These are my people, and this is my crowd.
Whatever your feelings towards the band, Kiss are huge. Perhaps not as huge as they once were, and I'll even concede that a lot of the popularity runs in the form of nostalgia. However the band have always understood the power of promotion and going back 30 years there were not a lot of things that weren't branded with the four members, decked out in their familiar outfits and face paints. If you allow me to be brutally honest there were times when the whole hysteria of the band through spectacular live performance with pyrotechnics, masked mystique, constant merchandise releases, and adorned female followers, made the legend of the band better than some of the music they were making. Don't misunderstand me here, Kiss have brought us some great Rock anthems over the past 40 years, but on the flipside are the misfiring duds. For example, for every Rock And Roll All Nite you get a I Was Made For Lovin' You. On this same basis through my own personal nostalgia the whole album, Crazy Nights will always have a special place in my heart, whilst most will favour the better offerings of Destroyer, and/or Love Gun. This legendary band have been around since 1973, producing 20 studio albums, selling millions of albums and almost catching thousands of theatres on fire.
First song and single, Hell Or Hallelujah has classic Metal riffs and a sound that is straight out of the 1980's, in fact it could have come from Motley Crue's Shout At The Devil LP. However before you start thinking that the band are just going to live on past glories then there is the more up-to-date Hard Rock of Wall Of Sound, and the delicious mid-tempo Rock of Freak that is catchy and has the ability to gain the band a whole new generation of fans. However, it is a track like the Heavy Rock anthem Back To The Stone Age that pumps fists along with the thumping drumbeats.
For surprises on this offering you need look no further than Outta This World - guitarist Tommy Thayer sings this song about his 'Spaceman' character, and then later long-term Drummer Eric Singer sings the Rhythm & Blues-esque All For The Love Of Rock & Roll, that brings together classic Rock & Roll riffs, cowbell beats, backing singers in the chorus, and an altogether memorably and catchy song that is one of my favourites here. Elsewhere, Shout Mercy could've come off one of the 70's albums, and Eat Your Heart Out has that great Hard Rock & Roll sound of the early 1990's, again with the AC/DC drum beat and huge dripping riffs, and I have to mention the distinctive deep reverberation of Gene Simmons' bass that doesn't hang back holding hands with the drumbeat, but thrusts forward vying for the limelight alongside the guitar.
Long Way Down rumbles along with little impact, whereas The Devil Is Me sounds like Black Sabbath and Led zeppelin have come in for a jam, before the big fat bass line of Take Me Down Below provides the double-entendre tongue-in-cheek humour with sexual undertones. Then there is the fantastic Last Chance that hollers out, providing a track that you can envisage thousands of fans shouting back to the band. We also get a bonus track at the end which deserves to be on every version of this album and not selected versions - this never happened in the days when there was only vinyl released!
Kiss are Classic Rock, but with Monster this doesn't play out like a Classic Rock album. Kiss have never been afraid to turn their hand at a new genre (I am glad that the band's quiet years were around the Nu-Metal explosion or else things may have turned out very differently for the band). The band have taken elements of what makes a good Rock album without it sounding like an 80's revival album. There is nothing ground-breaking here, but why should they bust-a-gut trying to reinvent themselves? Guns'N'Roses did that and whilst Chinese Democracy was a critically acclaimed album, with basically a new line up and complete change in music, it has been questioned whether the band should've gone under a new name. Kiss have not fallen into this trap. Monster takes the band forward and I would think will sell well throughout not just Detroit, and America, but throughout the whole of the rocking world! Yeah!