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Kiss
Casablanca 9001
Released: February 1974
Chart Peak: #87
Weeks Charted: 23
Certified Gold: 6/8/77

Kiss is an exciting NYC-based band with an imaginative stage presentation and a tight new album. The music is all hard-edged -- they call it "thunderock" -- and throughout their electrical storm solid craftsmanship prevails. Paul Stanley's rhythm guitar is the star of the proceedings, barking out the coarse chord patterns that comprise the foundation of the band's material. Gene Simmons can thus provide an extra dimension to the band's music by playing fluid bass patterns (especially on "Cold Gin") and Peter Criss contributes impressive drumming marked by Keith Moon's power and proficiency.

Kiss - Kiss
Original album advertising art.
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"Nothing To Lose," "Firehouse" and "Cold Gin" -- a Side One trilogy that would make Alice Cooper proud -- provides over ten minutes of steady, stompin' rock & roll with an all-enveloping forcefulness. The manic "Deuce" makes fine music for crushing skulls and "Strutter" prominently displays the lead guitar talents of Ace Frehley, an unmistakable graduate of the Buck Dharma school of frantic fretting.

An exceptional album, Kiss could have been even better had the group incorporated more of their concert sound into the recording studio. Onstage they rain a Black Sabbath-like fury, but there they sound more like a cross between Deep Purple and the Doobie Brothers. Though Frehley is an integral component of the stage show, here his guitar is used sparingly, particularly on "Cold Gin," where a solo could've propelled the tune to a higher plateau. A firm commitment to their state sound (as in "Deuce" and portions of "Black Diamond") could well insure excellence -- a course worth pursuing.

- Gordon Fletcher, Rolling Stone, 4-11-74.

Bonus Reviews!

They dress like Walt Disney out-takes (one of them looks like a mutated Mickey Mouse), they outglitter the glitter-rockers and they're from the same town that spawned the Dolls on us. Phew! They play rock. They play loud. Surprisingly enough, they are not that bad. Only non-existent.

- Ed Naha, Circus, 6/74.

Compared to their later albums, Kiss' self-titled debut is a raw, riveting dose of heavy metal. At the time of its recording, the group was still working out its sound, trying to develop their loud, lumbering guitar riffs into sleek, melodic heavy hooks. Kiss only succeeds in streamlining their bombast on a couple of tracks -- "Deuce," "Black Diamond," "Firehouse," "Strutter" -- but the rest of the record sounds vigorous and forceful, making up for their lapses in songwriting quality. * * * *

- Stephen Thomas Erlewine, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

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