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4.2 out of 5 stars24
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 23 January 2007
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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on 13 September 2003
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 December 2008
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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on 12 April 2015
This is my favourite Kiss album. There we go, I said it. It sounds like a guilty secret because it is not well respected by most Kiss fans but in my opinion it has a great variety of sounds with Paul, Gene and Ace all producing quality songs in their own style and complimenting each other perfectly. Despite the title, the band still wore full face paint and the disco sound from Dynasty is still present but the album has quite an 80's sound considering how early it was released. Gene hits a lot of high notes on this album and that's not the only surprise, She's So European is amazingly camp for a song by The Demon himself! As always Paul impresses with all his songs from the catchy Tomorrow to Shandi, which shows his sensitive side. Ace's songs here are amongst his best, with the infectious Talk To Me quickly getting stuck in your head and the innuendo filled Torpedo Girl causing sniggering aplenty! This album shows how versatile Kiss are and how effortlessly they adapted their own style from 70's to 80's while still being true to themselves, making them the greatest rock band of all time.
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on 8 April 2013
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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on 18 March 2001
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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on 3 July 2012
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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on 8 July 2004
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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on 5 March 2016
I've been an on and off Kiss fan since the early eighties and owned the majority of there albums including this one. I never really gave it a chance until a couple of days ago.

I have now listened to it non-stop for 2 days and can happily say it has exceeded any or all expectations.

All of the positive reviews are right but beyond that it's hugely important rock artefact acting as a partial blueprint for the glut of Glam Metal that would follow.

Yes the look came from elsewhere but the pop/rock sound that Poison, Ratt and all adopted came at least in part from here.

It's a shame that Kiss would fail to join the dots for themselves until the much criricized Asylum album, which whilst underrated could never compete with the material that Motley Crue etc had fine tuned by that point.

That said Glam Metal was done and dusted by 1990, Kiss, not so much.
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on 8 June 2015
AFTER THE DYNASTY ALBUM THE YEAR BEFORE KISS CHANGED THEIR STYLE AGAIN WITH THIS POP COLLECTION . AGAIN ANTON FIGG SUBSTITUTED FOR PETER CRISS ON DRUMS . THE DAY THIS ALBUM WAS RELEASED SIMMONS & STANLEY FIRED ANTON FIGG " ALEDGEDLY AFTER PROMISING HIM HE WOULD BE PETER CRISS'S PERMENENT REPLACEMENT " FOR LEGAL REASONS PETER'S FACE WAS PUT ON THE COVER . THE SONGS ARE VERY GOOD " IS THAT YOU / SHANDI / TALK TO ME / 2 SIDES OF THE COIN TO CHOOSE FROM / TORPEDO GIRL / SHE'S SO EUROPEAN / WHAT MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND ECT ECT . THE SONGS ARE A LOT BETTER AND THIS IS A FAR SUPERIOR ALBUM COMPARED TO DYNASTY .
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