KISS – Music From “The Elder”

KISS – Music From “The Elder” [Remastered] (1997, Mercury Records)

Original Release: 1981, Casablanca Records

1. “Fanfare” … 1:21
2. “Just A Boy” … 2:25
3. “Odyssey” …. 5:36
4. “Only You” … 4:17
5. “Under the Rose” … 4:51
6. “Dark Light” … 4:18
7. “A World Without Heroes” … 2:40
8. “The Oath” … 4:31
9. “Mr. Blackwell” … 4:52
10. “Escape from the Island” … 2:52
11. “I” … 5:03

Paul Stanley – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Gene Simmons – Lead Vocals, Bass, Guitar
Ace Frehley – Guitar, Lead Vocals
Eric Carr – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Bob Ezrin – Bass
Allan Schwartzberg – Drums
American Symphony Orchestra – Ensemble

Produced by: Bob Ezrin

Honestly, this is one of my favorite KISS albums. Upon release, it was bashed by fans and critics alike and failed to be a commercial success, but has since found a home in the heart of many KISS fans.

At the time, it definitely wasn’t the album that the band needed. They were losing their hardcore fanbase and Music from ‘The Elder’ was just about the nail in the coffin that the band had been hammering with their disco flirtations from Dynasty and Unmasked. Instead of delivering a killer rock album to show the world and their fans they hadn’t gone soft, they gave the world a fantasy concept album based on a Lord of the Rings-inspired story idea from Gene Simmons.

There was a dual purpose to this release. The first reason was that KISS, instead of playing to and for their slipping fan base, wanted to critic cred. They wanted to be viewed as serious musicians. Secondly, the band also had plans to produce a movie, called The Elder, hence the “Music From” portion of the album’s title. The band brought back successful producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Alice Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare, KISS’ Destroyer) to help construct the album.

Having the perspective of being fresh ears to KISS at the time of buying this, I loved it, and I still do. Yeah, I’m sure if I was old enough at the time of this album’s release (it was released just days after I was born!) and a longtime KISS fan, I probably would’ve hated it at first. But many of those haters have come to respect the album for what it is.

Interest in the album was so poor, this is one of only two KISS album to not go at least Gold (Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions is the other one) and the band didn’t even bother to tour to support it. Oh well, the album was a serious commercial misstep for the band when they really needed to get back to meat-and-potatoes rock, but creatively, it’s enjoyable (though cheesy).

And can you imagine being Eric Carr? His first album with KISS and he has to play these songs and then he’s told they won’t be touring at all because the album tanked! This album was also the ‘final straw’ for Ace.

Highlights: All of it. One of KISS’ strongest albums top to bottom, in my opinion.

Posted on May 9, 2009, in KISS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. The Elder is a great album with great songs made with great sensitivity. Pity that the world of rock at the time was in another direction, and therefore was not successful.

  2. THE ELDER is truly one of the best KISS records out there. Maybe of the film project was produced then the album would have been more successful? There are some great songs on there like ‘The Oath’, ‘Dark Light’, ‘Just a Boy’. I always liked ‘Escape From The Island…..if you put words to that it would be an awesome song.

    You have to understand where KISS was at the time: one new member, changing musical climate, the economy, KISS’ bad business deals that caused them to play everything safe. The band was overblown and overdone…..they had played up to the casual fans and families and the diehards were lost in the shuffle…..they were prime for a meltdown. Didn’t help that Bob Ezrin was doing heavy drugs at the time (or so I’ve read from interviews). It was supposed to be the KISS version of WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE/TOMMY but it just died a slow death. Its the only KISS album that hasn’t reached at least Gold status.

    Heavy Metal Addiction

    • I know they played (or at least tried to play) some of these songs during the KISS conventions, but with many veterans acts playing whole albums as a set list out of sheer boredom, I bet if KISS did the same for this album– it would go over huge with the crowds. Heck, THE ELDER should’ve been the set list for the Symphony album. 😀

      Just about every KISS fan now claims to love this album. Time gives perspective.

  3. Music From The Elders…takes me back to about 12 years old. I must say, I loved this album then and I still do. I’ve gotten rid of most of my Kiss albums over the years, but I’ve always kept this one. I think it has more soul and is amazingly different from some of their other piss poor produced records. As a matter of fact, I have the CD in my truck. If it weren’t for Dynasty and Unmasked and the fruity costumes, this album would have blown everyone away.

    I agree with Metal Misfit “Time gives perspective”

    • I wish they would play stuff live from this one, but Paul addressed the idea of them playing lesser-known songs recently and specifically mentioned this album stating they have an obligation to the fanbase as a whole and not the minority who want obscure songs.

  1. Pingback: Rare KISS videos now on YouTube « Metal Excess

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: