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Kiss - The Debut Album


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Long written off as the clown princes of Rock and Roll they have influenced a generation of bands. Kiss' music has always been overshadowed by their calling-card theatrics but the simple truth of the matter is that Back when it mattered, Kiss' metal heart was in the right place long before it became hidden behind pinball machines, lunchboxes, dolls, posters, belt buckles and all the rest. Let's have a look at their first album, recorded at Bell Sound Studios, New York in September / October of 1973 and released to an unsuspecting public on February 8th, 1974, it cast the die for many bands yet to come.

Strutter- Opening with Peter's signature 'walk-around' flam, and launching into a good solid crunchy bedrock rock song. And that weird high part harmony in the background. Ace's solo is 5 star.

Nothin' To Lose- Peter Criss makes his singing debut early in Kiss' career. Gene Simmons states that "this song was about anal sex. The lyric goes 'I thought about he back door, I didn't know what to say. But Once I had a baby, I tried every way, she didn't wanna do it, ah but she did anyway' ". Thanks Gene. I was 12. I thought you were singing about sneaking her out of the house.

Firehouse- A Kiss classic. This went on to be a staple of the shows ending with Gene breathing fire on a stage crowded with rotating red beacons, a wailing siren, and smoke galore. A staccato song with sudden stops. My favorite moment is toward the end when they sing "Get the FIREHOUSE!" and the sirens begin to wail.

Cold Gin- Another Kiss classic. Ace Frehley's ode to getting loaded cheaply. Not confident enough with his skill as a singer, Frehley had Gene sing this which is ironic as Simmons is a notorious anti-drink spokesman. Peter's jazz drum influences are never more clear than this song with intricate fills. And Frehley's weird little bend during the refrain. A great song.

Let Me Know- Never has Kiss' Beatles influence shone through on any other song as strong as it does on this. Gene actually strays from his usual 'meat and potatos' bass duties to bring forth melodic playing the likes not usually heard from a fire breathing blood drooling demon. And the song plays out very much like a tribute to the Beatles right to the very last harmony, and then Frehley sets it ablaze with an unearthly solo.

Kissin' Time- A throw in on the album to coincide with a kissing contest. Neil Bogart had Kiss rework the old Bobby Rydell original. Apparently, everyone in the band hated it. It shows.

Deuce- Click. Bang. This is the song they would use to open thousands of shows. Solid, solid, solid. Paul Stanley gives credit where credit is due. "The Beginning of the song is me ripping off the Raspberries. The beginning of "Deuce", the thing that starts it off is me bastardizing "Go All The Way". " Whatever the case may be, this is one of Kiss' heaviest. Ace's solo burns like a house afire, augmented by Gene's insane scream.

Love Theme From Kiss- The only instrumental ever recorded by Kiss. Apparently, it was shortened from it's original 7 minute length. It started off with an instrumental, and then drifted into another section called "Your Much Too Young". "Acrobat" became "Love Theme From Kiss" and then it went into a Detroit Rock City riff, which Stanley apparently got from Simmons.

100,000 Years. The song that would showcase Peter's drum solos during the live performances. One of the earliest efforts at harmonizing Ace and Paul's guitars during the solo.

Black Diamond- Kiss wrote this about their hometown, New York. From the skyscrapers, the streets appeared adorned with diamonds until you got a close look to see that is was just broken glass. Again, this song shows an early Kiss striving for Beatles-like harmonies. It also shows Paul and Gene were comfortable with sharing vocal duties with the raspy-voiced Peter Criss. And another stellar blistering lead guitar solo from Ace Frehley.

Overall, there have been better records made by other bands. But no where near as original, or with as much heart as Kiss' debut. And in the end, isn't that what really matters??

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Deuce is a great song that I didn't like very much until I heard it live. And now I love it. They didn't open the concert I went to with it though, they opened with King Of The Nighttime World then they launched into Deuce.

Favourite tracks off this album are Cold Gin, Strutter, Deuce and Black Diamond.

Great review Ken!

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Guess who baby?!?!? ;) I finally got off my a$$ and logged on.

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