The kings of the night time world are back with screaming glory ‘n’ a vengeance! MONSTER is the twentieth studio album by iconic rockers KISS and it looks like 19 previous records, countless live shows and 39 years in the business haven’t slowed down the guys one bit. Monster is one of the biggest releases in the band’s history and it comes hot on the tails of their 2009 record, Sonic Boom (at that time, their first album in ten years) which saw the band achieve the highest US chart success of their entire career. Now the task falls on Monster to satisfy the mighty KISS army, continue their never ending – steamrolling success, fuel the ship on their second and sold out KISS KRUISE and most importantly of all, add a few more hits to the indestructible KISS KATALOGUE (yes, everything KISS related must, when possible, begin with a K).
Monster delivers everything the band promised and more. No ballads, no outside song writers and a welcome return to the band’s classic seventies sound. Harder guitars, re-introduction of groove and balls to the wall rock ‘n’ roll. Opening track ‘Hell Or Hallelujah’ screams back to the days of Love Gun and Rock N Roll Over. Shredding guitars left right and centre, a pounding riff and Paul ‘Starchild’ Stanley standing firm at the forefront delivering the best song KISS have written in years. Fortunately, it’s not alone. ‘Take Me Down Below’, ‘Last Chance’ and ‘Freak’ are all stand out tracks, vocally endorsed by Mr. Stanley, each one making a case to outshine the others.
As with Sonic Boom, Gene’s tracks take a few more listens to really get to grips with. The demon seems to be on a quest for a pounding, thunder some anthem that correctly represents his larger than life character with all the dark coattails and demonic tendencies attributed to such a legend– with the obligatory sing along catchiness we all want from KISS of course. After three days of listening, we can happily agree ‘Back To The Stoneage’, ‘The Devil Is Me’ and ‘Wall of Sound’ achieve everything you’d want from a classic Gene track. However his work with Paul on ‘Take Me Down Below’ stands out as one of the true Monster gems.
Not forgetting Tommy Thayer or Eric Singer, both deliver the goods across the board on Monster. Once again they both get a shot at the spotlight handling vocals on ‘Outta This World’ and ‘All For the Love of Rock ‘N’ Roll’ respectively. Two feel good, sing along KISS tracks that fill their space nicely (of course, this writer is tipping his hat to Outta This World more so).
Well, Monster is everything you’d thought it would be. A solid KISS album with its fair share of tunes you’d happily invite into future live sets. The whole band put in a great performance and it’s a true credit to them, especially after so many years in the business. 37 years ago they preached about rocking and rolling every day and every night and unlike most of their contemporaries, they’re still doing it to the letter. Rock on KISS!