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Rock - Paru le 23 mai 1979 | UMe Direct 2

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Dynasty marked the first time that the original four members of Kiss didn't all appear together for the entire album -- session drummer Anton Fig subbed for Peter Criss due to the latter's erratic behavior and injuries sustained in a serious car crash. And even though it was a platinum-plus smash, Dynasty marked the beginning of Kiss' unfocused period, which would ultimately end in a nosedive of the band's popularity, as well as Criss and Ace Frehley leaving the band by 1982. In latter-day interviews, the band admitted that they started to listen to outsiders about what direction the music should go around the time of Dynasty. And since small children were a large part of Kiss' audience by 1979 (due to merchandising and the God-awful TV movie Kiss Meets the Phantom), the band began backing away from heavy metal and embracing pop. Included is their hit disco experiment, "I Was Made for Loving You" (which was no better or worse than any other rock-meets-disco experiment of the late '70s), as well as "Sure Know Something," a melodic pop/rocker that should have also been a smash. Many other tracks would have been better if they weren't so glossed up (due to producer Vini Poncia), such as "Charisma," "Magic Touch," "Hard Times," and a great reworked cover of the Rolling Stones obscurity "2,000 Man." Not a horrible album (that distinction would go to 1981's Music from "The Elder"), but certainly not on par with such classics as Hotter Than Hell, Destroyer, or Love Gun. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 14 octobre 1997 | UMe Direct 2

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Rock - Paru le 15 mars 1976 | UMe Direct 2

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Cette année-là, Kiss est devenu la dernière attraction à la mode, principalement en raison du succès dévastateur de son précédent album, capté en public. Le challenge est donc double avec le cinquième enregistrement du groupe : faire au moins aussi bien qu’Alive ! en matière de ventes de disques, et enfin réaliser un album en studio qui emporte l’adhésion des fans, et des critiques. L’illustration de pochette est assurée par l’un des maîtres de l’heroic-fantasy, ce Ken Kelly, par ailleurs dessinateur de Conan le barbare. Et pour mettre toutes les chances du côté de la réussite, on confie donc la production à Bob Ezrin (l’homme du School’s Out d’Alice Cooper, et qui, trois années plus tard, édifiera The Wall pour le compte de Pink Floyd). On opte ensuite pour une politique parfaitement intelligente : prendre l’exact contre-pied d’Alive !, en proposant un album sophistiqué, et aventureux. Certes, Destroyer offre sa proportion raisonnable de hard-rock primaire et énergique et efficace (on évoque même le sado-masochisme au détour d’une chanson), mais on relève ici ou là assez de poses arty pour retenir l’attention : travail de studio, effets sonores inédits, ballades sophistiquées (« Beth », hit du Top 10, composé et chanté par Peter Criss), et jusqu’à la pièce clôturant l’album, mystérieusement privée de titre. Quant à une filiation éventuelle, on rappellera que « Do You Love Me? » (rien à voir avec le standard de The Contours) sera bien plus tard interprété par rien moins que Nirvana. Destroyer parviendra à la onzième place des classements de vente pop, et quatre singles en seront extraits (inclus les deux Top 10 que sont « Beth », donc, et « Detroit Rock City » le bien nommé).   © ©Copyright Music Story Christian Larrède 2015
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Rock - Paru le 10 septembre 1975 | UMe Direct 2

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Si tant est que quelqu’un en ait jamais eu envie, c’est ici qu’on arrête de rire. Les trois premiers coins du jeu de ballle de Kiss (sa cour de récréation souhaitée : le monde) plantés avec ses trois premiers albums, tout le monde (en l’occurrence les musiciens, le manager, et le label) s’accorde à penser qu’il convient désormais de faire évoluer le groupe, du statut d’attraction de foire du binaire électrique, à celui d’acte majeur de la scène rock des années 70. Alors, les Américains confient à Eddie Kramer (l’ingénieur du Beggar’s Banquet des Rolling Stones, et le monsieur derrière l’ « All You Need is Love » des Beatles, tout de même), de capturer, au plus près de leur énergie, les performances du quatuor, en concert dans le New Jersey ou l’Iowa. Le meilleur des trois précédentes livraisons est ainsi magnifié par sa rencontre avec le public, et ce qui n’étaient que bonnes chansons devient hymnes. Considéré comme l’un des disques les plus efficaces (double, le disque, à l’époque de sa parution) enregistrés en concert de toute l’histoire du rock, Alive ! est suspecté d’avoir été grandement amélioré en studio par l’enregistrement de pistes additionnelles, et la correction de certaines erreurs instrumentales. Ce qui ne fait que conforter l’idée que, toute excitation égale par ailleurs, c’est un bien étrange cirque qui prend ici son essor. Avec un séjour de cent-dix semaines dans les charts, et une certification de quadruple platine, Alive ! atteindra la neuvième position des classements de musique pop. Quant à « Rock ‘N’ Roll All Nite », signature définitive du groupe, il séjournera dans le Top 20 des singles.  © ©Copyright Music Story Christian Larrède 2021
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Rock - Paru le 18 février 1974 | UMe Direct 2

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Strutter - Nothin' to lose - Firehouse - Cold gin - Let me know - Kissin' time - Deuce - Love theme from kiss - 100,000 years - Black diamond
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Rock - Paru le 19 mars 1975 | UMe Direct 2

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Tout le monde chez Casablanca est sincèrement ravi que Kiss soit devenue en un peu plus d’une année le groupe à voir sur une scène américaine, décourageant les premières parties, et rendant suspicieuse la concurrence directe. Mais le label apprécierait encore davantage que les ventes de disques soient enfin en adéquation avec les concerts triomphaux. On demande alors au quatuor (Stanley et Simmons en tête) de peaufiner les compositions, d’y adjoindre une optique résolument pop (comme populaire), et le patron de la compagnie en personne (Neil Bogart , ancien petit garçon pauvre de Brooklyn, et ex producteur de groupes de bubblegum music tels The Ohio Express) décide d’assumer la production au côté des musiciens. Le résultat ne se fait pas attendre : on commence à entendre Kiss dans les radios, et même les critiques saluent dans « Ladies in Waiting » une parfaite évocation des groupies qui gravitent autour des groupes en tournée. Si on ajoute au programme quelques chansons qui trouveront (riffs simples et efficaces, thématiques adolescentes) toute leur dimension face à un public, on peut conclure que c’est ici que Kiss débute sa triomphale marche en avant. Dressed to Kill entre dans le Top 40 des classements de vente, ce qui constitue alors une trajectoire inédite pour le groupe.  © ©Copyright Music Story Christian Larrède 2021
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Rock - Paru le 12 mars 1996 | UMe Direct 2

After sinking deep into this musical celebration, even the not-so-avid listener will surely know something more about Kiss, a classic rock icon of the '70s roaring back in vibrant and passionate form. This recording of a session done expressly for the program MTV Unplugged in 1996 brought together a special group for a remarkable, if unexpected, reunion. Throughout this record, you can feel the support and raw adoration of the audience present, certainly a mixture of long-time fans and new admirers. The members of Kiss got together to rock hard on their axes and crash big on the drums, bringing a renewed sense of freshness and excitement. Nearly rock & roll legends, they exceeded expectations and, given their newfound energy, charisma, and love for the music, their performance provided the catalyst for the beginning of a successful world reunion tour. "Coming Home" delivers a feverish and electric opening that gets the crowd on its feet in a hurry. Soon the emotion and presence of this group are brought back with startling grace and wisdom on "Plaster Caster," and the beautiful acoustic medley "Goin' Blind." The decades of Kiss, their costumes, and their wild stadium shows roll back in a heartbeat through the crashing tune "Do You Love Me." Perhaps one of the most bewildering tunes that really reflects the image of Kiss is the rocking blues tune "Domino." The crowd is really fired up now, next experiencing the charming and soulful power rock ballad "Sure Know Something." "A World Without Heroes" is very subdued and reflective. "Rock Bottom" is delicate and mysterious in the opening seconds, with a lush minor harmony delivered picking style on the acoustic. "Now it gets rough," expresses Stanley, grooving in a racy blues statement. "See You Tonight" is a romantic and pretty ballad delivered with sweetness, and the group sings, "I'll see you tonight/And if I can't, I'll cry, I'll cry/I see you tonight, outside." Then on comes the darker resonance of the band with "I Still Love You," expressing grave longing after a grueling breakup. "I got to make you see," is a gripping line in a haunting bridge section, before the shouted, emotional, sometimes painful chorus: "Girl, it seems the price I have of losing you/Will be my hell to pay/It makes me want to die/'Cause I still love you." The solo during the bridge is reminiscent of the chord structure of the Guess Who's "Undun." After this painful, depressing song, new breath is found with "Every Time I Look at You," a song of forgiveness, delivered with sincerity and the feeling of hope: "Every time I hold you/The things I never told you seem to come easily/'Cause you're everything to me." The bridge is brilliant and seems to elevate the melody to a gratifying level, before breaking into a chilling guitar improv, layered over with a shimmering string orchestra. "Beth" is the most heartwarming song of Kiss' power ballads: "Beth I know you're lonely/And I hope you'll be alright/'Cause me and the boys will be playing all night." Finally, a Kiss show wouldn't be complete without the ultimate party song, "Rock and Roll All Night," a tune still electric without electric guitars. © Shawn Haney /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 10 octobre 1982 | UMe Direct 2

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By 1982's Creatures of the Night, Kiss had finally ditched their plans of becoming "respectable artists" (starting with 1979's Dynasty) and had come to the realization that they were a loud, no-holds-barred heavy metal band. Easily their best since 1977's Love Gun, Creatures of the Night contains very little filler and sounds as if Kiss had been reborn (it also includes one of the heaviest drum sounds ever captured in the studio by any rock band). The band is inspired and enthusiastic throughout, especially on such rockers as the opening title track, "Killer," "War Machine," "Saint and Sinner," and one of their great anthems, "I Love It Loud." Also included is one of Kiss' better ballads, "I Still Love You" (later featured on 1996's Unplugged set), as well as "Rock and Roll Hell," a song written about Ace Frehley, who would soon officially make his resignation from the band public. Guitarist Vinnie Vincent (real name: Vinnie Cusano) handles guitar duties here and was eventually named as Frehley's replacement, playing on the ensuing tour. Although Creatures of the Night deserved to be the album that put Kiss back on top of the charts, it performed below expectations (topping out at number 45), as did its tour. Hence, the album is one of Kiss' most underrated. It didn't take a genius to figure out that the makeup had grown stale and was now getting in the way of their music. The time had finally come for the band to unmask. [Creatures of the Night was later reissued in 1985 with a different cover (non-makeup) and remixed. But when all of Kiss' albums were remastered and re-released on CD in 1996, the original 1982 version was used.] © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 22 octobre 1974 | UMe Direct 2

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Got to choose - Parasite - Goin' blind - Hotter than hell - Let me go, rock 'n roll - All the way - Watchin' You - Mainline - Comin' home - Strange ways
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Rock - Paru le 14 octobre 1977 | UMe Direct 2

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For Kiss' breakthrough 1975 release Alive!, the band had a total of three studio albums from which to select their in-concert repertoire. By mid-1977, Kiss had released another three studio recordings (Destroyer, Rock and Roll Over, and Love Gun), and with a new Kiss album needed for the holiday season, a second live album, Alive II, was assembled. Three sides were recorded live in concert at the Los Angeles Forum (with a few tracks recorded in Japan), while the fourth side featured five new studio recordings. Like its predecessor, there's been quite a lot of speculation concerning extensive overdubbing (the proof being that you can often hear several Paul Stanley voices singing backup simultaneously!), but Alive II shows that Kiss was still an exciting live band despite all the hype. Adrenaline-charged versions of "Detroit Rock City," "Love Gun," "Calling Dr. Love," "Shock Me," "God of Thunder," "I Want You," and "Shout It Out Loud" are all highlights. On the fourth side, Ace Frehley only plays on a single song (his self-penned classic "Rocket Ride") for reasons unknown, while session guitarist Bob Kulick filled in for the AWOL Frehley. Among the studio tracks is the made-for-the-stage anthem "Larger Than Life," which the band surprisingly never performed live. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 1 mai 1982 | UMe Direct 2

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1981's The Elder was such a bomb worldwide that Kiss' record company outside the U.S., Casablanca/Phonogram, demanded that the band immediately assemble another greatest-hits package to prove to their befuddled fans that they were still a heavy metal group, not experimental prog rockers. Since a greatest-hits set was issued just four years prior in the form of the double LP Double Platinum, the band decided to include four brand-new tracks along with some hits, under the title of Killers (a single album). The new tracks ("I'm a Legend Tonight," "Down on Your Knees," "Nowhere to Run," "Partners in Crime") resembled the Kiss of old more than anything the band had released for a few years by this point (again, guitarist Bob "Alive II" Kulick subs for Ace Frehley). The only hits on Killers that hadn't already appeared on Double Platinum were "I Was Made for Loving You," "Sure Know Something," and "Rock and Roll All Nite (Live)"; the rest were repeats ("Love Gun," "Detroit Rock City," "God of Thunder," "Cold Gin," and "Shout It out Loud"). Killers didn't accomplish what the record company hoped it would -- re-establishing Kiss as chart-toppers -- but it did show their fans outside the U.S. that the band meant business again. [The Australian and Japanese versions of Killers include a slightly different track listing.] © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 1 octobre 1987 | UMe Direct 2

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Since Kiss' 1987 album, Crazy Nights, was their most pop-accessible album until then, a total of three video clips were issued, which are all featured on the home video of the same name. While the videos aren't exactly the best the band has ever produced, they were very popular with MTV viewers: all appeared regularly on the network's viewer request program at the time. The first video, "Crazy, Crazy Nights," is a no-frills clip of the quartet lip-syncing the anthemic song to an auditorium full of excited fans, while the second one, "Reason to Live," is a ballad that features clips of an attractive blonde seeking revenge on her unfaithful lover, Mr. Paul Stanley (!), while the band plays the song. The final clip, "Turn on the Night," is one of the album's most keyboard-heavy tracks, and follows the set-up of the second video for the most part -- a female fan is shown enjoying a concert by the band while Kiss plays away. Besides the three clips, no other footage is featured, which makes the Crazy Nights video of interest to Kiss completists only. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 24 avril 1978 | UMe Direct 2

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Rock - Paru le 22 juillet 2003 | Sanctuary Records

It has to be quite a thrill to count off "one, two, three, four...hit it!" and have a full orchestra launch into the same power chord you are. Kiss got to experience it during a one-off show with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and Alive IV is the document. The band is continuing the makeup revival that started in 1996, but Ace Frehley has moved on, taking his oddball tunes and loose attitude with him. In a move that fans might see as sacrilege, former Black 'n' Blue guitarist Tommy Thayer has assumed the role of the Spaceman, and the Melbourne show was his debut. Considering the monolithic pressure put upon him, it's no surprise he plays it straight, often too straight. It's just one of the disappointments on an album dragged down by a muddy mix and under-rehearsed interaction of band and orchestra. Kiss plays without the orchestra for the first six numbers, most of which have shown up in better versions on the first two editions of Alive. Gene Simmons' bass is pushed further down in the mix than ever, and only the most die-hard fan would want a live version of "Psycho Circus." The Melbourne Symphony Ensemble joins for the rest of the first disc, accompanying retreads of MTV Unplugged performances minus the excitement of a freshly reunited Kiss. Simmons' vocal is an embarrassment as it struggles through "Goin' Blind," but the appearance of Unmasked's "Shandi" is a pleasant surprise. The extra strings work fine over this easygoing chamber version of Kiss. The full orchestra shows up, in Kiss makeup of course, for the whole of the second disc. It sounds more bloated than bombastic as the mix ping-pongs between crunchy guitars and disco-style string and horn flourishes. Other than the inspired counterpoint in "God of Thunder" and "Love Gun," the orchestra is given little to do but imitate the band's simple melodies. In an especially wicked moment, Destroyer's arrangement of "Great Expectations" reappears with its unwholesome mix of children's choir and groupies-in-waiting lyrical content. A couple other grand moments make the record more satisfying than the pointless Alive III. Sadly absent is Frehley's cool demeanor, always a relief from Simmons and Paul Stanley's pompous swagger. He's definitely missed on Alive IV and a 60-piece orchestra can't make up for it. [Sanctuary reissued the album in 2008.] © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 30 juin 1977 | UMe Direct 2

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Tant va la machine au charbon qu’à la fin elle se grippe : ce proverbe détourné devrait s’appliquer à Kiss, qui, avec Love Gun, produit son septième album (dont un double, du temps du vinyle) en trois années. Mais en 1977, le label (i.e. la marque de fabrique) qu’offre désormais le groupe constitue bien davantage qu’une simple usine à musique. Le fan peut désormais boire son café dans une tasse Kiss, jouer au guitar hero devant son miroir grâce à une trousse à maquillage Kiss, et singer un pinball wizard contre (tout contre) un flipper Kiss. Donc, si les héros sont fatigués, ils conservent les phalanges assez souples pour compter les billets, et comprendre que Love Gun (en fait, ultime album de la formation originelle, avant longtemps) doit se situer dans le droit fil du précédent (Rock and Roll Over), pour ne pas décevoir les fans. Encore une fois produit par Eddie Kramer (l’homme qui remet toujours le groupe sur le chemin du rock), cet album ne manque effectivement pas de dérouler son quota d’hymnes électriques, extrêmement roboratifs. Au chapitre des curiosités, on relèvera un peu de piano ici, « Plaster Caster », chanson en hommage à ces groupies qui ont pour coutume de mouler les parties intimes des rock stars (gros, énorme succès pour Jimi Hendrix, semble t’il) là, ainsi qu’une reprise tout à fait dispensable du « Then He Kissed Me » de Phil Spector (devenu, public hétérosexuel oblige, « Then She Kissed Me »). C’est toujours le maître du graphisme de l’heroic fantasy Ken Kelly qui prend en charge l’illustration de la pochette. Et Love Gun, qui sera suivi d’une pantagruélique tournée, atteindra la quatrième position des charts de musique pop, alors que deux singles en seront extraits (« Love Gun » - la chanson, et « Christine Sixteen »).  © ©Copyright Music Story Christian Larrède 2021
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Rock - Paru le 1 juin 1980 | UMe Direct 2

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Although Unmasked was certified gold shortly after its release in the U.S., it quickly fell off the charts. Deciding factors included the band's failure to mount a stateside tour, the fact that the majority of the compositions on Unmasked were easily forgettable, and longtime fans' weariness with Kiss' attempts to branch out into other musical styles. Vini Poncia was on board as producer again, and again he replaces the raw, heavy rock of earlier Kiss releases with pop gloss. Several tracks are indeed strong, and would have benefited greatly by a more direct sound, such as "Is That You?," "Talk to Me," "Two Sides of the Coin," "Naked City," and the single, "Shandi." But there's more filler on Unmasked than the average Kiss release -- "What Makes the World Go 'Round," "Tomorrow," and "She's So European" are tedious and predictable, both compositionally and sonically. Again, session drummer Anton Fig fills in for Peter Criss, who would officially split from the band soon after the album's release (eventually replaced by Eric Carr). Although the band's popularity dwindled in their homeland, they embarked on a massively successful European and Australian tour, where Unmasked was a huge hit, until year's end. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 18 septembre 1983 | UMe Direct 2

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Due to the underachievement of their exceptional 1982 comeback album, Creatures of the Night, Kiss knew the time was right to drop the makeup, so in September 1983 the band shocked their fans by unmasking on MTV. Their first non-makeup album, Lick It Up, followed soon after and successfully re-established the band among the heavy metal masses worldwide. Kiss also reconnected with their stateside fans -- Lick It Up was the band's first record to achieve gold status since 1980's Kiss Unmasked. The album's success was spurred by MTV's repeated airing of the imaginative video for the album's strong title track, and songs such as "Exciter," "Not for the Innocent," "A Million to One," and the rap-rocker "All Hell's Breaking Loose" confirmed that the band was back on the right track. Vinnie Vincent again proved to be a worthy replacement to original guitarist Ace Frehley but would unfortunately leave the band after the completion of the Lick It Up worldwide tour (eventually resurfacing with the Vinnie Vincent Invasion in the late '80s). Lick It Up is undoubtedly Kiss' best non-makeup album. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 11 novembre 1976 | UMe Direct 2

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Les deux précédents albums du groupe ont été des triomphes (à la fois en matière de ventes, mais également comme rampes de lancement de fantasques tournées promotionnelles). Mais les déchirements commencent à accabler le fonctionnement au quotidien de Kiss. Le guitariste Ace Frehley, en particulier, n’a jamais éprouvé la moindre indulgence pour les fantaisies harmoniques de l’album Destroyer, et entend revenir aux joies et décharge d’adrénaline du hard-rock initial. C’est chose faite avec Rock and Roll Over, dont la production est confiée au revenant Eddie Kramer (il avait pris en charge le brutal – et salué – Alive !, et s’avère compagnon récurrent de Kiss depuis leur toute première démo). Toutes les chansons sont ici conçues comme une succession de coups de poing, assénés à la face d’un public ravi. Et si l’album sanctionne la main-mise progressive des deux leaders (avec une longueur d’avance pour Gene Simmons) sur les compositions, la couleur musicale, et, donc, le devenir du groupe, c’est un quatuor en apparence resserré (la suite démontrera qu’on est dans l’erreur) qui délivre les nouveaux hymnes : un énergique « Calling Dr. Love », et la libidineuse ballade « Hard Luck Woman », signée Paul Stanley. Les fans salueront chapeau bas ce retour à la musique simple et efficace qui a fait la renommée de Kiss, et Rock and Roll Over, certifié double platine, se placera en onzième position des charts pop.  © ©Copyright Music Story Christian Larrède 2021
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Rock - Paru le 13 septembre 1984 | UMe Direct 2

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With two strong albums back to back (Creatures of the Night and Lick It Up), Kiss fans were confident that the band's next album would be just as good. Although 1984's Animalize was a big hit (eventually going double platinum), it was the beginning of the band's second unfocused period. Instead of leading the heavy metal pack with raw hard rock (i.e., their classic albums from the '70s), in the mid- to late '80s, Kiss seemed to be copying other successful pop-metal bands (Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, etc.), both musically and visually. Mark St. John replaced the departed Vinnie Vincent on guitar (guitarist number three in a span of three years) and proved to be a highly technical player, the complete opposite of original member Ace Frehley's straight-ahead style. Still, there were a few strong compositions on Animalize, such as the MTV hit "Heaven's on Fire" and two heavy tracks: the opener, "I've Had Enough (Into the Fire)," and "Under the Gun." But by this point, bassist Gene Simmons was more interested in pursuing an acting career than being an integral member of Kiss, so many of his compositions are either forgettable ("While the City Sleeps") or just plain embarrassing (the Spinal Tap-esque "Burn Bitch Burn"). Although a commercial success, Animalize was not nearly as strong as its two predecessors. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Rock - Paru le 1 janvier 1993 | UMe Direct 2

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L'interprète

Kiss dans le magazine