Review Summary: Early KISS? Sonictheplumber should love it! But he doesn't...
The year was 1974, and KISS were still a fairly new band. They had only been together for a single year, and it would be a whole one more year before they became what they wanted to be: stars. It seems that from listening to this album, there was a reason that KISS were not famous. Upon buying the band's second album, Hotter Than Hell
, I had high expectations. I'm a KISS fan, and this is almost as early as KISS gets. But, take it from a real KISS fan, this album is not that great at all.
The first problem with the album is the poor production. It seems too raw and fuzzy. You see, if I am not mistaken, the CD I bought was remastered, so it would sound the way it was supposed to sound. If this fuzzy production is the way Hotter Than Hell
was originally intended to be heard, then why do I want to hear it? If one listened to it without knowing that it was a studio album, one might think that it is an EP. KISS never released an EP though. But if you want semi-EP-ish production, this is up your alley.
However, the production is not a huge problem. It stops bothering you after a while. In fact, once you get into the album, it's not at all that noticeable. The main problems with this album are the songs themselves. Sure, the opener, Got To Choose
, is a nice hard rocking tune, and it's very catchy. And then, we get Parasite
, and what's there not to like about it? However, Goin' Blind
is just bland. The musicianship is, of course, not too wonderful. It's KISS. But on this album, it's like the live albums have better production. After that song, the title track comes, and this song is very good. It rocks, and it rocks hard. It's regular old KISS greatness. The lyrics? Stupid, but hey, it's expected. And then, Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll
arrives, and it is pure rock 'n' roll fun. The KISS that we all like. This ends the first half of the album. We're off to a good start.
The final half of this album is dull, bland, and just boring. The musicianship is typical KISS, but there are no interesting riffs hardly at all, and everything else about these tracks are pretty boring. The very worst song in this half of Hotter
is the dreadful Mainline
. The song is not complete trash, but it's pretty close. The song just tries to rock out loud, but it fails miserably. It's just boring and cheesy. It's the type of song that will turn you off of KISS. Let's say a person who wants to get into KISS hears this song, and this song only. They would be turned off of KISS forever, simply because Mainline is one of the dullest KISS tracks I've heard(from their 70's era at least, the 80's were dull all the way through).
In conclusion, the album basically quits being pretty decent after the fifth track is over. The smartest thing to do would be to turn off the album after this song ends and just pretend it's either a really short album, or an EP. Considering the EP-production value of Hotter Than Hell
, pretending that it is an EP is pretty appropriate. Usually on KISS albums in the 1970's, we would have an almost good track-dull track pattern, but with this release, it's pretty decent on first half, boring on final half. So, if you are a completist of KISS(hopefully for just the 70's), I suppose I might be able to recommend this, but if you are the casual fan, just buy Alive II
and carry on with life.
+ First half is good
+ Title track is excellent
- Production is sort of a flaw
- The final half, mostly Mainline