Thursday, August 24, 2006

Revenge ***

Join us now in 1992. There was a scary and uncertain future for KISS after a string of shall we say, patchy 80's albums (Animalize, Asylum, Crazy Nights, Hot in the Shade). How was KISS to remain relevant and not look foolish in the same plain as Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana? A surprise hit like Forever wasn't in the cards, as power ballads were officially "out". So the boys had to look tough. Everyone saw the writing on the wall: the pink tassles, tight pink trousers, lipstick and eyeshadow had to go. Even more important was the music. No more half-assed, mid tempo throwaway songs allowed. No more "Bang Bang You". (God, I hate that stupid song.)

With the help of Vinnie Vincent's songwriting and new veteran (but blonde) drummer Eric Singer, KISS crafted what many would agree is their last great album. The most notable change when comparing Revenge to it's predecessors is the fact that Gene Simmons had his head back in the game. For the first time in many years, the Gene songs bested the Paul ones. Unholy, Spit, and Domino are easily Gene's best work since Creatures of the Night. Paul also has some gems here - Take it Off and Tough Love stand tall. And the token ballad "Every Time I Look at You" may not have been heard by many ears but... if you're into those ballads... it's pretty solid. Revenge isn't all sweet, the latter half runs out of steam with the bland Heart of Chrome and Thou Shalt Not (which shalt not have been included). But overall, it's an album worth revisiting from time to time. Now seems to be a good time to me.

These pictures really set the mood. Eric is saying "Yeah that's right, a blonde guy in KISS. What are YOU gonna do about it?" Gene looks nothing short of a super villain. He probably was.Bruce appears both sad and angry. He probably was. Paul's a badass but still knows something you don't. And the flowers stay dammit.

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