In February 1974 KISS releases their debut album. Just 8 months later here comes the followup in which I believe is in Mikey Ladanos all time Top 3 albums which is Hotter Than Hell that features brilliant songs amongst some dicey production.
But here’s KISS folks. 1974. Still broke, no money and they manage to whip a batch of some real fireball gems that to the diehard don’t go unnoticed but the casual fan Hotter Than Hell may be missed as this album to me is the forgotten one…
LET’S DO THIS!
10 Songs on here! They are all Classics. Well written! Well played! Yup I said that!
If you recall from a few months ago in my review of Dressed To Kill I said that album is slowly becoming of my fav’s of KISS as that’s KISS being broke. Doing it all in-house which is what they did a year earlier on Hotter Than Hell as well!
I like KISS being broke! Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley don’t and wouldn’t get it. But sometimes when push comes to shove your best material comes to light. This album proves it…
We all know that cast of characters that are on this album so let’s cut to the chase shall we?!!
Got To Choose is a brilliant opener. More mid tempo than anything it‘s driven by Peter Criss and his drums. For all the shit kicking Petey takes he delivers it on these early album’s! Stanley sings about Whose your Baby? Got To Choose and features a fire cracking Frehley solo and man were off!
Speaking of Frehley. Ace scorches at the start of Parasite a song in which he wrote but Mean Gene sings. Parasite just ploughs through. Nasty tune man. One of the best songs to come off this album. Heavy no take prisoners approach and Ace being the loose cannon delivers in spades here…
Track 3 and Gene steps up with Goin Blind which is a groove heavy menacing mid tempo cool tune that is so fuckin good that features Gene in his brash way of writing lyrics about being the master of his domain as a 93-year-old Man involved with a Young Girl! Gene could always play Bass and this song proves it as he could play like a possessed Paul McCartney standing outside of Gates of Hell!
Mr Simmons! If you ever read this review(HAHAHA)on your current as you call it End of the Road spiel how about doing a trilogy mid set in the show consisting of Goin Blind-Christine 16-Domino! I for one would greatly love to hear that!
P.S.- Thinking it would be cool to do those other songs on Creatures that you never play live ie-Saints and Sinners/Rock N Roll Hell! Just saying!
Now back to the task at hand!
The title track is unleashed in the form of Hotter Than Hell! Stanley wrote a fantastic straight ahead track that doesn’t fool around and what’s even better is the Frehley solo when if you’re to ask me where it ranks in the all time Space Ace Kiss Guitar Solo’s this would rate close too or at the top! Man Ace smokes that fretboard…
Mean Gene and Starchild toss down a composition together that ends the party on Side 1 that’s being Let Me Go Rock N Roll which at time sounds like a ramped up Chuck Berry song with Frehley flinging off Chuck Lick after Chuck Lick off at a rapid rate.
Side 2 begins with one of my all time favourite KISS tunes that they never play but is such a brilliantly crafted song that features a brilliant opening (cowbell) a fantastic chorus (take a bow Genie) a superb solo(a pickled up Ace) a song that you don’t want to end! What tune could that be? All The Way …Crank it below!
Watchin You another Simmons written track is one of those tunes as when it ends you want to drop the needle on it again. Love that demonic grind of the tempo during the verses as the song just halts at the chorus and ramps back up!
Mainline is a Stanley written tune sung by Criss who always delivered it vocally when he had to on the albums. Always loved that raspy voice of his. Mainline doesn’t rewrite the music history books but is cool never the less.
Ace and Paul team up and write the fantastic Comin Home which believe it or not doesn’t feature a guitar solo! Comin Home is a road song about the dude coming back home to his lady after a long time on the road! Well written track and super-duper catchy chorus driven by the super-duper guitar driving underneath it!
So, if you’re looking for an end of the album GEM look no further than Strange Ways the Frehley written Criss sung track! Ace wallop’s a solo so good on this song it blows my mind to this day at how good it is! That’s the thing that to me makes Ace special when he was back in KISS that he could play his leads so carelessly that they are the some of the best short n sweet solos of all time!
There ya have it Friends. Hotter Than Hell when looked at the big overall picture of KISS product is an album at time’s forgotten about (except for Ladano) but one that still needs to be heard(ask Ladano). Too bad the production was a little umm off on this( what were Producers Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise doing?) as if the sonics had a little more beef on them this would be what I would consider one of the best from KISS!
deKe’s Score of Hotter Than Hell- 8 would have been a 9 but I docked a point because of Kenny and Richie. Nothing personal guys!