...but is it a monster success or a frankenstein failure?,thankfully its not the latter but it may not be the former either,having had this for a few days and after several listens,i'm not convinced it will be(ultimately) regarded as better than SONIC BOOM.As usual with Kiss its a pot pourri of re hashed riffs and licks paying homage to the likes of Humble Pie/Zeppelin/Stones etc and on occassion themselves.
Where Sonic Boom ,(for me), scores higher,it was much more cohesive and yes commercial,the tracks were mostly instant hits and stuck with you.This disc on the other hand has a more constricted soundscape,most tracks less instant,not as immediate in the sing along, stick in your head ethos,which may pay dividends eventually,right now i'm not quite sure.
As with the previous disc,this has a great opening one,two, with lead off single 'Hell Or Hallelujah' storming out the speakers with its riff reminiscent of 'I Stole Your Love' which they based on Purple's 'Burn', Gene's short but sweet 'Wall of Sound' follows along perfectly.
There are a couple of standouts namely Tommy Thayer's 'Out Of This World' which is arguably the best track on the album(although why he had to sing about that 'theme',the haters will have a field day,talk about setting yourself up),maybe he should be allowed more tracks in future,'Stanley's 'Long Way Down' with its 'Yardbirds influenced guitar? is another high point,while Eric's moment 'All For The Love...' has a great groove and could have been written for the original Catman circa 75/76, although its disapointing to note that it appears to be similar to a track with the same title from little known band the Tuff Darts,check it out on you tube,see what you think.
As for the rest well their all pretty heavy,none that really stand out from the crowd, 'Freak' im just not getting into while 'Back To The Stone Age' is a fairly average Gene plodder rescued by a superb Tommy guitar solo.In time they may grow to be favourites just now they are ok for the most part, a couple of the others 'Last Chance' and 'Eat Your Heart Out' with their AC/DC like gang vocals may burrow into your head after a while.
Overall this is a decent album,well played,its certainly Tommy Thayer's album,he co wrote ten tracks and holds it all together with some superb guitar playing,he's definitely the star of the show,its probably more 'REVENGE' than it is 'LOVE GUN or ROCK N ROLL OVER',im ok with that,there's never really been a definitive KISS sound,they've always recycled,borrowed what they could.
My initial thoughts were this was a 3 star disc,i'm leaning towards 4 stars after repeated listens,if 'SONIC BOOM' was a blast,then 'MONSTER' is the after shock,not quite as strong but will ripple away in the background and may ultimately prove to be more more effective