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KISS “Unmasked” – 1980 album I listened to all Summer of 2009

Posted in 1980's classic rock bands, 1980's hard rock albums, 1980's heavy metal albums, 1980's heavy metal hits, 1980's popular rock bands, 1980's rock music, 1980's hard rock, 1980's heavy metal bands, 1980's heavy metal music, 1980's heavy metal songs, Album Review, classic hard rock music, classic heavy metal albums, classic rock, classic rock albums, classic rock bands, classic rock music, classic rock songs, cool album covers, essential classic rock albums, essential heavy metal albums, essential heavy metal songs, essential rock albums, Heavy Metal, heavy metal album covers, heavy metal album review, heavy metal albums, heavy metal guitarists, heavy metal memorabilia, heavy metal music, heavy metal music 1980, heavy metal on vinyl, Heavy Metal Reviews, heavy metal vocalists, Music, old school hard rock, old school heavy metal, rock music, vintage heavy metal albums, vintage heavy metal bands with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

main-150KISS. I have the fever… it is the addiction to this enormous American Heavy Metal juggernaut that hooked me back in grammar school… the (gulp), 1970’s that is. Over this past Summer of 2009, (actually it goes back to last Winter too), I have ultra consistently listened to the KISS album “Unmasked”… after each listen I am a better Metalhead for it. Unmasked  was released back on May 20, 1980, right before I embarked on my High School years. By now, for anyone who reads my stuff regularly, may be tired of my mentioning that I owned 8 track tapes… still, I need to tell the world that I owned Unmasked on 8 track, thank you all for understanding. The memories that get stirred up inside my Metal mind, each time I listen to Unmasked are good ones… the Summer of 1980… going to the UCONN Basketball Camp, collecting odd and evil looking spiders in my backyard and having no worries in the world other than entering a new teenage chapter in my life.

Now that the memories are out of the way, I could care in the least about the controversy, rumors or paid professional Rock critic reviews regarding Unmasked. Frankly, like the scene from Gone With The Wind, the character Rhett Butler (played by Clark Gable), says sternly to Scarlett O’ Hara (played by Vivien Leigh), “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”. That is it in a Metal nutshell… I don’t give a damn. The last time I checked, this album peaked at #35 on the U.S. Billboard Album Chart and was certified Gold by the RIAA on July 30, 1980. So there obviously were other KISS fans out there who liked this album too, going all the way back to 1980. I have read over the years, that Peter Criss never played drums on the Unmasked album, that Anton Fig played all the drums and was uncredited in the liner notes. Again, I don’t give a damn.

Shandi was the song that was supposed to be the big hit from Unmasked… or so I have read over the decades. Was it the big single? I don’t give a damn. All I know is that this song reminds me of lazy, hot, sunny and care free Summer days of when I was fourteen years old. When I listen to Shandi now, it makes me feel good… so Metal be it. My favorite song from Unmasked is… a tie. Is it possible to have a tied favorite of songs from one album? I don’t give a damn. Here they are: Is That You? and What Makes the World Go Round. Is That You? opens up this album in the finest of KISS fashion, it is a song in my Metal opinion, that embodied everything that critics of KISS hated most… contagiously hard driven grooves and bad ass lyrically. KISS could not have chosen a better opening song for Unmasked. What Makes the World Go Round is probably the one KISS song that gets played the loudest by me – ever. I quantum like it, therefore that is it. Metal case closed. It is my Metal opinion that Paul Stanley sings outstandingly great on this album. The original vinyl version of Unmasked came with a very large poster, depicting KISS in a comic book/cartoon form, shunning their KISS masks to reveal their faces with KISS make up still on. (This is shown on a smaller scale, on the very bottom of the album front cover). I did inherit this album on vinyl with it’s bonus poster, years ago – in a trade. 

She’s So European and Naked City are Gene Simmons songs personified. As I see it, these two Gene Simmons songs stand side to side with his vocal classics God of Thunder and Christine SixteenTwo Side of the Coin is an Ace Frehley classic. I cannot express any other way, the Metal conviction I feel towards this song… it Rocks. There is no need to make any other unnecessary comments about it. I listen to and write about the bands and albums that have made my life enjoyable, KISS Unmasked is as perfect an example of this. I never have and never will, get caught up in what the professional overpaid critics of the Rock world say about a band or album. Even if such said band does not care for their own specific album or song they created, if I still dig it, well then, I don’t give a damn.

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My favorite KISS album of all time is…

Posted in 1980's heavy metal albums, 1980's heavy metal bands, 1980's heavy metal music, 1980's heavy metal songs, 1980's metal music, Album Review, classic heavy metal albums, cool album covers, essential heavy metal albums, Heavy Metal, heavy metal album covers, heavy metal album review, heavy metal albums, heavy metal guitarists, heavy metal music, heavy metal music 1982, Heavy Metal Reviews, heavy metal vocalists, Metal, metal music, Music, old school heavy metal, rock music, vintage heavy metal albums, Vocals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

main-150I am a lifelong Kiss fan, guilty of admiring a Heavy Metal band that has influenced the genre of Metal both musically, theatrically and of course… commercially. Out of the entire Kiss catalog of Heavy Metal, there has to be my favorite album of all time… my choice of favorite Kiss album seems to change yearly. (Oh well, that is my Metal dilemma I have to live with). As of today, Sunday, July 26, 2009, my favorite Kiss album of all time is “Creatures Of The Night”, (released in 1982). This Kiss album came out after “The Elder” album, making for quite the triumphant, Heavy Metal return. When I first heard the song “I Love It Loud”, man, was I ever psyched out of my Metal mind! I was serving time in High School when this album released, having this Kiss song to play loud back then was true innocent rebellion. Playing this song and the entire “Creatures Of The Night” album loud today, well, is just because I want to and can. (No more rebellion is left in my system… I think). 

In my Metal opinion, this Kiss album is arguably their heaviest studio album ever created. (The live albums are darned heavy too, however, I am comparing the studio albums). “War Machine” is definitely my favorite song off of this prestigious album. Gene Simmons on lead vocals is classic – I can hear the anger flow from his voice and the lyrics only add credence to this interpretation. “Danger” is one tough and heavy Kiss song that Paul Stanley sings lead vocals on. For a Paul Stanley sung tune, this is as fast and furious as it ever gets. “Saint and Sinner” is a bass lovers dream of a Heavy Metal song, with Gene Simmons giving what I consider, one of his best lead vocal efforts ever. “Creatures Of The Night” is melodic as it is heavy, a Kiss song that without hesitation, is my favorite Paul Stanley – on lead vocals, song. I say this until it hurts, that I have never been the biggest fan of ballads in Heavy Metal. There are always my exceptions to this personal rule. “I Still Love You” is one damned cool and heavy ballad that Paul Stanley sings. Paul Stanley turns some sappy lyrics into a song that I can still crank up, to this day.

“Keep Me Comin'” is the one song off of this album that I have liked the least. This song is not terrible, I won’t skip over it while playing the entire album… yet it never seemed to get my Metal adrenaline perking over the years. “Rock and Roll Hell” and “Killer” round out the rest of the songs from “Creatures Of The Night”, making for nine Kiss songs total, that are now considered by me, vintage Kiss. Metal truth be told, if you are embarking on building your first Kiss music collection, making “Creatures Of The Night” your initial purchase is a profoundly wise choice. The overall Heavy Metal power is in my Metal mind, abundant on this album.

As a side note, the articles and stories I have read and/or heard over the years is that both Ace Frehley and Vinnie Vincent receive guitar credit for this album. Frankly, it does not stir me either way, as to who actually played lead guitar and on which songs, this album is too great for such controversy to hinder the end result. Whichever guitarist did play, they played excellent. Ace Frehley does appear on the front cover of the album, therefore I shall close my eyes each time I listen to this album and picture Space Ace as the lead axe man. The late Eric Carr played some top notch and cool Heavy Metal drums for Kiss… the proof is in the music found on this album. I always considered “Creatures Of The Night” to be the Kiss album that launched them into the decade of the ’80’s. This is an album that will launch any new fan into a believer.

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