by ReturnToRock USER (303 Reviews)
December 29th, 2009 | 23 replies

Release Date: 1979 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Super KISS" my @ss!

1979 was a strange year for KISS. After unsurmountable tensions led to a split-up for the making of solo albums, the utter box-office failure of said solo albums dictated a hasty return – after all, the money-making machine couldn’t stop, and when four individual albums sell substantially less than your last group effort, the only thing to do is to swallow your pride and get the hell back together. However, things got a little more complicated after drummer Peter Criss got in a car accident, leading to his replacement by long-time studio associate Anton Fig. Making matters worse was a motion picture reviled by the very bandmembers themselves, as well as Gene Simmons’ renewed interest in disco music…

The result of this conjunction of factors is well audible on Dynasty, an album which suffers from a severe lack of direction, inspiration and all-around spark. The irony was that, for the tour, a new, more ambitious concept was debuted: “Super KISS”, inspired by comic-book super-heroes and by Gene Simmons’ monstrous ego. Pyrotechnics went away up, lightning bolts and fiery guitars became even more commonplace, an itinerant theme park was built and taken on tour…and in the midst of it all, the substantial decrease in musical quality was successfully masked.

However, listening to Dynasty without all the contextual brouhaha, one can see how this record clearly marks the beginning of KISS’s downfall. Half of the time, the musicians’ heart seem to be someplace else, and the vast majority of the compositions is either half-baked or just plain awful. Take I Was Made For Lovin’ You, for example: as well-known and liked as this song is, “execrable” is about the most flattering adjective I can use with relation to it. Disco influences on this track are blatant and unabashed, especially in what concerns the drum line, and the chorus is just ridiculous.

Things get a lot better with the second track. 2000 Man is, unsurprisingly, a cover by a much better band than KISS, in this case the Rolling Stones. With its hard-rocking riffs and beats, it quickly asserts itself as the best moment on the album, which is somewhat worrisome: it says something about the overall quality of an album when its best song is a cover…

After 2000 Man, however, things go back to the status quo. Songs like Dirty Livin’ and X-Ray Eyes are the very definition of “forgettable”, while Magic Touch is plodding and dull and Sure Know Something brings back the disco influences to – again – very poor effect. It would seem like this album is beyond salvation, but then…two songs appear to – barely – raise it above “Very Poor” status. These songs are Hard Times, a surprisingly deep and insightful autobiographic lyric lost in a minor song, in a minor album, and Charisma, which redeems its run-of-the-mill verse with one of the catchiest choruses KISS had produced until then. Together with the surprisingly speedy drum pattern on the chorus of Save Your Love, these tracks make up the only part of Dynasty worth listening to.

A more in-depth analysis brings up another interesting fact: all the standouts, apart from Charisma, had some degree of involvement from Ace Frehley. And this comes as no surprise, seeing as how – musically – Ace is once again the high point of a KISS album. Just like in 1976’s Rock and Roll Over, the guitarist contributes to nearly every track with blistering, agressively tecchy solos, which sometimes constitute the only noteworthy aspect of the otherwise bland songs. As for his peers, Fig/Criss rarely stand out, the exception being Save Your Love, with its bombast breaks; Paul Stanley is seldom given the space to rock out, but when he is, he contributes with heavy, inviting riffs; and Gene Simmons is…well, Gene Simmons, even though his bass technique seems to be improving with each passing album.

On the whole, however, Dynasty is the first KISS album , solo efforts notwithstanding, to place itself firmly below average. The pressure and the problems seemed to be affecting the band, and their new-found influences didn’t mesh to well with the old ones (The Beatles on X-Ray Eyes). The result is an unfocused album which it is a chore to listen to. “Super KISS” my @ss!

Recommended Tracks
2000 Man
Hard Times

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Ctippell (2.5)
That infamous disco period. But don't let that make you miss the few gems here....

Comments:Add a Comment 
December 29th 2009


Album Rating: 2.0

I dont know why they insist on putting "I was Made For Loving You" on almost every greatest hits and live compiliation. Atrocious song, and the only one I've heard from this I think. Good review.

December 29th 2009


Album Rating: 2.5

Definitely Kiss' attempt at a sellout album. Die-hard Kiss fans (of which Pedro seems to be one, and which I once was, owning every piece of vinyl up to Hot in the Shade) weren't too thrilled, but it did make them a ton of money. Sure Know Something is the best song on the album - great pop song, fantastic arrangement, excellent lyrics and chorus. But it's not a Kiss song. Most songs on Dynasty aren't.

December 29th 2009


Album Rating: 2.0

No, no, no, I'm not a die-hard fan at all! I don't even like them! Which is why I'm offering my impartial view on each record. This is a bad album. If AC/DC - of whom I *am* a die-hard - made this album, I'd still say it was bad. Same for Nirvana, Metallica, etc...

December 29th 2009


Album Rating: 2.0

not that AC/DC would ever *make* this album...but the point stands.

December 29th 2009


I'm seeing AC/DC in Feb, gonna be awesome I hope.

I haven't heard this album, nor do I want too however I really like "I was made for"...

December 30th 2009


Another good review pos'd

December 30th 2009


Album Rating: 2.0

indeed. because they were good solid rock albums. but I still don't get the whole "thing" around KISS.

Staff Reviewer
December 30th 2009


Probably had to be around in the 70's for that to happen bro. Some of my family swears by them.

January 3rd 2010


Ive said this before and Ill say it again: the only good things about KISS are Ace and Paul. I saw them recently and Gene Simmons' bass was completely missing. Not surprising since hes a better showman than a musician anyday of the week. Have you done Creatures of the Night yet? Thats a decent to great album by them.

January 19th 2010


Album Rating: 1.5

This is shit.

February 15th 2010


Something's wrong with the track listing

August 3rd 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

With the exception of the somewhat mediocre I was made for loving you dynasty is not a bad record of course ace's songs were the best just like the bands previous solo albums and some songs werent quite heavy enough but it's still alot better than crazy nights.

September 12th 2010


Album Rating: 2.5

Here's my quick summary:

I Was Made For Lovin' You is OK, but the chorus pisses me off, 2000 Man and Sure Know Somethin' are my fave tracks by miles, Dirty Lovin', Save Your Love, Hard Times and Charisma are average and X-Ray Eyes and Magic Touch are terrible. But at least this is better than "Unmasked".

May 28th 2012


Album Rating: 2.0

dancin to this

May 28th 2012


Album Rating: 2.0

dude we should turntable this stuff

December 29th 2012


Album Rating: 3.0

no AC/DC would never make this LP they are too busy making "stiff upper lip" i would take dynasty over that crap anyday

March 26th 2013


Album Rating: 1.5

Well, Kiss´ first attempt, by many, to sell out and following the ongoing trends. Jeez, the old boys should have so many holes in their capes they should look like scarecrowes, from all the times they´ve tried to turn whenever the winds of trend change!

A real low standard song album. Which shows by that they´ve only really played the 2 first songs from the album live(even on the following tour to the album)

Only song worth here is really 'Hard times'(and I must admit i like a little 'x-ray eyes')

May 20th 2014


Album Rating: 1.5

I was Made for Lovin you is an awesome song in a cheesy sense, play it as a joke if your in a bar (like me and my BF did) and it clears the place out of all but the most drunken patrons, especially the ghetto people

February 22nd 2015


Album Rating: 3.0

dont u know

February 22nd 2015


She's got the magic touch

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