Kiss was undoubtedly at their peak in 1984, indeed from 1982-87 they were the most consistent hard rock/metal outfit in the USA.
Written by: Dangerzone
SERIAL: 822 495-1 M-1
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Paul Stanley – guitars, vocals * Gene Simmons – bass, vocals * Mark St John – guitars * Eric Carr – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 I’ve Had Enough (Into The Fire) * 02 Heavens On Fire * 03 Burn Bitch Burn * 04 Get All You Can Take * 05 Lonely Is The Hunter * 06 Under The Gun * 07 Thrills In The Night * 08 While The City Sleeps * 09 Murder In High Heels
WEBLINKS: Site Link
After removing their makeup in 1983, Kiss found themseleves selling albums and concert tickets again with that years ‘Lick It Up’ album quickly going platinum, a status that had not befallen its predesessors ‘Unmasked’, ‘The Elder’ and the classic ‘Creatures Of The Night’.
Lineup changes were at hand again as Vinnie Vincent was fired due to ‘misconduct’, his place taken by Mark St John. Kiss continued with the heavier direction they had assumed in 1982, but there was an easing of more melodic numbers amongst the more frantic fare. The album was a chart success, top twenty on both sides of the Atlantic, further evidence of Kiss’ rightful decision to shed the makeup.
Kiss were well into the heavy metal phase of their career, reaffirming it with opener ‘I’ve Had Enough (Into The Fire)’ and its heavy riff attack. Stanley’s vocals were approaching peak status, impassioned with the positive lyrical content!
Single ‘Heavens On Fire’ is typical saucy Kiss material, with the raunchy rhythms and lyrics a firm band staple. The memorable hook made it one of 80’s Kiss’ better known hits. Simmons tears it up with ‘Burn Bitch Burn’ which moves menacingly and contains the great line ‘I’m gonna put my log in your fireplace!’
‘Get All You Can Take’ is another ‘stand up for yourself’ anthem, very solid, as is ‘Lonely Is The Hunter’, mid paced, more hard AOR. Perhaps Kiss’ definitive metal statement ‘Under The Gun’ roars through, with plenty of flash from St John (I presume) and a 100 mph backbeat. Live it was unbeatable, leaving the already impressive studio version for dead.
By contrast ‘Thrills In The Night’ is open mouthed AOR, the chorus all dramatics. Melodic as you like, the sound of true professionals. A pair of Simmons tunes caps it off, ‘While The City Sleeps’ and ‘Murder In High Heels’, yet more classy melodic hard rock, and the sound of a band on a roll.
Kiss was undoubtedly at their peak in 1984, indeed from 1982-87 they were the most consistent hard rock/metal outfit in the USA. The music was of the highest order, with barely a wasted track. Material from the live shows on the ‘Animalize’ tour rank as some of the most energetic live performances I’ve heard, with a fire not too many bands could have pulled off.
St John only lasted a few shows before falling victim to Reiters Syndrome. He would reappear later with White Tiger. He was replaced by Bruce Kulick who would last until the original lineup reformed in 1996. You won’t hear many say this, but 80’s Kiss was far superior to the famed 70’s version. They were heavier and more melodic, without relying on the makeup gimmick. ‘Animalize’ testifies to that, a product of a magical few years.
Heaven’s On Fire
Thrills In The Night
Entire Album (Select Tracks)
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[Dangerzone] In retrospect I would no longer suggest 80’s Kiss was superior to the 70’s version, but they were definitely on fire during this period. Everything they did up until Hot in the Shade was uniformly excellent.
[Dave T] The recent release of Nestor’s debut album (review to follow soon) prompted me to revisit Animalize. More on that in the upcoming review.
I share almost every single word on the review. I love this album that seems to not be that generally loved. Save for a couple of Simmons’ songs (that are not that bad to these ears after all), this is first-class material.
Metal, melodic hard rock and AOR plus Stanley at a vocal peak. Simple, direct and catchy melodies. Maybe simpler times, but nonetheless great hooks that have stood the test of time in my opinion.
[PatrickHemming] Not my favorite 80’s KISS album but it’s not Paul’s fault. Stanley brought the goods while Simmons brought something less than his A game.
[Gdazegod] In later years, Gene Simmons revealed that Vinnie Vincent was never a full time member of the band. He never signed a contract and only ever contributed partially to COTN and LIU.