Creatures of the Night



by Pedro B. USER (303 Reviews)
January 10th, 2010 | 14 replies

Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A solid effort which opens up new roads for KISS. It's a pity they chose not to follow them...

It has been well documented in previous reviews that KISS’s career in the early 80’s was an absolute shambles. The megalomania of “Super KISS” had contributed to destroy the group, for whom the last few years of the “makeup era” represented a desperate, directionless and helpless period. For every decent record (1980’s Unmasked) there were two drab ones (1979’s Dynasty and 1981’s atrocious The Elder); founding members were leaving or drifting away; and ticket sales for shows were quite predictably dwindling, to the extent that arenas where KISS had sold out a couple of years previously now hosted 500 people for one of the group’s shows.

The whole mess came to its zenith in 1982, when Ace Frehley pointedly asked to leave the band. The problem was, his departure would make KISS’s entire contract null and void. The solution? Privately negotiate Frehley’s release from the group, while at the same time pretending he was still there. This practice was anything but unknown to KISS, who had done the exact same thing in 1980, after the departure of Peter Criss. Thus, although Ace didn’t play a single note of the then-upcoming Creatures Of The Night, he still appeared in videos and other promotional actions up until the release of the album, and still got his face plastered on the cover.

With Ace all but gone, as he had been for a few years, the handling of the guitars on Creatures fell to a multitude of guest guitarists, a practice which was also well known to the band. Among the musicians who lent a hand were Bob Kulick (obviously), Rick Derringer and one Vincent Cusano, who would soon become KISS’s second permanent guitarist, under the name Vinnie Vincent. More significant among the guest names were those of Bryan Adams – yes, that Bryan Adams – and Jim Vallance, who helped co-write a couple of tracks.

But what was the final result of this mishmash of guest spots and confusion? Well, surprisingly, a very good album. Sure, Creatures Of The Night may not be up there with the likes of Destroyer, but it’s certainly better than the group’s last few opuses.

When trying to fit Creatures within the group’s discography, one had probably better place it next to Love Gun. In fact, that’s probably the KISS album with which it shares the most similarities, from the overall sound to the near lack of bad tracks, to the low number of actual standouts. However, the murky production and heavy, edgy guitar sound also throw back to Hotter Than Hell, while some of the poppier bits wouldn’t have been out of place on Unmasked. However, most importantly, this album opens up a new sonic possibility for KISS, treading very close to American heavy metal trends of the period.

In fact, the knife-edge riffs and heavy percussion on most of the songs, coupled with the sludgy production and raspier-than-usual vocals, give the album a very heavy aura. Songs like the title track, Rock and Roll Hell, War Machine and particularly Killer are rather illustrative of this tendency. Simultaneously, on tracks like I Love It Loud or Saint and Sinner, it is possible to hear the groundwork being laid for what would soon become the infamous glam-rock scene of the 80’s. Overall, a rather personal, yet also rather familiar sound.

As for standouts, this is one of those albums where they jump out at you at first listen. The larger-than-life I Love It Loud is a born single, its larger-than-life drum pattern evoking Judas Priest’s Take On The World and Joan Jett’s I Love Rock’n’Roll, while at the same time paving the way for Def Leppard’s Let’s Get Rocked, a song which certainly “drew a little inspiration” from this track. Following hot on its heels is Killer, a flat-out heavy metal track the likes of which wasn’t heard since Makin’ Love, a good six years previously. This song boasts the best guitar riff on the album, as well as a nice, catchy chorus to shout along to. Rounding up the standouts is War Machine, a slab of sludgy hard rock which evokes something, although you’re never sure what.

However, the rest of the songs aren’t laid to waste, either. Although Saint and Sinner borders on boring, and Danger has a little too much sugar in its chorus, Keep Me Comin’ is an early standout, and probably the biggest throwback to KISS’s early career. The only decidedly bad track is the interminable I Still Love You, KISS’s first bona-fide ballad in a long while, but a piss-poor representative of the genre, coming across as plodding and at times insufferable.

Still, one song does not an album make, and at the end of the day Creatures Of The Night is an above-average KISS offering. As noted, it’s not stellar, and there had been better albums in the group’s output even then; but compared to what came before and what would come after, it’s a breath of quality air. It’s a pity that KISS chose not to go down the path laid by this album, for it would by no means have been a bad option.

Recommended Tracks
I Love It Loud
War Machine

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 (204)
other reviews of this album
Jeff F. (4)
Without doubt the heaviest album Kiss has released; a true hard rock gem....

Ctippell (4.5)
Just when it seemed KISS had lost it and had forgotten what had made them great, they bring back the...

ironmaidenyo (4)
A glorious return to form by four creepy guys who insist on wearing makeup...

Comments:Add a Comment 
January 10th 2010


Good review. I pos'd. Good luck with the discography.

Digging: Scott Walker and Sunn O))) - Soused

January 10th 2010


I love it loud rocks. Pos'd

January 11th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

Probably in my top 3 for favorite kiss albums. The drumming here influenced me at a young age to take up the drums, particularly the beat to I love it loud. This is probably Eric Carr's shining moment in the band. I love this album. Nice review once again.

August 15th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

Best kiss album of the 80's.

September 26th 2012


Gave this thing a listen. War Machine is badass.

October 30th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

I still love you one of the best kiss songs ever!!!

November 11th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Keep Me Comin is the worst song here! I Still Love You rocks! Title Track is an easy standout

Digging: Dissect - Swallow Swouming Mass

December 24th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

War Machine has one of Kiss bests riffs (easily the best one of the album)

December 27th 2012


Album Rating: 3.0

A great KISS album. Contains catchy riffs, adictive vocals and of course plenty of cheese, all the features one can expect from a KISS album.

Great review too, pos.

Digging: Acrimony - Tumuli Shroomaroom

May 30th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

This album rocksss,
However Keep me Comin sucks, and brings the album down (along with Saint and Sinner)

May 30th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

cuz i luv it

May 30th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

War Machine m/

January 5th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

jammin this such a good album war machine is like their best song

August 27th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome album indeed, definitely KISS' best 80's album. Title track, I Love It Loud and War Machine are sick.

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