Release Date: Oct 9, 2012
Record label: Universal
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Hard Rock
"Out in the streets/Takin' all the heat/Dancin' in the sheets," Kiss sing, describing either public sex or a funky Klan rally. They didn't spend much time thinking about it, and neither should you. Kiss' 20th LP draws from their bottomlessly shallow cesspool of comfortably dumb cowbell-glam wham-bam – with stewardess sex, married groupies and "The Devil Is Me," where Gene Simmons lowtalks like the smoothest used-car salesman in hell.
Like ZZ Top and Rush before them, Kiss seem to have finally rediscovered (after their stodgy 2010 comeback album, Sonic Boom) what made them so great in the first place. And that was their ability to combine sleazy bar-room riffs with fist-pumping, stadium-sized choruses, all with an arrogance that brooked no doubt as to the heights of their self-declared brilliance. And so it goes here with the likes of Hell and Hallelujah, Shout Mercy and Back to the Stone Age, which recalls proto-punkers and fellow New Yorkers the Dictators.
As Kiss approach 40 years of ridiculously dumb rock & roll fun, it makes sense that their 20th studio album, Monster, is more self-referential than anything. Following 2009's Sonic Boom, the album marks the second set of tunes by a revamped "original" Kiss lineup, with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons joined by new guitarist Tommy Thayer and re-emerging drummer Eric Singer donning the makeup and personas originated by Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, respectively. Dressing up these semi-random players in the classic comic book costumes is just step one in re-creating the feel of Kiss' 1970s over the top heyday.
Review Summary: . . .
It’s hard to say how people will remember the 2010s when it comes to music. Thus far, the decade has been characterized, if anything, by its diversity, rather than one overlying genre or trend. We’re almost three years in and there seems to be room for everything: the broad terminology of pop, rock, hip-hop, jazz, EDM, post-nothing, post-anything, post-whatever.
Kiss’s 20th studio album is a steady if unremarkable outing. Founding singer, songwriter, and guitarist Paul Stanley produced “Monster,” using his 40 years of experience with the band to hold its ground with a lean, raucous sound that is true to both Kiss and classic-rock heroics. Stanley and fellow founder bassist Gene Simmons, along with guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, wrote and performed “Monster” with no outside help but for a brief piano part.