Music Review: Kiss tops charts with new album

By Jim Hagerty

Staff Writer

When Gene Simmons says Kiss is hanging up its spiked platform shoes, ax guitars, cartoon character costumes and parking the fleet of tour buses and trucks, he means it—at least for the moment. That decision changed again, as the band is back with another tour and its first studio album in more than a decade.

Last year, Simmons and co-founder Paul Stanley announced Kiss would launch the Kiss Alive/35 World Tour to celebrate its 35th anniversary. Kicking off last March in Australia with five legs and more than 100 shows, the tour wraps Dec. 15 in Canada, after making a stop in Chicago (United Center) Nov. 6.

As always, pundits, fans and Kiss Army members follow the band closely, searching for the big story, Simmons, Stanley and a host of lead guitar players and drummers, are finally closing the chapter of rock history they helped pen. Rumors about a new Kiss record have also been common since 1998’s Psycho Circus, the first with original members, guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss, since 1979, went gold. Drummer Eric Singer and guitarist Tommy Thayer have since replaced Criss and Frehley. Frehley left Kiss for a second time in 2002. Criss departed in 2004.

As the current tour progressed, Simmons and Stanley apparently couldn’t keep their latest project a secret, as both announced last November a new studio album was in the works. Released last Tuesday (Oct. 6), Sonic Boom is the 19th studio album for Kiss. The record has already reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard album chart. The first single, “Modern Day Delilah,” holds the No. 11 spot on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

With Wal-Mart its exclusive distributor, Sonic Boom also includes a live DVD, 15- track greatest hits compilation disc and 20-page booklet. According to Simmons, the new record echoes the band’s signature sound of the late ’70s.

Kiss released its first albums in 1974—the self-titled debut and Hotter Than Hell. Both albums achieved gold status. It wasn’t until 1975 when fans began to seriously take notice as Kiss Alive! showcased the band’s live sound. By the mid-’70s, Kiss was a record- and merchandising-selling enterprise. Kiss shows continue to be known for animated theatrics, including Simmons’ flame-eating, laser-lighting and explosions.

An international leg of the Kiss Alive/35 World Tour is said to include dates into 2010.

From the October 14-20, 2009 issue

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