Post by on Oct 8, 2009 11:02:10 GMT -5
Kiss ‘Sonic Boom’
Label: Kiss Records
Review by Bucky
In December of 1976 I received my first Kiss album: Kiss “Rock & Roll Over” as a Christmas gift from one of my sisters. The only Kiss songs I was familiar with at the time were “Beth” & “Rock & Roll All Nite” & I had no idea what the band was all about. The artwork on ‘Rock & Roll Over’ amazed me & the music on the record blew me away. I was hooked on that first listen & the cover had me intrigued to find out more about the band. By June of 1977 I was a freak that bought every magazine & poster I could find with Kiss. During that month radio commercials were plugging the new album ‘Love Gun’ by Kiss which was to be released on June 30th. Teasers of “Love Gun”, “Hooligan”, “Christine 16”, & “Shock Me” blared through the airwaves during the 30 second commercials & June 30th couldn’t arrive fast enough. Finally, the day had arrived & I took the money I had from my 8th grade graduation to Cavages Record Store at a local mall where I purchased ‘Love Gun’ & ‘The Originals’(I already had the first 3 albums but I wanted ‘The Originals’ for the extra memorabilia that was included). ‘Love Gun’ sounded incredible from beginning to end & I probably listened to that album 5 times that day. By the end of that first day I knew every song all the way through. Little did I know that this day would be repeated 32 years later.
When word leaked out earlier this year that Kiss would be releasing a new studio album with their current line-up featuring Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer, & Tommy Thayer I was psyched. As the release date of October 6th grew closer more info on the album was being released & a tour was set to coincide with the release of the new album.
A new song by the band titled “Modern Day Delilah” appeared on the official Kiss website www.kissonline.com & the heavy rocker was a bit of a teaser from ‘Sonic Boom’. The band began including “Modern Day Delilah” in their set list which Paul Stanley introduced as “Classic Kiss” stating that it doesn’t have to be old to be classic.The new album was to be released exclusively through Wal-Mart & would include 2 bonus discs along with ‘Sonic Boom’ (one CD of a Best of Kiss with all of their classics reworked by the current line-up & a DVD with 6 songs recorded live from April of 2009). Wal-Mart stores were to set up a “Kiss Korner” featuring the new album along with various merchandise including T-Shirts, Blankets, M & M’s, Trading Cards, & Kiss Mr. Potatohead dolls. With all the hype surrounding the new album I felt as I did 32 years earlier but instead of my Mom rolling her eyes at me it was my wife!
“Modern Day Delilah” kicks off ‘Sonic Boom’ with a heavy style that revisits 1982’s ‘Creatures of the Night’ in the same vein as “Creatures of the Night” & “Keep Me Coming”. The tune has a great line that goes “…Just like the trigger on a loaded gun…you were the reason for the damage done…”. “Russian Roulette” continues the heavy rock assault with some great bass runs by Gene Simmons. Simmons borrows a line from “Burn Bitch Burn” from 1984’s ‘Animalize’ album as he sings “…out of the frying pan & into the fire…” The tune has a hard driving melody that leads into the chorus (which the chorus reminds me a bit of Gene’s “Burning Up with Fever” from his 1978 solo album). Tommy Thayer rips a fiery solo that screams classic Kiss. “Never Enough” is a great hard rock/ pop tune that borrows from so many different bands that it’s destined to be a hit. I hear bits of The Raspberries, Whitesnake, Poison, Free, & Grand Funk all blended with a classic Kiss sound. “Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect)” is cool rock & roll tune that is a typical Gene Simmons composition built around his sense of humor. “Stand” is a hard rocking anthem tune sung by both Gene & Paul with a sing along chorus that has a 1988 hair band Monster Ballad feel to it. Once again Tommy’s lead work really stands out on this tune but then again I can say that about every tune on ‘Sonic Boom’ as the tone of his lead solos is near perfect sounding. The first chord of “Hot & Cold” followed by a few notes & a loud “Oh Yeah!” made me think of “Cold Gin” for a couple of seconds but then the rocker had the feel of Kiss’ “Got Love For Sale” & “Rockin’ in the U.S.A.”. When Kiss ‘Love Gun’ was released in 1977 it was the first time all four members each sang lead vocals on a Kiss album. 32 years later, all 4 current members sing lead vocals on ‘Sonic Boom’ & with his raspy voice drummer Eric Singer sings lead vocals on the inspirational anthem from the album “All for the Glory”. The highlight takes place at around the 2 minute mark where Eric lets out a grizzled scream & Tommy Bursts into an earsplitting solo. “Danger Us” starts out a bit like “Domino” off their 1992 ‘Revenge’ album but then rocks out in a heavy rock style complete with a catchy melody that will hook you in. “I’m an Animal” is the heaviest sounding tune on the album which has a cool groove & a great riff. My favorite tune on the album is “When Lightning Strikes” which features lead guitarist Tommy Thayer on lead vocals & it’s a hard rocking tune with a great hook that will kick your ass. ‘Sonic Boom’ closes with a late 80’s sounding rocker called “Say Yeah” which will have you singing “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” by the end of your first listen.
The first bonus disc is titled ‘Kiss Klassics’ & was originally released as a Japan exclusive called ‘Jigoku – Retsuden” in August of 2008. The CD features 15 Kiss tunes reworked with the current line-up. All of the classics are here including “Shout it Out Loud”, “Rock & Roll All Nite”,”Heaven’s on Fire”, “Lick it Up”, “Love Gun”,” Detroit Rock City”,” Calling Dr. Love”, “Hotter Than Hell”, & “Forever”. For the most part all of the songs are pretty close to the original versions but I prefer the new reworked version of the famous Kiss concert opener “Deuce” to the version from their 1974 self titled debut album. The new version of “Deuce” is played with the same energy as the ‘Kiss Alive’ version. The bonus DVD is 6 songs from Buenos Aires, Argentina on April 5, 2009 & the songs featured on the DVD are “Deuce”, “Hotter Than Hell”, “C’mon & Love Me”, “Watchin’ You”, “100,000 Years”, & “Rock & Roll All Nite”.
Overall, I love everything about ‘Sonic Boom’ & the new tunes stuck with me after the first day just like ‘Love Gun’ did in 1977. I listened to the album 4 times that first day & I like it more & more each time I listen to it. The album including the 2 bonus discs was only 12 dollars so it is definitely worth the price. The hottest band in the world is back.