This is definitely one album I can blame the military on for letting slip past me. It was released around the time I was floating around the Indian Ocean on a ship. My first indication that KISS had released an album at that time was the news that Peter Criss was leaving the band, which he did shortly after. However, the album never made any waves in the sense that everyone was talking about it and as a result, it passed me by and became one of those many albums I had to discover in retrospect.
Listening to it again, I’m not sure how I would of reacted to it back then. Right now, I am saying to myself, “This isn’t the hard rocking KISS I knew from the 70s.” Then again, my adolescent experience with religion was still tugging at the coat tails of my consciousness back then when I believed all that Satan worshipper crap aimed at them. So, I might have liked it, but I can’t say for sure.
“Unmasked” starts off ok with “Is That You” giving me the impression that KISS were remaining true to their roots. However, when I heard the next two songs, “Shandi” and “Talk to Me,” I thought, “What the hell!” These songs make them sound like sound fresh faced top 40 band or a lounge act. “Naked City” is a slight improvement and fortunately the album makes a more traditional KISS return after that for the remainder of the album. It gets more harder with some decent rockers like “Tomorrow,” “Two Sides of the Coin” and “She’s So European” before going out with an all right closer. Unfortunately, those songs don’t fully remove the unpleasant taste in my mouth put their by tracks two, three and four even with some good guitars solos from Ace.
1. Is That You
3. Talk To Me
4. Naked City
5. What Makes the World Go Round
7. Two Sides of the Coin
8. She’s So European
9. Easy As It Seems
10. Torpedo Girl
11. You’re All That I Want
Paul Stanley- vocals, rhythm guitar
Gene Simmons- bass, vocals
Ace Frehley- lead guitar, vocals
Peter Criss- drums, vocals
Anton Figg- drums
Vini Poncia- backing vocals
Tom Harper- bass on Shandi
Holly Knight- keyboards
The jury is still out as to whether or not I should regret missing this album back in the day. I’m not saying it’s a bad one, there are some good moments on it that remind me of their more golden years. However, even now there are some tracks that don’t sit well with me.
Next post: The Scorpions- Animal Magnetism
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