Simply put this is the best Kiss album since ‘Crazy Nights’, not that there have been many since then.
Written by: Dangerzone
ALBUM: Sonic Boom
LABEL: Self Released
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Paul Stanley – vocals, guitar; Gene Simmons – bass, vocals; Tommy Thayer – guitar, vocals; Eric Singer – drums, vocals
TRACK LISTING: Disc 1: 01 Modern Day Delilah * 02 Russian Roulette * 03 Never Enough * 04 Yes I Know (Nobodys Perfect) * 05 Stand * 06 Hot And Cold * 07 All For The Glory * 08 Danger Us * 09 I’m An Animal * 10 When Lightning Strikes * 11 Say Yeah
Disc 2 (Kiss Klassiks): 01 Deuce * 02 Detroit Rock City * 03 Shout It Loud * 04 Hotter Than Hell * 05 Calling Dr Love * 06 Love Gun * 07 I Was Made For Loving You * 08 Heavens On Fire * 09 Lick It Up * 10 I Love It Loud * 11 Forever * 12 Christine Sixteen * 13 Do You Love Me * 14 Black Diamond * 15 Rock And Roll All Nite
Disc 3 (Live DVD): 01 Deuce * 02 Hotter Than Hell * 03 C Mon And Love Me * 04 Watchin’ You * 05 100,000 Years * 06 Rock And Roll All Nite
WEBLINKS: Site Link
At various points over the last decade or so Gene Simmons said there was no market for a new Kiss album and based on the sales of many veteran rock acts he may have been right. But obviously Simmons saw the impact of albums by bands like the Eagles, Journey and AC/DC through Wal-Mart and decided the market may be there after all and based on the strength of ‘Sonic Boom’, their first studio album since 1998 he might be on the ball.
Simply put this is the best Kiss album since ‘Crazy Nights’, not that there have been many since then, but the hard rock resurgence that failed them on ‘Revenge’ and ‘Psycho Circus’ succeeds here with the band capturing the urgency and heaviness of their classic 70’s and 80’s work. It isn’t a return to the sound of ‘Rock and Roll Over’ like Simmons claimed, but that isn’t a bad thing, rather the band capturing shades of all their era’s and to maximum effect.
The criticism of Singer and Thayer in the band is groundless, Singer having been around in some shape or form since 1991 and Thayer since 2002. Who cares if they wear the ex-members face paint? Does it matter in 2009?
‘Modern Day Delilah’ is the now familiar lead single and sees the band reverting back to their mid 80’s days, circa ‘Asylum’, bordering on heavy AOR. The chorus is what immediately sticks out, instantly appealing and it’s good to hear Stanley in fine voice and the band playing straight down the line hard rock again without pretension.
Simmons delivers the heavy handed ‘Russian Roulette’, which sounds like it came straight from ‘Animalize’, think ‘Murder In High Heels’, which is a masterstroke in my opinion. Another fantastic hook which leaves me wondering what inspired these guys here. ‘Never Enough’ is supposed to evoke the bands 70’s party rock best, but it sounds like Poison‘s ‘Nothing But A Good Time’ until the chorus hits. Passable at best.
Simmons barks out ‘Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect)’ like it’s 1976 and this is to me is rock at its best, simple and uncluttered with raunchy lyrics and only three minutes long.
A typical life reaffirming rocker appears with ‘Stand’, with a victorious hook and vocals shared by Simmons and Stanley. Similar to the material off ‘Psycho Circus’ and if the chorus doesn’t move you then something’s terribly wrong. ‘Hot and Cold’ is another throwback to the 70’s in spirit, but it had me thinking of ‘Hot In The Shade’ only more catchy than that often dismal affair.
Eric Singer gets in on the act, assuming lead vocals for ‘All For The Glory’, sounding uncannily like Peter Criss. This sounds like 1989 all over again, as if the last 20 years never happened, such is the 80’s melody running through it. Thayer’s lead guitar work is fantastic it has to be said, the same applying to the whole album.
Stanley hits gold on the vintage hard rock of ‘Danger Us’, which takes its riff cues from ‘Deuce’, but melodically this is all 80’s and the hook is the best of the album. It helps the band is back to the double entendre sexist lyrics, helping this immediate classic further. Simmons turns back time with ‘Im An Animal’, a savage rocker in every respect, revisiting the sound which made ‘War Machine’ so legendary.
Thayer meanwhile isn’t left out of the running, providing lead vocals for ‘When Lightning Strikes’, a brilliant anthem only the likes of Kiss are capable of producing. There’s an AC/DC tinge to the guitar work and riffs, but I’ll be honest, this makes a mockery of ‘Black Ice’. ‘Say Yeah’ tries again to conjure up the 70’s, with varying success but inevitably it is more 80’s than anything and I’m sure nobody is complaining.
For no frills, basic good time hard rock, this is one of the best displays of the decade. Kiss haven’t made any references to anything popular and wisely have stuck to their strengths, sounding more like Kiss than they did on ‘Psycho Circus’.
The band is focused on providing choruses and riffs that aren’t forgotten after one listen and this is the heaviest they have sounded in a good while. I don’t think ‘Revenge’ was the album where they rediscovered their touch, this is, a good 17 years later.
This deserves the sales of the mentioned bands earlier, and with the profile Kiss enjoy they just might, especially with the extra CD and DVD. But those are irrelevant compared to the new album which is the real attraction after all.
Modern Day Delilah
Entire Album – Disc 1(Select Tracks)
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[bpdp3] I feel like I’ve commented on this somewhere before… but Van Stephenson had a fair hit on mtv with a song called ‘modern day Delilah’.
The two songs are different; it’s just odd to me since it’s a fairly specific title!
[Dave T] I really don’t know why they didn’t release the full concert on the DVD.
It was live in Buenos Aires, April 5 2009, River Plate Stadium, Alive! 35 Tour. Professionally filmed, it’s available in YT.
I was there, the band was on fire on their last tour with Paul in full voice. Funny how, during Deuce, Gene wrongly addressed the audience as Santiago! (Chile). Paul corrected him right away, yelling ‘Buenos Aires’ a couple of times on the same song.
I also consider ‘Sonic Boom’ a great album, and agree with your description. I still enjoy it nowadays without skipping any songs, one of my favorite albums of the decade.
[PatrickHemming] One of my Top 10 KISS albums, better IMO than the follow up, Monster. Their musical styles from the 70’s & 80’s r equally represented here. The only thing missing is one of the ballads KISS can pull off in their sleep that are as good as any of the power ballads from their competitors in the 80’s & very early 90’s.