Review Summary: Kissin' Time2 of 2 thought this review was well written
Kiss debut album is easily one of their best albums, if not their very best. In a more than 20-album discography, only one or two of their studio albums were able to match this one. Why? Because this album is nothing short of a Hard Rock classic.
Once upon a time, Kiss was an unknown band, but Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were very ambitious, and they had developed a very focused concept, which they worked on and followed until the very end (which hasn't arrived yet). So they raised from New York to become one of the most famous bands of the world, and earned a pretty big fan base all over the world, especially after releasing Alive!.
Their debut album is the perfect definition of Hard Rock. Catchy guitar riffs, nice melodies, good hooks, sticky and happy choruses, good and varied vocals. Main songwriters Paul and Gene were very creative when they had to come up with melodies and solos to draw people attention. Moreover, they are two excellent vocalists, especially Paul, which adds more variation to the album. Riffs and solos always feel fresh, and guitar arrangements are very good. Plus, another aspect which contributes to the freshness is that there is an incredible ability to pull slower stuff as well as becoming faster.
Ace Frehley has an outstanding performance on the guitars, as I mentioned, mainly because the solos he plays are always interesting, as well as the riffs, not for their speed or extreme technicality, but for their melodic and catchy nature. And he dared to compose a song, Cold Gin, which happens to be awesome, especially on the instrumental part, setting the beginning of Ace's progression as a songwriter. Peter Criss drums are solid too, and do well their stack providing the backbone for the songs, and also having the time to shine here and there. He is also a pretty decent singer, and takes over the vocals on some songs. Rhythm guitar by Paul Stanley and bass guitar by Gene Simmons are also good, and contribute to create the instrumental solidity.
The songs themselves are all excellent and enjoyable from start to finish, and many of them are true anthems, always present on the set lists, and each one sounds so different from the rest. Most of them were composed by Paul and/or Gene, except for Cold Gin (Ace) and Kissin' Time, which is a Bobby Rydell cover. Strutter is one of their best known songs, and its drum intro sets the mood for the whole album. Firehouse is another classic, and it's always a hit when played live, and Let Me Know is a plainly awesome American rock song. Deuce is another classic, usually opener of the concerts, 100,000 Years is the song where every instrument has its time to shine, and Black Diamond is probably the best song off the record. Every song is worth a listen, even the instrumental Love Theme From Kiss, which is easily the low point of the album, whilst not bad.
You can't go wrong with Kiss self-titled debut album. It's an incredible record which offers all that makes Hard Rock such an enjoyable genre, and proves why Kiss became such an important band in the music scene of the 70's. Catchy riffs and infectious melodies, combined with interesting songwriting and downright enjoyable choruses make for one of the best debut albums out there. Only two Kiss albums after this one are able to match it, which are Destroyer and Rock and Roll Over. If I had to pick my favorite 5 Hard Rock albums ever, this would probably appear on that list.