Saturday, January 29, 2011

First Kiss Album: Review from Rolling Stone, 1978

By Gordon Fletcher
Rolling Stone Magazine
Rating: ***** (two out of five stars)

December 28, 1978

(Kiss Mask notes: Though, it's a pretty positive review, Rolling Stone has never been a fan of Kiss. Refusing to do features on the band and when they did they were less than flattering. Much of this ignorance would have to do with Jann Werner, the publisher, who despised Kiss. There was even a feature story in 1977 where one RS writer (Charles M. Young) compared Kiss' music to buffalo farts. Really? Kiss has never appeared on the cover of the America version of RS and I doubt they ever will. Wenner is also one of the men responsible for who get's inducted in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. Hopefully, with the amount of pressure from fans and artists alike, they will be nominated and inducted next year. I mean c'mon, Kiss has had such an influence not only on American pop culture, but musicians and bands alike. I found this "review" the first Kiss album from RS Online that was published in 1978.- J. Frank Hagan/Kiss Mask Webzine)

Kiss is an exciting Brooklynbased band with an imaginative stage presentation and a tight new album. The music is all hard-edged — they call it "thunderock" — and throughout their electrical storm solid craftsmanship prevails. Paul Stanley's rhythm guitar is the star of the proceedings, barking out the coarse chord patterns that comprise the foundation of the band's material. Gene Simmons can thus provide an extra dimension to the band's music by playing fluid bass patterns (especially on "Cold Gin") and Peter Criss contributes impressive drumming marked by Keith Moon's power and proficiency.

"Nothing to Lose," "Firehouse" and "Cold Gin" — a Side One trilogy that would make Alice Cooper proud — provides over ten minutes of steady, stompin' rock & roll with an allenveloping forcefulness. The manic "Deuce" makes fine music for crushing skulls and "Strutter" prominently displays the lead guitar talents of Ace Frehley, an unmistakable graduate of the Buck Dharma school of frenetic fretting.
An exceptional album, Kiss could have been even better had the group incorporated more of their concert sound into the recording studio. Onstage they rain a Black Sabbath-like fury, but here they sound more like a cross between Deep Purple and the Doobie Brothers. Though Frehley is an integral component of the stage show, here his guitar is used sparingly, particularly on "Cold Gin," where a solo could've propelled the tune to a higher plateau. A firm commitment to their stage sound (as in "Deuce" and portions of "Black Diamond") could well insure excellence — a course worth pursuing.
Kiss performing on ABC's "IN CONCERT" 1974:

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