KISS
Animalize


1.0
awful

Review

by Pedro B. USER (303 Reviews)
January 17th, 2010 | 24 replies


Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Elder is still the worse thing KISS have ever done, but Animalize sure gives it a run for its money.

The story of KISS in the 80”s is a simple one: after a slew of albums that were either misguided, ignored, or both, the group had the “genius idea” of removing their kabuki-style makeup in favour of permed hair and lipstick. Which is to say, they gave up their status as leaders and became followers of the quickly-expanding glam-metal scene, which had been inspired by…KISS themselves!

Confused yet? Good. Because you would need to be confused to enjoy any of KISS’s post-makeup releases. The group’s 1983-1990 output reflected the state of turmoil the group was going through, from formation troubles to a severe decrease in popularity, to an even more severe stylistic confusion. The result of this hurricane of emotions and feelings occasionally produced a decent song, but mostly added up to piss-poor albums even glam completists scoff upon.

Case in point? 1984’s Animalize. Introducing another one-off guitarist – Mark St. John, who was diagnosed with Reiter’s Syndrome immediately after completion of the album – the album shows no further changes in either formation or musical style in relation to Lick It Up. The difference is that it’s much, much worse.

Now, Lick It Up established a pattern which would come into force in the next four or so albums: one genuinely above-average song (usually the single), maybe another decent one or two, and loads of painfully awful filler. This pattern is taken to the extreme in Animalize, a release which features exactly ONE good song, and maybe two good moments throughout its 40 minutes.

At the beginning of the album, however, it seems like it won’t be so bad. The purely heavy metal riff which opens the album, followed immediately afterwards by a shredding intro lead from St. John, make the listener think that maybe this album will be a little better than the last. Sweet delusion. Not only does the aforementioned intro track – I’ve Had Enough (Into The Fire) – soon turn to a perfectly banal, plodding KISS track, that sizzling intro lead is one of only two occasions where St. John is allowed to flex his chops on this album. It is no secret that the guitarist was too technical for Simmons and Stanley’s taste, and with many of his initial tracks having to be re-recorded, it is no surprise that the two head honchos toned down his performance to the point of muffling it.

However, that isn’t the biggest of Animalize’s problems; after all, simple playing itself does not ruin an album (right, Mötley Crüe? Right, Ramones? Right, Mötörhead?). However, uninspired songwriting does ruin an album, and here KISS are at their most uninspired since 1981’s The Elder. The only song that even remotely approaches a good one is the single, Heaven’s On Fire, a track that puts all the glam-rock tropes and clichés to good use, being a generally fun listen, and benefiting from a gigantic chorus. However, once that song fades out, so do the reasons to go on listening to this album. The only other thing that may – may – raise your interest for a minute is the chorus on Get All You Can Take, with its gang vocals intoning a well-dissimulated curse word. However, the song itself is not worthy of standout status, much like everything else on this album.

Apart from the “song and a half” mentioned above, this album has NOTHING. Every other song is a cesspool of hard rock clichés, sugar, and overused choruses which give the listener a feeling that the band is trying too hard. Seldom will your attention be caught, and seldom will you even glance at your MP3 screen to see which song is playing. Mostly, you will be bored, uninterested, and even pained by the thought of having to listen to this again. (I know I was. If I wasn’t reviewing it, I would have deleted this album within one listen. And because I didn’t, I had to swear off KISS for around three whole days).

So, in the end, what saves this from a fate worse than a 1.0? Well, unlike The Elder, an album where even the decent songs were only decent in context, this one has one really good song. Besides, there are no overwrought ambitions at writing a metal opera. But make no mistake: I seriously considered taking back my claim of The Elder being “the worst thing KISS have ever done” while listening to this one. Avoid at all costs.

Recommended Tracks
Heaven’s On Fire



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user ratings (152)
Chart.
2.5
average
other reviews of this album
NickGrouwen (1)
Bottom line, I tried to like this album. I really did. But this is just cr*p. Totally unmemorable, t...


Comments:Add a Comment 
LepreCon
January 17th 2010


4147 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Average rating: 2.2
Ranking: #34 for 1984

Must have been a very slow year

EverythingEvil2113
January 17th 2010


1279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like I've Had Enough, Thrills in the Night, and Under the Gun. Even though they're all hair/glam metal cliched songs, I still find them fun. I've Had Enough is actually one of my favorite Kiss songs ever.

Nagrarok
January 17th 2010


8266 Comments


@Conor: the chart ranking have since long stopped making sense. If you take a look at '84 you'll see that this is not on the list at all.

ReturnToRock
January 17th 2010


3448 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

yet, as i've read, it DID go platinum. weird :S

by the way, here'sd what SHOULD have been my summary:

"Told you I didn't want to hear the rest..."

Nagrarok
January 17th 2010


8266 Comments


So... you doing these KISS albums and all.. any of them getting a 5?

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2010


31401 Comments


There isn't an album left that could possibly get a 5

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

Nagrarok
January 17th 2010


8266 Comments


That was what I was thinking, but I am not too familiar with KISS, so just wondering. Him taking the effort to do that vast discography and all...

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2010


31401 Comments


Doing a discography doesn't mean any has to be rated that high. Besides it's an interesting story, the HUGE downfall of Kiss

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2010


8371 Comments


jesus christ, the worst cover art ever? Possibly yes

I'll be honest, I'm not interested in KISS, but I'm giving you big props for plowing forward with these KISS reviews. Not an easy task at all to cover the whole KISS discography. Good job

ReturnToRock
January 18th 2010


3448 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

nope. no fives predicted in the foreseeable future. but you never know, i may have a surprise...

i don't think any of the remaining albums could top Destroyer and Dressed to Kill, though.

mark7477
October 17th 2013


394 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Considering that Kiss has done much much better albums than this than I would say that this album somewhat sucks but I cant argue that Heavens on fire is the only good song to listen to at the least.On the other hand I don't think this is their worst album either thrills in the night is OK I guess LOL


EverythingEvil2113
November 15th 2013


1279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

F it, this rules.

emprorzurg
November 15th 2013


522 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, nope this doesn't at all

EverythingEvil2113
November 15th 2013


1279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

http://www.reactiongifs.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/I-see.gif

emprorzurg
November 15th 2013


522 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

well, you're allowed to say this does, but the 2.5 average score determines that it does not, in fact, rule

EverythingEvil2113
November 15th 2013


1279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I feel like everyone has a guilty pleasure and I went through your ratings in order to shame you for something but god dammit you like good music. So I guess I don't have a good reason for liking Kiss, I just do.

emprorzurg
November 15th 2013


522 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Man, I love KISS too, and there's nothing wrong with having a guilty pleasure, I've just never heard someone choosing their 80's stuff as aforementioned guilty pleasure, it amuses me

EverythingEvil2113
November 15th 2013


1279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha I was raised on this shit so that's probably why. But cheers dude, I don't objectively think it's good, it's just how it is.

facupm
January 5th 2014


8162 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

actually first two tracks are pretty good, especially ive had enough

shamefully the rest are CRAP

Digging: Dissect - Swallow Swouming Mass

dalibor66
January 25th 2014


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Kiss Animalize - Rating: 1
Nirvana Nevermind - Rating: 5 ?
Ha Ha, I understand why you judge something you do not like.
The Animalize not seem to be anything good, just hit Heavens on Fire? What do you think of rock clichés? I have a feeling that if Gene did not attend the recording would be better album. Needless Lonely Is the Hunter and While the City Sleeps otherwise excellent album. My rating: 4



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