Rock and Roll Over



by Pedro B. USER (303 Reviews)
December 3rd, 2009 | 11 replies | 11,208 views

Release Date: 1976 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Frehley shines in an unpretentious, but also unremarkable album.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Why exactly have you never heard of Rock’n’Roll Over? And why aren’t you overtly familiar with any of its ten songs?. Reasons are plentiful: it followed two of KISS’s most revered – and best – albums, it was recorded and released in a hurry to keep the group’s momentum going, and, in most aspects, it’s a step back from Dressed To Kill and Destroyer.

Which is not to say that this album – recorded live inside a theater, in places like hallways and toilets – is at all bad. It’s certainly a step up from Hotter Than Hell, ranking at about the same level as the debut album. Production-wise, it’s a return to the basic, raw sound of KISS’s early days, while the songwriting follows the template of the last two albums, while attempting to diversify and reach new audiences. The result is an album which, while unremarkable, nevertheless has its merits.

The beginning of the album is anything but promising: I Want You is a drab attempt at blues-rock, and Take Me has an absolutely ridiculous chorus (incidentally, the same exact vocal melody would be re-used on the following album, for the chorus of Shock Me, with much superior results). The heat starts to pick up with the humongous riff for Calling Dr. Love, a song in which the real star of this album starts to surface. For the remaining seven songs, this is going to be the Ace Frehley show.

The reportedly disgruntled guitarist rises miles above his comrades to provide most of the reasons that make this album worth a listen. His heavy riffs and shredding solos punctuate the songs, and provide at least a couple of jaw-slacking moments. The solos on Calling Dr. Love and Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em negate everyone who ever said KISS couldn’t play (although the statement still holds true for Gene Simmons). In the latter song, the solo is even the highlight of an otherwise unremarkable composition.

While Frehley shines, his companions are not laid to waste, either. Simmons is his usual disgrace, but even he seems more in tune with what a bassist is really supposed to do (the fingers are supposed to be petting the strings, Gene, not the women…); Criss provides simple beats, but shows he can play whenever the situation calls for it; and Simmons, Stanley and Criss are all competent singers, with the latter displaying the most chops in his sole lead track.

But what an album inevitably comes down to is the quality of its songs. On Rock’n’Roll Over, it’s quite wavery. On the one side are undeniably great tracks like Calling Dr. Love, the boogied Mr. Speed, which sounds like an outtake from the debut, or the full-on, visceral, no-frills rock’n’roll of Makin’ Love. On the other are throwaway tracks like I Want You, Take Me, Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em and See You In Your Dreams, which definitely don’t make the grade next to those from Dressed or Destroyer. Also evident is KISS’s attempt to explore new avenues for their sound, with Baby Driver sounding like one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s livelier boogies and Hard Luck Woman sounding as much like a radio track of the period as a mid-90’s alt-pop-rock conconction, a la Soul Asylum. It’s also hard to decide if the track – composed for and rejected by Rod Stewart – is really good or really poor. The catchiness of its chorus eventually wins out, but despite a good performance from Criss, the song never reaches standout status. Rounding out the pack is Ladies Room, a typically KISSian track which makes for a nice backbone for the record, but eventually loses its initially acquired standout status.

In short, this is a typical transition album: unpretentious, written “on the knee”, and which eventually fails to reach its stellar predecessors. However, by no means is Rock’n’Roll Over a failure. It’s just not a very memorable album, that’s all.

Recommended Tracks
Calling Dr. Love
Mr. Speed
Makin’ Love

Recent reviews by this author
Big Ball Hotter than HellChosen Resolution
Werefox I Am MemorySound City Players Sound City: Real To Reel
Nirvana NevermindEnforcer Death By Fire
user ratings (231)
other reviews of this album
facupm (4.5)
One of the best albums of one of the most influential bands ever....

Ctippell (4)
KISS go back to their rawer records before Alive! and make another anthem filled delight with some n...

Comments:Add a Comment 
December 3rd 2009


Good review, never liked kiss though.

December 3rd 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

Great review again. I always loved this one because of it's straightforward nature, escpecially after Destroyer. You're right about Ace really shining on this one.

Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2009


Another Kiss review, another pos from me

Digging: Marcel Dettmann - Fabric 77

December 3rd 2009


I've really never seen the talent in KISS which probably makes me out to be ignorant/pretentious. But your review is good.

December 4th 2009


Album Rating: 3.5

you're right. there isn't much talent. and what little there is is masked by the limited-range vocals and that awful, awful, AWFUL bass!

March 6th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

yeah...i love this album, it's so damn fun.

August 3rd 2010


Album Rating: 5.0

This album is truly one of the best things they've ever done it"s got the tough sound of their first 3 albums with much better production and some dynamic stuff of destroyer and not to mention eddie kramers sense of recording to give kiss pure balls to their sound.

July 26th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

Why does everyone hate on Gene Simmons bass playing? I personally cannot see what he does wrong that everyone seems to think he does, he plays fine and his vocals aren't terrible. Ok I am a fan of the band but the reason I am a fan is because I think they are good. Nice review though mate

December 28th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

"return to rock" makes a statement about "limited vocals" and he has an AC/DC icon??? yeah cause brian johnson has such great range? stanley is no tyler or freddy mecury but he is a way better singer than brian johnson. he doesnt even sing he grunts like he's taking a shit!

February 3rd 2013


Album Rating: 4.5

Kiss was making a return to their straightforward style after there was some initial blow-back from the Ezrin produced and more experimental Destroyer. History shows Destroyer was ahead of its time and a classic, but Rock and Roll Over is no slouch. Outstanding songwriting abounds. Every song (except maybe "See You In Your Dreams") reaches out and grabs you. I will agree that Ace Frehley truly does shine on this record. But overall this is a great record...and considering the pace at which Kiss was releasing records at that time its quality is impressive. 4.5/5 indeed!

January 22nd 2014


Album Rating: 3.0

Just a descent album. Not bad but not anything special either.

Digging: Anacrusis - Manic Impressions

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2014
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy