Review Summary: ...of death.
Part-time band and full-time business, Kiss have hardly set the world alight musically for something approaching 367 years. Known more for their penchant for hawking acres of tacky merch, the New Yorkers follow up 2009’s Sonic Boom
(name a song from that record without looking it up) with another album about girls, low-down street life and other passé things like that.
No doubt Gene Simmons, still heavily competing for biggest arsehole on the planet, will tell you he doesn’t care what we all think; he’s got money, bitches and bling. Is that still something to aspire to, by the way? Besides, it’s hard to take any advice from the man responsible for the Freddy Krueger-meets-Nucky Thompson-meets-drunken sex pest turn he pulled for his cover of “Firestarter”.
So what do we have here exactly? For better or worse it follows the Kiss ethos; wanton superficiality, lyrics so broad they might fall off the edge of the Earth and a complete lack of consideration for modern trends and tastes. The latter is no more evident than in “Freak”, in which they qualify the titular character as having “streaks in my hair.” If that’s what passes for edgy in Kiss world, then they still have a lot to learn.
What IS missing here is authenticity. As (bad) luck would have it, those other bearers of the Just F*cking Give It Up crown, the Rolling Stones, released “Doom & Gloom” to a non-plussed world. What stood out most from the Stones’ new single is the notion that, Jagger aside, you just don’t believe the other Stones even rehearsed together nor recorded their parts. It seems nothing more than a session exercise with Jagger’s old man face gurning over the top of it. The same accusation can be levelled at Monster
. Can you even imagine Simmons, Stanley and whoever they’ve roped in this time getting together in a cramped room and thrashing out some new songs? Me neither. Although the album barely brings its head above the water-line marked “passable”, it’s still too slick, too unified and too perfectly structured to convince you that apart from the vocals of Stanley and Simmons, the rest of the album is nothing more than a hodge-podge of contributions from various pony-tailed musos from somewhere sunny.
has no justification for its existence. It won’t draw in new fans and the old fans won’t care to hear any of these tracks shunted into a live set that even a deaf mute could predict accurately. If it’s a money making exercise then they’ve obviously taken their finger off the pulse of present day record sales. What then? Pensioner’s ennui? Boredom? More money than sense? Sadly, it’s all of this and more. Ironically, it’s the band themselves who have the last and most concise word; forget the modern age, let’s all just go “Back To The Stone Age.”