KISS: Hotter Than Hell (1974)


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…



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!


32 thoughts on “KISS: Hotter Than Hell (1974)”

  1. Nothing like starting the day with a Kiss review. This does have some great songs on it. I haven’t spun it in awhile and I won’t as Whitesnake Slide it In is consuming my time at the moment…but after…yes, I will revisit this one.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A 7 disc Snake set will indeed take up time John!
      It was fun digging back into this album. Man the crazy thing was i never heard it on vinyl. Only Cassette and CD. Its nice to finally own a copy of it..
      One solid track after another on this album..
      I love KISS being broke….they went for it!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Joe. Thanks for reading even though you can’t really handle KISS…haha
      But the first three studio and even the first KISS Alive(until it was released) these guys were broke an going for it!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a real solid team effort on Hotter Than Hell.It’s amazing how quickly the team effort disintegrated for these guys yet they kept a lid on it till 1980 when Pete took a walk!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wanna say that they did play All the Way with Tommy. I believe it is on one of the few Kiss CDs I am missing — the 3″ CD that came in Japan with Rock the Nation.

    Great writeup Deke. Possibly the worst sounding rock album of all time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mikey..
      Well that is cool they had played it with Thayer. For the worst sounding album of all time it spawned a bunch of classic tracks.
      I enjoyed the revisit of this album….on vinyl!


    1. Thanks J..two more KISS reviews coming up! One that is 1900 words long….haha…
      Better pour yourself a coffee for that read!
      This album is quite good. Too bad the same cannot be said about the production!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Listening just now. Production isn’t great, no. Very patchy. Got to Choose felt like a grudge through the marsh and Hotter than Hell is horrible. Good tune, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Dang tuff one for ya …
        Grudge through the Marsh! hahaha..
        I really wonder what went brought here minds when they heard it outside a studio for the first time?
        Gene back than could not sue everyone like he can now..haha

        Liked by 1 person

      3. For sure J…they must have been bummed except for Ace who was in another dimension at the time…haha
        True story he almost drowned in his bathtub in hotel while recording HTH!
        If my memory serves me correctly I think Simmons saved his drunk ass…

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Heard it in Spotify. I now know why I didn’t like it back in the 80s because it had too much of that 70s vibe and at the time in the 80s I was looking for more melody.
        It’s a different listen today as I’m not really biased towards the 80s sound.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I like it for the fact that it sounds like KISS jamming and just going for it. Which is something that they kinda gave up on certain albums back in the mid to late 80’s

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Scott!
      Great call on this and Born Again sounding less than stellar… and they are two of Mikey’s favourite albums…haha
      Guess he likes Bad Audio Arse…hahaha
      StangeWays is just a mind-blowing track! Ace delivered always on those early albums…
      Destroyer is up next on Friday!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice review of a great album. Always loved the cover art, too. Been really busy lately. Had to stay out of the blogosphere for a while. Hopefully things will start to settle in a couple weeks, after I finish all my projects. Hope things are good up there. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jeff! I’m doing well and no worries about being busy! Life does indeed get that way at times…
      HTH is a cool album. Funky art as well…Thanks for digging my words!
      Hope you and your family are doing well!

      Liked by 1 person

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