Archive for Music From The Elder

Great Metal Albums of 1982: KISS- Creatures of the Night

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-COTN_album_cover

KISS, in 1982, were very much in danger of slipping into musical obscurity in the same way Aerosmith were at the time. Unlike, Aerosmith, it wasn’t drugs that were causing the slide, it was KISS ¬†themselves. When I visited their album “Unmasked,” I pointed out that they seemed to be abandoning the hard rock sound that made them a household name, for good or ill, back in the 1970s. “Unmasked” was a deliberate lurch to more commercial sounds that was feared to have started when they released a disco tune on the “Dynasty” album and continued onto the 1981 “Music From the Elder” album, although the latter was an improvement on the predecessor. By 1982, people like me were starting to forget them. My biggest memory of them that year was the night before my battalion was starting its combat readiness evaluation. My company gunnery sergeant told us that when we applied the camouflage make up the next day, that we were not to make ourselves up to look like KISS.

Definitely not like KISS

Definitely not like KISS

What KISS needed was to go back to their heavy roots. One night, at my favourite rock bar on Okinawa, a video came on that made personal history. It was for the song “I Love it Loud” and from first strike of the guitar string, it was clear that KISS had gone back to what made them great. “I Love it Loud” is a complete rock out and since that fateful evening, it has been my all time favourite KISS song. I think the band knew that too because it would be another three years before I would finally get to see them live and they played that song for me. Even to this day, hearing that song makes me want to jump out of my seat.

Insert tired cliche here but one song does not make a good album and there are plenty of other great rockers on “Creatures of the Night.” In fact, there it is extremely difficult to pick one that isn’t. Even the power ballad “I Still Love You” rocks and rocks hard. Maybe back then, I should have played that one as opposed to “Beth” in my attempts to woo the ladies. While I can’t fault any track on the album, the ones that really do it most for me, apart from my all time fave, are “Rock and Roll Hell,” the title track,” “Killer,” “Saints and Sinners” and “War Machine” is the perfect closer to this album. It’s also the track for me where Vinnie Vincent comes into his own as a lead guitarist. What I said back then I reiterate now. When I heard “Creatures of the Night,” I concluded that KISS were truly back.

Track Listing:

1. Creatures of the Night

2. Saints and Sinners

3. Keep Me Coming

4. Rock and Roll Hell

5. Danger

6. I Love it Loud

7. I Still Love You

8. Killer

9. War Machine

KISS

KISS

Paul Stanley- rhythm guitar, vocals

Gene Simmons- bass, vocals

Eric Carr- drums, backing vocals

Ace Frehley- lead guitar

Vinnie Vincent- lead guitar on tracks 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 9

Sometime during the recording of “Creatures of the Night,” lead guitarist Ace Frehley would be out and new guitarist Vinnie Vincent would be in. Thus the course of metal history would be changed in the KISS camp. Notice, I said metal here. That is because I believe that this album would be the first KISS album that I would truly call heavy metal.

Next post: A Tragic Loss for Metal

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great? Rock/Metal Albums of 1981: KISS- Music From The Elder

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2014 by 80smetalman

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Of the four albums I have visited in this rock/metal segment, this 1981 offering from the legendary KISS totally passed me by in the year. I can’t even blame it on being in the marines. The reason this album not only passed me by but many others as well was due to the fact it disappeared almost as soon as it was released. According to history, it was reviled by many fans and although it did receive some positive feedback from the critics, “Music From The Elder” was voted the 44th worst album of all time by Q Magazine and 6th in the category “When great rock bands lost the plot.” Nevertheless, being a fair minded bloke, I thought I would give the album a listen and decide for myself. Still, I would welcome any comments, especially from fellow metal blogger and self confessed KISS-a-holic, Stone from Metal Odyssey fame.

Let me be totally frank, “Music From the Elder” is nowhere near a patch on great KISS albums like “Destroyer,” “Love Gun,” “Alive” or even some of the albums they made following this one like “Creatures of the Night.” However, the album isn’t as terrible as I feared it was going to be. The opener, “The Oath” was an attempt to create the earlier KISS sound at least as far back as “Dynasty” anyway and it is a notable effort on their part. Then came the instrumental “Fanfare” which had me thinking “WTF?” Fortunately, things return to normal, well sort of. I am sure that with “Just a Boy,” that KISS are trying to sound like The Who here and while not a bad song, it doesn’t leave me thinking, “Okay, cool.” Ace Frehley and Gene Simmons manage to rescue things a bit with the tracks “Dark Light,” “Only You” and “Under the Rose” but then comes the ballad “A World Without Heroes” and I am left saying to myself “No” and that if I was listening this back in 1981, I would say, “Leave the ballads to Peter Criss.” “Dr Blackwell” does go a good long way to redeem things and I do like the guitar solo on this song. Then after another instrumental which isn’t too bad, they try to be creative with “Odyssey.” Not sure if it works though. At the end, barring a very short instrumental which perhaps shouldn’t be on there was a pleasant surprise for me. I have heard the the track “I” before. It wasn’t recorded by KISS but covered in 2000 by the band Hair of the Dog on their album “Rise.” For them, “I” was a great closer for a great metal album and there is little comparison to it and the version done by KISS on this album. I think that the song was good enough for Hair of the Dog to record it just like the way it is done here. That song should have been the closer.

hotdrise

I guess I should mention that “Music From the Elder” was the first KISS album to fully feature new drummer Eric Carr who replaced Peter Criss when he left the band a year earlier. Most of you probably already knew that.

Track Listing:

1. The Oath

2. Fanfare

3. Just a Boy

4. Dark Light

5. Only You

6. Under the Rose

7. A World Without Heroes

8. Dr Blackwell

9. Escape From the Island

10. Odyssey

11. I

12. Finale

KISS

KISS

Paul Stanley- rhythm guitar,vocals

Gene Simmons- bass, vocals

Ace Frehley- lead guitar, vocals

Eric Carr- drums, percussion, backing vocals

My final verdict here is that if KISS had remained more true to their hard rocking roots, I think “Music From the Elder” would have been a much better album. I have no problem with an album telling a story through its songs, King Diamond”s “Abigail” does that beautifully. It doesn’t mean a band has to go all progressive to do so and that’s where this album falls down. The other thing I can see with the album, with the aid of hindsight, that KISS were beginning to move away from Gene Simmons’ 1980 boast that KISS were four guys equally covering for each other towards simply becoming Paul and Gene’s band.

Next post: Ozzy Osbourne- The Blizzard of Oz

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London