THE MONSTER IS LOOSE! Heavy metal, classic rock, arena rock, jokes, or whatever the hell you want to call KISS but the IKONS are back! The new album “Monster” is a return to classic KISS form. What do I mean by that? This album is closer to the 70’s KISS than anything the band has released since “Destroyer”. After the last release, “Sonic Boom” with Tommy Thayer(guitar) and Eric Singer(drums) the band has hit the road, toured, learned how each other plays, and developed a sound that rivals some of the best stuff KISS has ever done. Of course, I say some because nothing will top the Ace Frehleyalbums but that is another topic all together.
Monster is the second album featuring the current lineup rounded out by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. I was highly skeptical over how this album was going to sound. Stanley has sounded like shit for a few years now but his throat surgery has allowed him to return to at the least his Psycho Circus form. Even when I saw them back in July I was pretty impressed with what he sounded like. The music is the same old KISS, dual guitars, standard drums, and a pretty standard yet at times decent bass line. It is very clear that this album is for the band and the fans, not money.
There are some pretty interesting moments in this album that I haven’t heard from KISS in some time. “All For the Love of Rock & Roll”, song by Singer, has a blues sound that you probably haven’t heard from the band since some of those songs from the 70’s. It’s a nice mix of sounds though, the gang vocals of “God Gave Rock and Roll to You” and the theme of “Rock and Roll All Nite.” I also want to raise the point of underrated Singer is as a vocalist. The man can sing any KISS song flawlessly and his own songs his voice fits perfectly. “Take Me Down Below” is probably the heaviest song on the album and song by Simmons and Stanley. God this song could fit in ANY KISS album from the 70’s without questioning. “Last Chance” is a pretty fun song that might fit in a first KISS album. Stanley sounds absolutely amazing, better than he did the rest of the album for sure. This song screams Thayer/Singer. They tend to like this sound of KISS, the heavier and yet melodic sound that the band really became famous for. One last song to discuss, the weirdest one for me: “Eat Your Heart Out” the introduction completely threw me off. I know the members are fans of The Beatles and I can’t help but think that this is a kind of tribute in style to them.
All in all this album from start to finish is one of the best KISS albums, easily a top five KISS album of all-time. This is a complete return to form for the band that has gone through so much turmoil and drama over the past twenty years; from sub-par albums to line-up changes. I think it’s going to be hard to find a KISS fan that doesn’t like this album unless they are one of the Frehley/Criss purists. Even then I think this could be the album to sway them to the other side!