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The Dynasty Crumbles...
on 25 June 2006
Dynasty is a curious and somehow fitting name for this album. A Dynasty implies a long line of succession, but usually by the time people start using it it means the end is near. So it was with KISS in 1979 when the album was released. The band had lost their way. The four guys from New York (well, one of Haifa) who set out to create the 'heavy metal Beatles' were now marketing figures and comic book stars. They had a new set of costumes that looked straight out of Walt Disney. And then they went Disco...
The album's opener, I Was Made for Lovin' You is catchy and well written if a little basic. It was the band's biggest hit single but is never thought of as one of their best songs. Nonetheless it opens the album strongly before Frehley's rather weak cover of 2,000 man lets things down a little (although it would sound brilliant when performed Unplugged years later). Sure Know Something is slick, well produced and superb, perhaps the best song on the album but like many others in KISS fine collection, ignored for years live. Dirty Livin' was the only song on the album to feature original drummer Peter Criss (the rest of the tracks featured session musician Anton Figg) and is classic Catman. It's groovy and funky, although too hampered by over laboured production. Gene's offerings to the album were not his best. Both Charisma and X-Ray Eyes were good songs, but Deuce and Calling Dr. Love they were not, lacking bite and menace to go with the character. Ace picks up where his solo albums leaves off with Hard Times and Save you Love the forgotten gems on the record, although clearly they needed someone like Eddie Kramer or Bob Ezrin rather than Vini Poncia at the soundboard to make them sparkle.
Overall there were many fine points to this album. It had a great hit single, some well written songs played well. But as with this album and its successor, it was held back by very over polished production that stripped away some of the hard edge to KISS. Dynasty is still a good record though, although it is sad as it contains many flaws that would prove to be the beginning of the end for KISS as they were. They went off the rails over the next few years and by the time they had woken up they had two new memebers, a new sound and a very different new look!