Here’s what I call a Pre-Weekend Spin!
I have my daughter Lauren to thank for this record…
At the end of May, Lauren sent me a text at work asking me for my Fathers Day Gift would I like a book or record as she was putting in an Amazon order.
I told Laurnie that it wasn’t necessary at all but she said to pick something.
Twist my rubber arm!
So I picked Revenge as I have been thinking about this one for a while and since I turned 50 about 2.5 years ago and only started collecting vinyl I’m up to 22 KISS Albums on vinyl! Not bad eh? Out of the 22 KISS albums, 10 are new and 12 are used. So it’s getting there.
Look at that cover which looks like bullet holes in and around the KISS logo on a Metallic something or another. KISS is taking Revenge on who or whom you ask?
KISS in 1992 was at a crossroads. They had a bounceback in attendance back in 1990 at the Hot In The Shade Tour shows.
Then no sooner than that triumph finishes drummer Eric Carr gets diagnosed with Cancer around his heart and sadly passed away in November 1991.
KISS carries on of course and hires Eric Singer who takes over Carr’s drum stool and KISS goes back in the studio with a batch of pretty killer tunes and Bob Ezrin as well returns as Producer.
So when Revenge dropped in May 1992 I bought Revenge and Fear of the Dark by Iron Maiden the same day.
KISS though was at the Crossroads. So was Maiden(that’s a story for another time)
The Music Charts were dominated by Nirvana/Pearl Jam/RHCP and many others in that genre of Alternative and Grunge.
So here’s KISS ditching the bright wardrobe of there mid 80s attire and going for the Heavy Metal look. Look at Gene folks. There he is looking ruff n tuff and sporting a goatee none the less. While Stanley/Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer show off there new hardcore black leather look and Doc Martens!
Part 2- The Songs.
Musically Revenge has KISS wanting to be current. Unholy leads off and it takes 10 seconds of the opening Kulick riff that KISS is not fucking around. A KISS first as well as this opener has Simmons handling the lead vocal which had never been the case on any KISS studio record up to this point as Paul always sang the opener. I wonder how Paul handled that when Ezrin told him that none of his tunes were going to lead off Revenge.
If Unhloy has KISS getting all dirt like grunge style rock on the first track. The second song Take It Off harkens right back to the electrifying 80s when Paul wanted to Uh All Night and Bang Bang You. Musically this song kicks ass, lyrically kinda goofy and that’s where KISS is at the crossroads. They wanted to be rough n tough yet they still wanted to celebrate letting strippers take it off.
If you don’t believe me here’s a live version of Take It Off from 1992. I have video evidence of a band wanting to be rough n tough 92 style yet not wanting to let the 80s go! Scroll to the 3-minute mark…
You got to hand it to Kulick in that live video as once the strippers hit the stage he bolts back by Singers Drums. Smart man that Bruce is as he knows the cameras are rolling!
I Just Wanna as well a great song but lyrically a ton of 80s one-liners throughout.
Stanley is basically having a mid-life crisis on this album. On one hand, he doesn’t want the 80s to end while on the other hand, Starchild wants to be taken somewhat seriously as a songwriter. Heart of Chrome and Tough Love have Paul laying down the gauntlet and moving forward lyrically.
What about Gene you ask. As Unholy proves, Simmons could adapt and move on lyrically yet he too could be trapped in the 80s as well but that old Grunger Demon could do it on the sly with a tune like Domino.
Domino is a great track. I love the video of Gene driving around in a car while the other three KISS guys are at the jam space even at times in the video shows Paul playing the Bass.
Thou Shalt Not has Gene bringing a rough n tough vocal to a really good song. But for me its the tune Paralyzed that Gene who co-wrote this tune with Ezrin may have single-handedly won my fav-o tune on Revenge. What a cool groove SInger lays down and on top of that, Kulick sizzles a great solo as well. As my pal, Geoff Stephen knows, this is what I would call an end of the album “Gem”.
Gene and Paul could both slip into those bad habits on a tune like Spit. Lyrically this is a throwback to anything 80s but as guilty as Gene and Paul are so am I, as I love this kinda stuff.
There I admit it.
The one real knock I have on Revenge is that it’s all fine and dandy that Revenge is KISS telling the world they are Friggin Bad Ass circa 92 but the ballad Everytime I Look At You to me seems like the oddball track here. The big power ballad that KISS was hoping that would sail up the charts like Forever did 2 years earlier did the opposite as Everytime I Look At You sailed straight into an iceberg upon its release as a single and sank.
Carr Jam 81 ends the album which is an Eric Carr track from May 1981 that was originally recorded in Toronto. Carr was a great drummer and this track proves it as features a stellar Carr drum solo. Any KISS fan knows that the music of Carr Jam 81 ended up on the Frehley’s Comet album from 1987 in the form of a tune called Breakout. Carr was credited with Ace on the Comet debut for Breakout but on Revenge Carr is solely credited as its writer.
Gene/Paul/Bruce and Eric all stepped up on this album as KISS brought back there old sparring partner who loves to take Gene and Paul to the courts that is Vinnie Vincent who helped on three tracks while Bob Ezrin had a co-write on 6 of the 12 albums tracks.
Revenge is a great listen from front to back (give or take the ballad if you like that kinda thing). I thought that when I bought it originally back in May 92(on CD) and still feel the same about Revenge in June 2020.
That’s saying something!
Thanks again, Lauren!