Back in 1976 I started my metal journey that has lasted, well a long time, with my purchase of “Destroyer” on vinyl from the local Woolworth department store in Ft. Madison, Iowa. On the same day I somehow convinced my even younger brother to spend his allowance on KISS “Alive” so for me things were set in stone from that point on. This vinyl has long since gone, so I am left with remasters until, well now. The original producer Bob Ezrin, pulled the master tapes and the rest is KISS-tory we might say. Ken Kelly the original artists for the cover even talks about how his initial concept was rejected by then, Casablanca Records, for its depiction of violence, which by today’s standards is laughable but it was a different time in 76 you might say.
So what if any appeal is there to Mr. Ezrin pulling out those old dusty must tapes and giving it another go? KISS is not going to break any new ground here for sure, but to the millions of fans (I may go out on a limb and say millions but I have a strong feeling that there are still millions of us out there today) it becomes a nostalgic trip down memory lane of times and music of the past. We know all the words, every beat played by Peter, all of Ace’s riffs, we know both of Gene and Paul‘s vocal parts, in short its just damn fun! For the die hard fans like myself, it’s a great game to remember back to 1976 and try to compare the new stuff versus what was originally released. There are some wonderful nuisances and certainly loads of extra tweaks and clarity compared to what I remember.
At times like this I wish I was an audio engineer to add the right words but alas I chose the road of science and those adjective don’t really apply in this situation. All I can say is that there is a great sound quality and clarity in this release. He has done a top notch job at working his magic on spinning and pushing whatever knobs and buttons produces this magic. The real honey hole (that’s an expression from Iowa what can I say) is the Mr. Ezrin included the original guitar solo for ‘Sweet Pain’, and for a die hard fan to hear “original” Ace work is what we live for as KISS fans. The solo is solid work that any fan of Ace would expect.
This release for me personally, is exceptional, for many reasons some that have to do with music and some that don’t. Just imagine 35 years from now Mark Morton pulls out his master tapes, and lets loose with his original solo on Grace that includes even more sweep pick thingys for us to marvel at or if that doesn’t work insert current favorite work and imagine. Look the music is solid, it’s a landmark album, its early KISS, it’s fun, it’s packed with power riffs, sexualized lyrics, in short its got it all. This is a must for die hard fans of the band, and to all newcomers this is a great place to discover some classic American roots of metal. Not all roots but certainly a branch or two of great importance.