Crazy to think that Asylum by KISS is now 35 years old. KISS in the 80s was an interesting time in the KISSTORY of the band.
A quick timeline folk’s leading up to Asylum through the eyes of a 41-year fan that is Me!
Unmasked 1980– A poppier direction by the band as people start to look elsewhere for hard rock in 1980 ie. AC/DC -Judas Priest-Van Halen-RUSH
The Elder 1981– Gene and Paul think they are Pink Floyd and can produce a concept album. They put out The Elder it goes nowhere sales-wise. SS KISS is taking on water. While all this is going on Ace Frehley checks out.
Creatures of the Night 1982– Demon and Starchild ramp up the game back time and put out what many consider the best KISS album or close to it and I agree. At the time though the public wasn’t buying into it and the tour was not selling tickets. Big trouble.
Lick It Up 1983– KISS drop the makeup and the career has an upswing as sales take Lick It Up to Gold status with the help of everyone’s favorite whack job Vinnie Vincent who went nuts and Gene and Paul than punted Vin to the curb.
Animalize 1984– Out goes Vinnie in comes Mark St John for the studio album and for about a show in a half and out Mark goes and in comes Bruce Kulick to finish off the tour and is enlisted as the new guy. The Animalize Tour sold well KISS were back.
So out comes Asylum September 1985 and like many, I was a first-day buyer and why wouldn’t I be? KISS was as the kids say today trending upwards but there was a bump in the road (more on that later).
There were so many albums and magazines I had to keep up on back in 85 it was ridiculous. KISS was always a no brainer purchase.
For some reason Asylum while I thought it was good was not great. I’m talking 1985 terms that is.
10 songs crafted by KISS ( 6 by Stanley. 3 by Simmons and a co-write between them) and a heavy hand in the songwriting department by Desmond Child who co-wrote 5 songs on the album.
So here we are in 2020 and I recently acquired Asylum on vinyl as I wanted to keep adding KISS albums to my vinyl collection.
Hearing this on album again was a decent listen which in some parts surprised me(keep reading) and in some other parts kinda fall a little flat.
Eric Carr, I will add drums his ass off on this album which next to Creatures may be his best-recorded work. Check out opener King of the Mountain and Loves A Deadly Weapon.
New guy Bruce Kulick lays down some good leads on the songs as I’m sure Gene and Paul were breathing down his back. Give Bruce credit he stepped up as well.
Now onto the songs. Gene even though he was producing other bands and dicking around in Hollywood the three solo tracks he came up with here are pretty good. I mean here’s some of Gene’s fine handy work from Any Way You Slice It.
“Why settle for seconds when you can have the best
So let me be your king bee, I want your hornet’s nest”
Simmons, when he wants to put the time and effort into it, can pull some catchy KISS rock with some real cool pre-choruses like Trial By Fire and Secretly Cruel.
Stanley delivers some great tracks. King of the Mountain and the two singles that kind of went nowhere in Who Wants To Be Lonely and Tears Are Falling especially Tears which features some great guitar work.
For all the great tracks that are on this, there is a couple of iffy ones from Paul as well. I’m Alive sounds like Under The Gun from Animalize and other than Carr’s double rubble drumming the song kinda falls flat. Radar For Love skids right off the map as it really goes nowhere with me. The chorus considering Child was in on the co-write does zippo for me as a listener.
Now here’s the SHOCKER.
UH, ALL NIGHT. A song that many know I’m not fond of is when you get into the meat and potatoes of it is a great rock track. The verses are stellar the chorus I find goofy still but the verses are solid gold in a KISS kinda way. I think blogging pal, HMO may have just passed out reading this!
When KISS hit the road in support of Asylum they had to scale back the production three times as tickets weren’t selling as good as the Animalize tour the year before. Finicky market. Give KISS credit they were trying to keep their heads in the game. The tour grossed over 4 million which is a ton of dough whether its 1985 or 2020 but after KISS paid off everything (roadies/travel expenses etc) they grossed $700,000 between them.
UGH, ALL NIGHT!
Asylum over time is a decent spin when the mood hits and I’m glad I got it on vinyl as it ended up being a better revisit than I thought it would be.