Monday, July 07, 2008

Kiss - Hotter Than Hell

Long before they got sappy with “Beth”, Kiss was almost an underground metal band that was more closely linked with the New York Dolls than the Top Forty. When I first saw them on In Concert on the early 70’s, I was knocked out! All dressed in leather – none of the spandex/satin they later adopted – breathing fire and spitting blood while wearing outlandish makeup – these were the successors of Alice & the Dolls! And the songs were cool, simple, melodic r’n’r tunes!

A number of the cuts from this, their second record, appeared on the first Kiss Alive! album, such as “Got Too Choose”, “Parasite”, “Hotter Than Hell”, etc. But I think that some of my favorites are the more obscure numbers.

“Goin’ Blind” is about just what you think it would be about and is a minor-key, quite melodic song with one of their most interesting chord progressions ever. This is certainly not “Rock’n’Roll All Night”, but is a well written tune. Of course, Gene is as lecherous as ever with lines like “I’m 93, you’re 16”, but it wouldn’t be Kiss otherwise! Nice lead work from Ace, also.

My other fave from the record is Ace’s “Strange Ways”. This is a ponderous, brontosaurus of a riff that gets your head banging (albeit, somewhat slowly!) and has a fantastic, overdriven, effect-laden solo. Why this didn’t become one of their more famous numbers, I’ll never know.

This is certainly not their best album, but I love the early records and the highlights on this make it essential for Kiss fans!