Tag Archives: tommy thayer

KISS-Monster

kiss

I know the 13 year-old in me is shocked that I was not looking forward to a new album from childhood idols KISS. If Monster was anything like it’s post reunion predecessors, I just couldn’t take it. The band released “Hell Or Hallelujah” as an early single. This was supposed to announce to the doubtful, that the band is back to its’ rockin’ ways. To emphasize it they proudly exclaimed that there were no ballads. Which was curious since the bands biggest hits were ballads. Anyway, back to the first song. Many in the rock world loved how it sounded like old school KISS. And I wholeheartedly agree with them, “Hell Or Hallelujah” does sound like vintage KISS. Unfortunately, it’s because the song sounds “eerily” like “I Stole Your Love”. But since AC/DC and Slayer have been playing the same song for decades so why not KISS? It is a good song after all.

But that is just one song out of an album of 12. While the opener is a good track, my favorite may be the closer “Last Chance. This song truly echoes the classic KISS sound without aping it. “Freak” is another keeper that has some beef to it and would easily fit with Revenge era material. Just like all their other releases, lead vocals are split almost evenly between Stanley and Simmons with Ace and Peter given one each.

Oops, I meant Tommy and Eric.

It is a tad curious that the one song that Tommy sings lead on is “Outta This World”. You don’t think that it’s just a tad coincidental that the guy now wearing the Spaceman makeup writes a song title like that do you? In all fairness it is a good tune despite is “curious” song title. Now, the Eric song is blatant bait and switch on Peter Criss’ legacy. “All For The Love Of Rock N Roll” has a very bluesy soulful sound that was right in the Catman’s wheelhouse. Tacky and not good either.

I want to talk about these two members without delving too far into the makeup controversy. While I’m not a big fan of it, I’m not outraged. Eric is a monster drummer so if that what it takes to keep him in the band I’m cool. Tommy is another matter. He is a very serviceable guitarist but KISS shouldn’t have serviceable guitarists. Put it this way, after Bruce Kulick left KISS he made two terrific albums with Union. Prior to joining KISS Tommy Thayer was in Black N Blue a 3rd tier glam band whose only notoriety was that Gene was their manager and on his own label. Not comparable.

After all is said and done Monster is a very spotty album. Couple good songs and a couple that have you hit fast forward. It is a somewhat success in that it’s a step in the right direction. Compare it to Metallica and Death Magnetic. Not their best effort but gives hope that the band can get back to their past glory.

 

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

$0-Not worth the drive space

 

 

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Black ‘N Blue-Hell Yeah

 

Black ‘N Blue is an interesting band. Interesting in that what they are best known for has nothing to do with their music. What they are best known for their connections to KISS. Black ‘N Blue was the first band signed by Gene Simmons and was his pet project. Sadly, the hype wore off and did not result in any memorable songs. When the band faded away, their legacy was now being known as the training ground for future Ace Frehley imitator/replacement guitarist Tommy Thayer. My big recollection of them was that their CD’s were never available in the States but had been in Japan. I remember seeing them available on eBay for $150 for the 3 of them.

You have to love collectors.

Like many of their peers, Black ‘N Blue reformed and have released several new albums including their latest offering Hell Yeah. Now I would like to say that Black ‘N Blue have followed RATT and Warrant in releasing a good album. However, my Mom always told me that it is not nice to lie. Hell Yeah is 15 songs of hard rock banality that proves why Black ‘N Blue are not known for their music.

The album starts out alright with “Monkey” a fine hard rocker and is soon followed by “Hail Hail”. A nice enough ode to rock n roll, a theme that is sorely lacking in today’s songs. Unfortunately, that is about it. The rest of the album is just filler, lots and lots of filler with nothing standing out. The musicianship is decent but nothing notable. Singer Jamie St. James has no real presence in the songs nor does his voice make up for that. It is a little of a misnomer to say that there are actually 15 songs when three of the tracks are jokes. One is about singer Jamie having beer and that shows you the level we are dealing with.

It’s rather fitting that the last song on the album is called “ I Smell a Rat” because this album stinks like a dead rat you would find in the basement. Hell Yeah is the perfect tombstone for a band that should have died the first time around. Fans would best served by saving their money and spending it on lost gem CD’s that were overlooked when the first came out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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