In 1974 I was only eight years old. In 1974 KISS released their Hotter Than Hell album on Casablanca Records. I had not a clue as to who or what KISS was back in ’74. The heaviest bands I was listening to that year, was my mother’s Everly Brothers album and Josie And The Pussycats, (a Hanna-Barbera cartoon of a female Rock Band). It wasn’t until 1978 that I owned my very first KISS album, KISS Double Platinum, so I was only four years away from becoming a member of the KISS Army. I eventually traded for the vinyl/album copy of Hotter Than Hell, I was in High School at the time, now I can’t even recall the dude’s name who traded it to me. In later years, (sometime in the early to mid 1990′s), I sold this same Hotter Than Hell album to a crusty and shady record dealer. I regret that move… for a good number of years I went without replacing Hotter Than Hell in my Heavy Metal Music collection. Now, it is Metal safe to say, that I do own Hotter Than Hell on CD… and I am not parting with it – not a Metal chance. This is arguably, one of the greatest KISS albums ever created, a 1970′s Vintage Heavy Metal gem. Am I going too far or thick with the accolades here? Not a Metal chance again… just compare this album to a wide array of Hard Rock or Heavy Metal releases, just in the past decade alone, I am then convinced Hotter Than Hell is still just that in 2010 – Hotter Than Hell.
I will not lie to the fact, that this album does sound like it was recorded back in the early 1970′s. Dated? Alright, sure, only how much of a negative impact does that have on Hotter Than Hell as a whole? Not every song on Hotter Than Hell can be construed as dated either. I really can’t stomach the word dated when it comes to Rock, Hard Rock or Heavy Metal Music, it is a word that only should be used by archaeologists, who dig up ancient relics and/or artifacts underneath some pyramids or rain forest. Besides, the word dated has been politely replaced with two words that are more Metal politically correct… they are… Classic Rock. Whoever the dude or dudette is out there, that came up with the idea of creating the music genre – Classic Rock, is in my Metal mind… a very cool genius.
Excuse my going off on sort of a Metal tangent in the last paragraph, it has been awhile since my last one, plus it felt really, really good. It did.
When you listen to Strange Ways, the very last song on Hotter Than Hell, I cannot ignore the fact that Ace Frehley plays some unreal licks, all the while the repeated riff is decades worth of relevance. Comin’ Home is a KISS song that easily could have been on any KISS album up to and including their Unmasked album from 1980. Mainline is as authentic of a Hard Rock song from the 1970′s as I can ever point out. This is, (probably), my favorite Peter Criss sung KISS tune ever. Yes, that means I like Peter Criss singing Mainline a whole lot more than the ultra classic ballad… Beth. Hotter Than Hell and Let Me Go, Rock ‘n’ Roll are the two most famous songs from this album, they honestly are the top two tracks, only there are the other eight songs that truly shouldn’t take a back seat to them.
This vintage KISS album flows along like a Hard Rock meets Heavy Metal dream gone wild… 1974 style. Goin’ Blind is Gene Simmons at his extreme best vocally, (in my Metal opinion), just an amazing KISS song that in Metal hindsight, is a pioneering power ballad. I can listen to Goin’ Blind 20 times in a row and still feel the need to hear it again… and again. No, I am not kidding about that. Regardless if you are a KISS fan or not, Hotter Than Hell belongs in any Hard Rock or Heavy Metal album collection… it’s that genuine.
Hotter Than Hell is an album to uphold, play loud and enjoy for a lifetime. Long Live KISS.
KISS On Hotter Than Hell:
Gene Simmons - bass guitar, vocals
Paul Stanley – rhythm guitar, vocals
Ace Frehley – lead guitar
Peter Criss – drums, percussion & vocals
Hey, cut me some Metal slack… I was only 8 years old when I was into Josie And The Pussycats.
I was a toddler… Gee Metal whiz.