Top critical review
7 people found this helpful
KISS' Great Folley has its Moments
on 25 June 2006
(Music From) the Elder has divided KISS fans for a quarter of a century. Some dispise the records as being silly, misguided or just plain awful. Others see it as KISS showing a more serious side to complement their simplistic bombast of the 1970s, while other (like myself) see a bit of both.
The album has numerous moments of brilliance. Under the Rose is perhaps their best kept secret, dark, compelling, mystical, Gene sings the song with real force. A complete departure from anything the band had ever done before, it was a magnificent song. World Without Heroes shows Gene in fine form again with a sad, mournful theme, wonderful lyrics that hit home with real resonance and a fantastic guitar solo. The other real standout of the album is the final track, simply titled 'I'. It is classic KISS, heavy, anthemic, fist pumping rock 'n' roll. Only the outro of the song, with its referrences to the concept of the album tie it in with the rest of the songs. Bizarrely, it is ignored by the band live, despite being not only in the same vein as their classic 1970s output but also much betetr than a lot of it. Then we come to the low points on the album. Most of them centre around Paul Stanley who took to the concept like a fish out of water, usually a fish singing falsetto. Just a Boy seems to be picking up and developing into a strong song until the Star Child croons into the heavens to ruin it. The same happens with the Oath, spoilled by Stanley's shrill shrieking. He even manages to ruin the half decent Only You. Dark Light is the last track Ace Frehley recorded with the band but is well below his previous offerings. Fanfare and Escape from the Island are decent instrumental pieces but are nothing special. And others such as Odyssey and Mr Blackwell could suck a football through a hosepipe.
There clearly was some talent floating around the studio when this album was recorded. Unfortunately producer Bob Ezrin tried to turn KISS into something they were not and misdirecdted the work. It has some awesome moments, but is let down by far too many poor ones. Nonetheless it is worth buying for those strong moments alone.