Tag Archives: Kiss Asylum

KISS: Asylum(1985)

 

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.

3/4’s KISS Filler Week…Kiss/Asylum

Well some of yous by now may be thinking ‘hey Ol DeKEs is ripping on Kiss especially after the Unmasked debacle pretty hard!” Well yes kinda but if you cruise around the site here I have reviewed some Kiss albums….for instance..

Ace Frehleys 78 solo album I absolutley love read it here…https://superdekes.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/sonic-waves-ace-frehleyace-frehley-2/

Kiss Creatures Of The Night which is one of there best albums

Kiss Lick It Up I  like it better now (2015)than its actual release in 1983

Kiss Animalize which is pretty good not as good as Lick It Up but did someone kick Starchild in the nutsack Cuz he’s singing hiiiiiiiigh!

See I like EM and I haven’t even really delved into there 70s output yet so ….

1985 and Kiss Is trying to find its place in the MTV world. There kinda lost they especially  Simmons who looks like a drag Queen with the look so there Ya go. 10 years earlier in 1975 Kiss were trendsetters setting the bar in all things rock with the look,sound,covers,gimmicks and marketing and here they are in 1985 following trends,a glam look,no real gimmick anymore as the greasepaint was dropped 2 years earlier(1983) and everyone and there dog was doing marketing 101 in the rock T shirt business!

Paul Stanley,Gene Simmons,new guy on guitar Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr (RIP)put on some lipstick and Uh All Night!

KING OF THE MOUNTAIN -Eric Carr man he slams the drums with some double bass drumming cymbals smashing and now here comes Kulick,Stanley and Simmons and Paul like he always does takes the lead vocal! This is actually a pretty impressive Kiss opening track. Kiss is saying hey were the old geezers here in good OL 1985 but man we can still kick it! Good start! Crank the video posted !

ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT- Gene begins and goes into his big dumbo Arena Rock. Kulick starts off with a big riff of rock! And it it’s just a straight ahead no frills Rock! I will say this the prechorus is real good but kinda everything else about this track sags but Carr and Kulick step up!

WHO WANTS TO BE LONELY- Yep a single no doubt! Paulie Stanley writes a sign of the times single that in 1985 was a little too obvious for me! I mean the chorus is cheese mo and so is this song I mean while we’re at it. What a goofy album cover. There four mugs glammy makeup 101. Just a year later (1986)Poison puts there four mugs on the cover of there debut album(Look What The Cat Dragged In) and it sold millions…..Kiss was probably pissed! Ha!

TRIAL BY FIRE-Simmons takes the lead vocal on this it’s ok nothing to write home about just glam o glam circa 85 cheese schlock. I mean a part of this track sounds like the rhythm track from Lick It Up for a few bars! Just like Any Way You Slice It the prechorus is real good but everything sags!

I’M ALIVE-Stanley’s Alive ! Woo hoo. Carr punches down some cool drumming and this is another so so song. It’s funny but Kiss is clearly running out of gas! This is like the poor mans version of Under The Gun from Animalize. Carr though keeps the shit together on this song!

LOVES A DEADLY WEAPON- holy hell Kiss punch the gas and come out of the gates a ripping man Eric Carr drives the bus on this one he’s playing like a mad man on the drums smashing them double bass drums. Kulick does all the fancy snazzy whack off dive bombs on his guitar and Gene and his vocals sound mean. It’s like someone woke up the Demon! This song rocks hard and fast and I have no probs saying that! This is a great song! Crank the video!

TEARS ARE FALLING- whoa back 2 back winners …the guitars in this track sound heavy devy and that’s Allright with us shit come to think of it I think this was the last purchase of Kiss product by Tbone  Til 1993 when he bought Kiss Alive 3 on our rock jaunt to Winnipeg to see Beatle Paul in concert that year. Anyhoo Tears is a good song no make that a great track catchy Oh Oh Tears Are Falling and Kulick rocking the geetar and big backing chorus! Great song man……well done Mr Stanley!

SECRETLY CRUEL-the beginning milli second riff reminds me of Mr Speed from Rock Roll Over. This is Simmons feel good song about how women lust over Mr Rockstar! I will give credit though Carr slams down some cowbell during the chorus. This lyrics are Genie Goofy!

RADAR FOR LOVE-Paul takes the reins on this track and man just push skip! It’s just goofy Ummm yeah filler….I’m saying no more!

UH ALL NIGHT-ummm this has to gone down for me as one of THE big dumbo rock anthems of the 80s. Frigg man I thought this song was el dumbo back than as a 18 year old and now ridicoulously dumbo rock as a 47 year old! Having said that the lyrics are what make this song fruity and well the dumb ass video to go with it didn’t help the cause! Now having said that the music is actually good but man oh man. Paul and Kiss cohorts and I shouldn’t even throw Kulick and Carr under the Kiss Cheese Bus as they were salaried employees but yeah heres Gene And Paul morphing Into the Skipper and Gilligan and them crashing the S.S Kiss Destroyer ashore and stranding all us fans on the island!

IN CONCLUSION-who knows what’s going on here with these guys. It makes sense that Tbone would abort ship after this release so to speak so I can’t blame him as I carried on buying Kiss album after Kiss album. This album had some good songs maybe 4 or so but man Eric Carrs drumming is superb on here and just like Creatures Of The Night 3 years earlier Carr steps up with the drums! This was kinda Kulicks first album and I have no quirks with his playing but like i said earlier these guys were salaried dudes so I guess dressing glam and wearing bright green and yellow gloves isn’t all that bad when the next job would be “would you like fries with that sir ?” If they don’t obey Master Simmons and Mr Stanley!