KISS
Sonic Boom


3.0
good

Review

by Jeff F. USER (10 Reviews)
October 6th, 2009 | 7 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It's Kiss, what do you really expect?

Kiss, a band that’s been around since the early 70’s when they were known as “Wicked Lester,” is definitely an acquired taste. While some Kiss fans will always stand by their releases and praise the live performances, there’s an abundance of those that see the group as more of a gimmick than a band, consisting of businessmen who can play instruments rather than full fledged musicians. For instance, Gene Simmons isn’t that good a bassist or vocalist (he’s a better vocalist than bassist), though Paul Stanley is a very talented rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist. These two are the only remaining members of the original lineup of Kiss from the 70’s: anyone that plans on listening to this album know everything that’s gone on with Ace and Peter. Now there's Tommy Thayer at lead guitar and the reliable Eric Singer behind the kit. This is Singer’s first album since “Revenge” (not counting Carnival of Souls, but then again who does) and Thayer’s first as a member of Kiss. The last release by this band, “Psycho Circus”, was a decent album upon the first couple listens, but overall was just a boring, repetitive listen on most fronts.

Enter Sonic Boom: Kiss’ first album in 11 years, the longest span of time between any of their releases, and an overall good listen for anyone that’s wanted to hear something new from Kiss. The lead single off the album “Modern Day Delilah” is pretty indicative of the rest of the album; fairly catchy throughout, but once the chorus starts, it becomes apparent that Kiss are still having trouble churning out songs that are good in their entirety. Nevertheless, while the solo by Thayer isn’t anything groundbreaking, it's most certainly very good and indicates that he’s a more than competent replacement for Ace, though not nearly as good as Kulick. Simply listening to this song a couple of times will lead to the understanding that each song follows the same general format: a fairly heavy intro, pretty good verse, mediocre chorus, a solid solo, and more chorus, then the end of the song. Nonetheless, let's give some credit to Gene for laying down some solid bass lines in some of his songs. Russian Roulette, for example, has a groovy sounding bass that ultimately leads to the song being one of the best on the album, and definitely the best where he’s the lead vocalist.

Nevertheless, one aspect of Kiss that even diehard fans need to admit is that as lyricists, the guys fail miserably. This album is no different; while the lead single contains passable lyrics that can be forgiven for, if nothing else, their catchiness, a song like "Hot and Cold", with lyrics like “If it’s too hot/you’re too cold/ If it’s too loud/you’re too old/and if you let go/of what you can’t hold/you’re too hot and cold,” really makes one wonder why they don’t hire somebody that can actually write decent lyrics. The beginning of the chorus to "Danger Us" is catchy enough to make the song likeable, but the latter part of the chorus has the same major problem as Hot and Cold; the lyrics are terrible, and in this case they're a horribly corny play on words; and, it's very difficult to not cringe, thinking that the guys probably though they were being clever. Quite frankly, what Gene and Paul write on this album is sometimes just absurdly, laughably bad.

The musicianship is pretty standard for a Kiss album, and as mentioned previously, Gene does play a decent bass on the album, while Singer is very consistent on the drums, as usual. As is the case with all songs on this album, Thayer does lay down a pretty good solo after the chorus to save some of these songs from drowning in mediocrity, like the aforementioned Hot and Cold and songs like "Never Enough" and "I’m an Animal" that don’t really stand out after listening to the entirety of the album, the former trying to be an anthem type song that just sounds forced.

Overall, the album sounds like a combination of their 70's and 80's albums; they’re less poppy than some of the songs released in the 70’s and a bit on the heavier side, like the 80’s, but the solos and structure of the songs are definitely reminiscent of some of their earlier work.

As a whole, Sonic Boom is a good, listenable effort from a group that people either love or hate. Thayer has proven that he does match up to Ace in terms of playing ability, and Singer will always be a better drummer than Criss: period. I’ll always stand by Paul Stanley as a vocalist, though this album does at times demonstrate that his voice is strained after all these years of touring. Gene’s bass is more noticeable on this album than others, and that actually isn’t a bad thing. The only truly awful aspect of the album are the lyrics; if Kiss manages to release another album in the future, they either need to consult with someone or hire someone good to write for them.

Grade: 3

Recommended Songs:
Modern Day Delilah
Russian Roulette
Danger Us
When Lightning Strikes (featuring Tommy Thayer on lead vocals)



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Muse1748
October 6th 2009


160 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Review of just the new material. Any constructive criticism is greatly appreciated.

blindsided21
October 6th 2009


146 Comments


Well written review for a first. Pos'd.

Phantom
October 6th 2009


8930 Comments


SONIC BOOM!

Guile rules

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
September 18th 2011


7047 Comments


Only just noticed you wrote back to me in your own shoutbox (if you put that comment in mine i would've noticed a lot quicker. As for critiques there are a lot that a better at this than me but i'll give it a go regardless : ]

Review tone is pretty conversational, and as you have stated before (about your lack of musical terminology and descriptions) leaves your review a bit play-by-play when you actually dicuss some of the tracks.

Your discussion/points on the ( I will admit) rather immature, and not to well thought out lyrics makes for one of the better sections of this review.

Some of your phrasing is awkward, whilst other wordings flow; for example: The musicianship is pretty standard for a Kiss album, and as mentioned previously, Gene does play a decent bass on the album, while Singer is very consistent on the drums, as usual.

Try:
The overall musicianship is pretty standard of any Kiss album. Gene displays a decent bass effort throughout and as usual Singer provides a very consistent workload on the drums.



NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
September 18th 2011


7047 Comments


Review length is pretty good, but i'll have to say that there isn't a lot of talk about the music. This is a pretty good review for a first and i will pos. Shoutbox me if you have any queries?

Muse1748
September 20th 2011


160 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Haha, wow. Totally messed up on the shoutbox thing; to be honest, I didn't even know it existed until I saw that you had left me one. Definitely noted for next time.

As for the review, I do greatly appreciate the critques. I did edit the review a couple weeks ago, trimmed it down and I thought it sounded better than my initial submission.

I will probably have to become a bit more knowledgeable on musical terminology and various other musical goodies before I try and write another review. There's a great deal I've been listening to lately, but just nothing I've sunk my teeth into deeply enough to feel the need for (attempted) review. Maybe Chickenfoot III when it comes out.

Again, many thanks sir.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2011


7047 Comments


Regardless this is a pretty good first.



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