Kiss served up another classic hard rock album, even if the album was barely over 25 minutes long, with all but two songs under three minutes this is a short, concise rock and roll masterpiece from the band.
Written by: Dangerzone
ALBUM: Dressed To Kill
SERIAL: NBLP 7016
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Paul Stanley – vocals, guitar * Ace Frehley – guitar * Gene Simmons – bass, vocals * Peter Criss – drums, vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Room Service * 02 Two Timer * 03 Ladies In Waiting * 04 Getaway * 05 Rock Bottom * 06 C’mon And Love Me * 07 Anything For My Baby * 08 She * 09 Love Her All I Can * 10 Rock And Roll All Nite
WEBLINKS: Official Site
With ‘Hotter Than Hell’ selling twice as many copies as the debut, Kiss found themselves under pressure to release a follow up in relatively quick time. By quick I mean this was released five months later! Imagining that in this day and age is almost unfathomable.
The band was still fairly unknown however so Neil Bogart the Casablanca owner told the band a new album was needed immediately. With Bogart producing, the band was hurried and has even admitted they were short of ideas in the studio.
It didn’t stop them from serving up another classic hard rock album, even if the album was barely over 25 minutes long. The only real drawback was the heaviness of ‘Hotter Than Hell’ seemed to have disappeared in the process. The production just doesn’t seem to really capture Kiss’ power.
With all but two songs under three minutes this is a short, concise rock and roll masterpiece from the band. ‘Room Service’ sets a good tone, a Paul Stanley special with a ton of energy and a nice main riff at the heart of the track. This is one of early Kiss’ best songs from my vantage point. ‘Two Timer’ has the spirit of the debut in the sound, with excellent harmonies and hooks, but a long way off the bands live heaviness, with Simmons fronting this and the following ‘Ladies In Waiting’, which is slightly rawer.
Criss takes vocals on the frantically paced ‘Getaway’, where the band sounds at home with the quicker tempos. Frehley and Stanley standout with their guitar work here, bruising work that could stand up with the like of Status Quo. The acoustic intro to ‘Rock Bottom’ recalls ‘Black Diamond’ with a similar buildup, but once the band kicks in the song ends too quickly. Again the riffs give this an edge that ‘Hotter Than Hell’ had.
‘C’mon And Love Me’ sounds amazingly tame on vinyl compared to the later live performances, but still ranks as a Kiss classic with its famous chorus. Kiss were masters of keeping rock simple, with ‘Anything For My Baby’ as basic as a melody you could imagine, but works because of it. This is the type of fare which helped catapult them to stardom, so easily accessible.
‘She’ dated back to the days of pre-Kiss band Wicked Lester and became a staple of the bands shows immediately. The heaviest track on the album by a long way, this has the grit of the previous album, more serious in nature, essentially heavy metal. ‘Love Her All I Can’ shows how tight the band were as a unit, with more youthful energy on display, Stanley excelling at these type of faster songs vocally. Frehley belts out an inspired solo and this really is legendary stuff.
Describing ‘Rock And Roll All Nite’ is futile, it’s been heard probably by most people on earth and is easily one of the most famous anthems of all time, although the one heard on the radio is usually the ‘Alive’ version. Personally I’d prefer to never hear it again as it’s been rendered more stale than humanly possible.
Upon release the album sold 150,000 copies initially, a long way from what the band and its management were hoping for, but still on the rise all the same. With the live shows costing so much to run, the band was broke beyond belief though and when the decision was made to release a double live album later that year there was scepticism from many, including the band, but the album of course broke Kiss in a massive way and the struggles of the early years soon became a memory.
As the last in the trip of early albums, ‘Dressed To Kill’ shows a band still clearly a work in progress, but with a passion that somehow became diluted on future albums as stardom and band egos began to cause dissension, affecting the music. A great album from a great band though, which like all the others has weathered time with ease.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)