KISS – KISS (Review)

Can you guess which of these guys got someone else to do their makeup?

KISS, the band’s self-titled debut album from 1974, is loaded with more classics than any other studio album they would ever put out. The masked New York rockers were already making a reputation as an explosive live act and when you look at the tracks featured here, Strutter, Firehouse, Cold Gin, Deuce, Black Diamond and 100,000 Years, it’s no wonder few bands dared take them out as support act.

But it’s not all cut from that timeless cloth. The glam stomp single Kissin’ Time and the instrumental Love Theme From KISS don’t rank among the band’s better moments. And the young musicians were unable to capture the power and excitement of their live shows in the studio. KISS at their best put a spring in your step like no other band but the production and performance here is too tentative to quite achieve that.

KISS would eventually deliver definitive renditions of these songs on their mega-selling 1975 album Alive! But there’s a reason so many of that live album’s songs were drawn from their debut. KISS is a must-hear for fans of street-level, meat and potatoes hard rock. A flawed classic that planted the seeds of success with its pop-savvy mix of Humble Pie boogie, tasty heavy riffs and an array of songs that would become the stuff of legend.

39 thoughts on “KISS – KISS (Review)”

  1. Nice surprise to see this album pop up in my Reader! Your right those 6 tracks that you mentioned have always been pretty much a part of their live repertoire pretty much for decades..
    100,000 Thousand Years is perhaps my fav especially that opening Bass lick and Spaceman’s guitar solo…
    Perhaps only one of threeor four studio records that all dudes that are pictured actually play on the album…
    Well done Dude!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cheers Deke. 100,000 Years and Black Diamond both my faves here. Black Diamond maybe my fave KISS song altogether…

      Ace is the best guy here. All his leads are spot on!

      I really enjoyed going back to this one. Been listening to it loads lately.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I love how the debuts songs sound on KISS Alive with a little more edge and rawness added to the mix. Oh wait a minute I forgot KISS was Alive in the studio..haha
        Still though still sounds great!
        I’m going to have to pick this debut up on vinyl sooner than later…

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I haven’t heard the album, but if those six tracks are as good as you say, then there are some mighty large holes blown in the concept behind KISS 40

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The production has always been my main issue… that’s been my barrier to really digging Kiss (I could be daft for Destroyer, but instead I’m just fond of it).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I see this from time to time nd think “do I need more KISS in my house?” and so far the answer has been no just because I don’t know from song titles (exceot the obvious ones) and I know some of their stuff was sketchy so I never grab them. This makes me think I oughta.

    While I’m on the point, what about Dressed To Kill. Is it worth $1.50?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Good to know, thanks! I have a bunch of KISS stuff here – some of it from my travels, some from our venerable LeBrain, and some of it from you even (I got your Unmasked) I think!. One belongs to my lovely wife. My iTunes says I have:

        Love Gun
        Alive! III
        You Wanted The Best, You Got The Best
        Carnival Of Souls (The Final Session)
        Psycho Circus
        Sonic Boom (this is my lovely wife’s set)
        Destroyer Resurrected

        I dunno why Unmasked isn’t in there. I’ll have to go digging in the Man Cave, find it and rip it!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. As for how much I like what I’ve got, I like some of it! I’m not always in a KISS mood, but sometimes it works well enough for me. I’m so late to the game that I’ll never be a big fan like some of the folks in these blogs, but I like ’em well enough.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I have other KISS stuff on LP too!

        The Originals (3lp)
        Creatures Of The Night
        Double Platinum (2lp)
        KISS – Gene Simmons
        KISS – Paul Stanley
        Rock And Roll Over
        Lick It Up
        Alive! II
        Love Gun
        Dressed To Kill

        So. Apparently I had more KISS on LP than I imagined. No way I’ve played all of this. I don’t even remember how all of this got into my house. Maybe they’re breeding like rabbits in the Man Cave…

        So I have Dressed To Kill on LP… Do I need the CD too? Seems I have others in duplicate too. The Double Platinum is nice-looking, very shiny!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Didn’t look like you’re missing much. The Originals set has the first three albums I think so you should have the debut already. Probably got Dressed To Kill on that as well.

        I think that’s a pretty respectable KISS collection right there. Not any glaring omissions… maybe the Ace solo album.

        But if you’re only occasionally in a KISS mood that lot ought to be enough!


      5. Haha I got a respectable KISS collection without even trying! As I said, I only remember how some of these even came into the house. The rest… rabbits.

        Yeah I’m only occassionally in a KISS mood. I have so much music here, and so much new-to-me still to hear, they have to fight for ear-time the same as everyone else!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yeah, I’d just stick with what you’ve got until you really can’t get enough of them and want more. You’ve got all the classic makeup era albums and the best of the rest so… I think you’re good to go!


      7. Yeah you’re really not missing much. Complete albums of the classic 70s stuff, but missing Peter and Ace solo albums. Ace’s is GREAT, Peter… not so much.

        Of the post 70s stuff you’re missing Music From The Elder, Animalize, Crazy Nights, Hot In The Shade. All stuff you could probably come across cheap eventually. None particularly essential although all have their fans (I love all of those!)


      8. KISS is one of those bands I seem to be given more than I buy, but when I buy them I always wonder if I’ll actually listen to it and then I do and I like it and then I wonder why I wondered. Sigh. Of all the ones you mentioned, the Ace record sounds like the one that oughta be next on my list!

        I went back for the Dressed To Kill CD and it was gone. Ah well, at least I have the LP! And I got Venom’s Welcome To Hell (with bonus tracks and slipcase) instead, so I consider that a win anyway!

        Liked by 1 person

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