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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kiss' "Unmasked"
1980's "Unmasked" almost always ranks at the bottom of Kiss fans' list, right next to "The Elder." I've always liked this album, especially the Ace Frehley songs. However, there seems to be a new appreciation of this album, almost thirty years after the fact.

No, it's not the typical hard rock Kiss fans came to know and love over the years; it's more closely...
Published on 23 Jan 2007 by James Choma

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good second disco effort
After the genre-bending success of "Dynasty", KISSes disco onslaught continued with "Unmasked" the following year. This album is notable in that it is the first to not feature original drummer Peter Criss, the more competent session drummer Anton Fig taking the drum stool for this album.
In contrast to the more drawn out, compact sound of "Dynasty", the songs on...
Published on 8 July 2004 by jamesfranklin22


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good second disco effort, 8 July 2004
This review is from: Unmasked (Audio CD)
After the genre-bending success of "Dynasty", KISSes disco onslaught continued with "Unmasked" the following year. This album is notable in that it is the first to not feature original drummer Peter Criss, the more competent session drummer Anton Fig taking the drum stool for this album.
In contrast to the more drawn out, compact sound of "Dynasty", the songs on this album were by lengths shorter and more diverse in their style. Paul Stanley shines on the strutting pop rock of "Is that you?" and the crooning balladry of "Shandi", showing he is quite at home with this new image and sound. Other pop gems like "What makes the world go round" and "Tomorrow" prove, perhaps more than on any other album, the Starchilds fine ability to write bona fide pop songs. Only the faux-funk of "Easy as it Seems" fails to impress here.
Gene Simmons's efforts are also suitably tuned in to the bands new sound. "Shes so European" is a synth laden number thats in truth more Stanley than Simmons, and the last song "You're all that I want" is a lovely pop song, that shows the demons mellow side more ably than any song on his solo album. But it is the moody atmospherics of "Naked City" that is Simmons' finest moment here, being a blend of powerful riffery, new found pop sensibilities and a rarely seen maturity, that is similar in tone to "Charisma" and "X-Ray Eyes" off "Dynasty."
Following the departure of Peter Criss, lead guitarist Ace Frehley attmepts to fill the void by contributing more of his own material than on any other KISS album. "Talk to me" and "Two sides of the coin" both show that even the hard rocking Space Ace has been mellowed by producer Vini Poncias shiny pop production, though "Torpedo Girl" is a ridiculous funk number, not helped by its comical nautical overtones and cries of "Get your feet wet!", being all-in-all the most ridiculous song Frehely has ever contributed to KISS.
Although this album will never stand as one of KISSes finest, it possesses a certain charm that many later albums lacked, and shows the highlights of Paul Stanleys pop song writing nous. Even if it isn't essential, its definitely worth a look in for the discerning KISS fan.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kiss' "Unmasked", 23 Jan 2007
This review is from: Unmasked (Audio CD)
1980's "Unmasked" almost always ranks at the bottom of Kiss fans' list, right next to "The Elder." I've always liked this album, especially the Ace Frehley songs. However, there seems to be a new appreciation of this album, almost thirty years after the fact.

No, it's not the typical hard rock Kiss fans came to know and love over the years; it's more closely linked to 1979's "Dynasty," and showed the band struggling to retain the momentum from "I Was Made For Loving You," their biggest international hit to date (keyword: international). Yet they focused more on the rock tunes than the disco with this album.

With "Unmasked" Kiss delivered more of a pop oriented album, yet there's still personality to it. By that, I mean it's got the Kiss sound that's missing on most of the later 80's albums. When Kiss tried the pop direction again with 1987's "Crazy Nights," they checked their identity at the door and tied to be Michael Bolton, Foreigner, Bon Jovi... fill in the blank. Maybe it's having that third person (Ace) there to lend a different sound, but to me, it works. It also worked for fans in Austrialia who made is Kiss' biggest selling record in that country.

Paul's songs ("Is That You?", "Shandi," "Tomorrow," and "Easy as it Seems") dip into hard rock, soft rock, and disco. I particularly like "Tomorrow."

Gene's tunes ("Naked City," "She's So European," and "You're All That I Want") lean more towards soft rock, with "She's So European" being the best of the three.

Ace's songs ("Talk to Me," "Two Sides of the Coin," and "Torpedo Girl") are the best -- and most fun -- on the album.

If there is a problem with the album, it's the comic book cover with the reporter claiming that "Kiss still sucks." Not good PR, and not a good cover. The poster that was inside with the band removing their masks, only to reveal the same masked faces beneath would have been the better choice.

Grade: B
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars unmasked? de-clawed more like!!, 26 Dec 2008
By 
Mr Blackwell (scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Unmasked (Audio CD)
While its easy to dismiss this disc due to its appalling production nuetering some fantastic songs,this album is worthy of your attention,why? - because its the last album from kiss to still have some humour,Ace's songs 2 sides' and torpedo girl never fail to bring a smile,stanley's songs had the production been similar to his solo album would have rocked your world and despite that shandi is still a bona fide classic,ask the aussies,tomorrow could have been a legend,simmons despite continually critisicing this disc,has some fine songs naked city for example and shows of his bass skills,something often overlooked,again as with dynasty this disc wasnt fully explored in the live arena,unbelievably your all that i want was played,tommorrow and what makes the world go round surely would have been better!!! still buy and give it a chance
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'Two sides of the Coin', quite literally, 22 Jun 2006
By 
Mr. A. E. Hall "brother_of_sadako" (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Unmasked (Audio CD)
Two Sides of the Coin sums up KISS first album of the 1980s. Not in it's melody or theme but in that one line. Unmasked is a curious mix of the brilliant and the awful.

On the bright side, it features some superb and well written songs. Shandi is sweet, poppy but very good. Naked City remains one of the best songs the band ever wrote but never received recognition, and others such as Tomorrow, Easy as it Seems and Talk to Me are also very good songs. The problems was the production, which ruined the whole album. After going disco to an extent on 1979's Dynasty, the band went on an all out pop attack with Vini Poncia at the helm for Unmasked. Starnge for a band who started spititng blood and breathing fire in 'sleazy prostitute hotels' but true. One only has to compare the encouraging but slightly limp Talk to Me to it's live version to hear what the album lacked - teeth! The keyboards that supplemented the work on the previous album dominate and the guitars sound like they had daisy chains for strings. The production changed the songwriting as well, with tracks like She's so European and Torpedo Girl smacking of radio friendly pop.

Unmasked standouts in KISS collection as a curious entity. Several finely written potential Klassics spoiled by being over polished in production. That being said, the above songs are excellent (especially Naked City), and despite their mistaken direction and some truly dismal songs (Torpedo Girl and You're all that I want in particular) it is still worth a listen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kiss in Under-rated Classic, 13 Sep 2003
This review is from: Unmasked (Audio CD)
Much derided by rock fans, this album, along with its predecessor (Dynasty) stand up well today as examples of great pop rock from the late 70's. Gene Simmons was still capable of producing good songs prior to some of the dross written during his eighties film star period. The Paul Stanley songs are up to the usual high standard, with "Tomorrow" and "What Makes The World Go 'Round" and even Ace Frehley contributes with some of his best songs in "Two Sides of the Coin" and "Torpedo Girl", the latter peaking with a camp invitation from the band to "..come on get your feet wet". A different type of album from their hey-day classics, but one which should have set them up for the new decade ahead.........however next came "The Elder" and it was downhill from there. Buy along with Dynasty and enjoy Kiss at their most commercial and consistant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a dark horse, 18 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Unmasked (Audio CD)
This is a vastly underatted kiss album. While not being as rocking as some of their earlier material it does contain some brilliant songs. Ace Frehleys Two sides of the coin and talk to me instatly come to mind. While Gene's She's so European and Naked city are great rock songs.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Songs, Shame About The Production, 17 Dec 2002
This review is from: Unmasked (Audio CD)
On their previous effort 'Dynasty' KISS went disco. The problem was with the exception of 3 songs ( I Was Made For Lovin' You, 2000 Man & Sure Know Something ) the material was quite weak. For 'Unmasked' KISS wrote much better songs with great melody, and improved lyrics. Orginally they recorded them in a rock way, and they apparently sounded quite heavy. But KISS chasing the quick buck decided to again try and profit on the massive disco scene in the US at the beginning of the 80's. That's the problem with this album. It has keyboards all over it, the guitars sound like guitars on a Michael Jackson album. Frehley Simmons & Stanley were writing well, infact Frehley's "Talk To Me" & "Two Sides of The Coin" suggest he was the best songwriter at this point. It didn't seem to matter as he was booted out within 2 years for not agreeing with Simmons & Stanley's vision of KISS for the 80's. Thing is he was probably right and while Peter Criss was replaced by argubly a much more talented drummer in Eric Carr, Frehley would never be replaced. Buy this album as the songs are fine and just try and ignore the disco influence.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE TOP KISS ALBUMS, 8 April 2013
This review is from: Unmasked (Audio CD)
THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST KISS ALBUMS .
IT HAS A POP ROCK SOUND AND IS THE 2 ND ALBUM TO FEATURE DRUMMER ANTON FIGG.
WHY KISS DIDN'T LET ANTON FIGG STAY I'LL NEVER KNOW HE WAS JUST A STAND IN WHILE THEY FOUND PETER CRISS REPLACEMENT ERIC CARR. PETER CRISS IS PICTURED ON THE ALBUM COVER AND APPEARS IN THE SHANDI VIDEO. BUT DIDN'T CONTRIBUTE TO THE ALBUM . THEIR WERE SOME LEGAL ISSUES THAT STOPPED ANTON FIGG BEING CREDITED TO THIS ALBUM . WHEN KISS TOURED IN 1980 TO PROMOTE THIS ALBUM ERIC CARR WAS BEHIND THE DRUM KITT AND STAYED WITH THE BAND TILL HIS DEATH IN 1991 R.I.P.
THE MUSIC ON THIS ALBUM IS EXCELLENT + SO ARE THE LYRICS - IT'S A CLASSIC KISS ALBUM AND BETTER THAN THE DYNASTY ALBUM AND STILL SOUNDS GREAT 33 YEARS LATER - ENJOY
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5.0 out of 5 stars More pop than rock, 15 Nov 2012
This review is from: Unmasked (Audio CD)
This is one of my favourite KISS albums. My favourite is Destroyer, but this is a completely different sound. It gets boring when all albums sound the same.
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4.0 out of 5 stars very good pop effort from a hard rock outfit., 3 July 2012
By 
Michael Dobey (colorado springs) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Unmasked (Audio CD)
This album almost destroyed kiss back in 1980. It was actually a very good pop album with some great pop songs on it. This is kind of disc that a band might release during a good year as their 'pure pop disc"
meanwhile they would have a solid hard rocking album around. That didn't happen and many kiss fans were not very happy. The album deserved to have some good hit singles and it did because the song "shandi' was a hit single around the world and 'talk to me' was a top ten hit in switzerlamd. The songs here are well crafted and very entertaining guitar pop. But this was a brutal comedown because the band needed a hard rock disc at this point. The cover too was hideous and a idiotic idea with it's put down aspect. This cd though is not hideous it's a good pop disc and that's worth buying if you like poptwo if you want to hear kiss do pure pop. Pop music is often quite good, but kiss couldn't afford to release this and NOT have a hard rock disc in the same year. They lost their mission statement and were off in self indulgent experimentation land. But if you are a hard rock band you don't want to do this without having music out that appeases and teases the fan base. Some of these songs however like 'torpedo girl" and 'she's so europeon" , and 'shandi' are fantastic songs and worth enjoying as great kiss songs from any disc. The rest are ok and I can now listen to this and just smile at the good pop.
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