KISS – Psycho Circus (Review)

KISS – Psycho Circus (1998)

Basking in the incredible success of their 1996 reunion tour, the four original members of KISS headed back into the studio to pick up where they left off: completely unable to work together. In fact, the entire band only appear together twice on 1998’s so-called reunion album Psycho Circus. The whole band performs Ace Frehley’s Into The Void (which, surprise surprise, is the only track here that sounds anything like classic KISS) and they all sing together on the fairly average You Wanted The Best. In truth, however, this is the Paul n’ Gene show. Which would be fine if the album was actually any good, but it’s a muddled, mediocre effort. Stanley exerts a bit of quality control with the anthemic, stomping title track and Gene offers up the suprisingly good closer Journey Of 1,000 Years but both performers have seen better days. Within is terrible alterna-metal, Finally Found My Way is a limp and dated ballad and the album is loaded with empty and charmless statements of unity. Doing a greatest hits nostalgia trek is one thing, moving forward as a creative unit is another entirely. KISS would have been better settling for the nostalgia because Psycho Circus left the inimitable rock legends looking like nothing but a bunch of clowns.

Another attempt at photographing the pesky 3D cover

35 thoughts on “KISS – Psycho Circus (Review)”

  1. Yeah, not their finest effort. I liked Psycho Circus, Within, We Are One and Into the Void and that was pretty much it. Maye a 2.5 for me. And it does suck that it really wasn’t much of a reunion album since they didn’t really record together.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Man, they dropped the ball on this one big time. To tour that much beforehand in 96 and then put this out without two key members sucks ass.
    Some of it is good some of it so so and a lot of it I have forgotten.
    Too bad as it could have been stellar especially with Fairbairn at the controls.
    KISS wanted to make there own ‘Pump’ like Aeroalbum but instead, they defeated quickly. It’s apparent looking back that from 97 on it’s been a shit show with these guys in the personal ranks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, if you believe Paul Stanley, he put a lot of the blame for this at Fairbairn’s door. Had his nose too far up Gene’s ass. Don’t know if I buy that… Simmons and Stanley both went into this with the wrong attitude. I really don’t like the sound on it though so I guess Fairbairn fucked up there. Was this his final album?

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      1. Yes’s The Ladder album was Fairbairn’s last album as he died during it.
        Stanley deflected the blame to Bruce but make no mistake the songs wriiten should also be faulted to the songwriters on this album as they didn’t have the material as well so who knows what kind of songs Bruce had to work with.

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  3. Check out the demos for this album on YouTube. Without the Fairbairn production, the sound is rawer, grittier and with more depth and edge.
    I do like some of the songs, but classic Kiss? No way, José. It’s an uneven album but not bad per se, I think. Animalize, for example, is a way worse record.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love Animalize so hard disagree there!

      I’d agree it’s uneven though. Maybe not completely “bad” cause there are a few songs I like but it’s certainly a poor effort. My least favourite album of theirs maybe…

      I’ll check out the demos, never heard those. The album is very sterile and brickwalled sounding.


  4. I just wish they’d give us what we want and issue a greatest hits or a best of; possibly even a live album. Sorry, crazy talk from me there for a second, they have far too much integrity.

    Liked by 1 person

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