KISS – Monster (2012)

So I’ve been struggling to write this review for over a week. I’ve struggled because I really like KISS and after 2010’s Sonic Boom I expected big things from Monster. Come on, it is called Monster after all!!

As soon as I saw the lazy album cover and then on hearing first track ‘Hell or Hallelujah’ I started to get nervous. As I listened to the album nothing jumped out at me. I was hearing a run-of-the-mill 80’s-style rock band, not the KISS from the last album at all.

Soon after I stopped listening and thought I’ll go back to it. Perhaps I just wasn’t in the mood for them. I did go back, and the album is alright, but it just doesn’t work as well as Sonic Boom did.

This is not progress, and but then perhaps progress is not what KISS are about. Sure there is some fantastic guitar playing, and there is a classic 70’s-era sound to the production of the album. What there isn’t though is classic songs. Nothing really strong enough to justify rushing out and buying this album.

At best there is an EP-worth of material on here which I’d be proud to release if I were KISS. In truth the rest is b-side or rare box set material. The tracks worthy of putting on the EP are ’Wall of Sound’ with a superb guitar riff (even if stolen from Aerosmith’s ’Love In An Elevator’), ’Back to the Stone Age’, ’Long Way Down’ with its ominous, perhaps auto-biographical line “It’s a long way when you fall from the top”, and ’Take Me Down Below’.

Tracks like ’All For The Love of Rock N’Roll’ are light, easy to sing along to – but let’s be honest – the chorus of that track sounds like and reminds me of Bon Jovi album filler ’Blame It On The Love of Rock N’Roll’. There are some fun lyrics, but it’s just not enough. The key here is that you’ve heard it all before, and heard it better. Is this really the best KISS can give in 2012?

I am really disappointed overall. Especially as a fan. The album isn’t awful, there are some catchy songs on it. The problem I have is that overall what we have appears to be a lazy album, and the cover and promotion of the album do nothing to dispel that appearance.

One to avoid if you are on a limited budget and don’t concern yourself with having “everything they’ve released”.

Gareth Fraser
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