvertookMe Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seabrook, TX, USA
    I sure hope so, Jugulator made me want to punch myself in the face.
     

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