KISS – Sonic Boom

KISS – Sonic Boom (2009, KISS Records)

Sonic Boom
1. “Modern Day Delilah” … 3:37
2. “Russian Roulette” … 4:33
3. “Never Enough” … 3:27
4. “Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect)” … 3:02
5. “Stand” … 4:51
6. “Hot And Cold” … 3:36
7. “All For The Glory” … 3:50
8. “Danger Us” … 4:22
9. “I’m An Animal” … 3:48
10. “When Lightning Strikes” … 3:45
11. “Say Yeah” … 4:27

BONUS CD: KISS Klassics
1. “Deuce” … 3:08
2. “Detroit Rock City” … 3:57
3. “Shout It Out Loud” … 2:54
4. “Hotter Than Hell” … 3:10
5. “Calling Dr. Love” … 3:26
6. “Love Gun” … 3:14
7. “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” … 4:42
8. “Heaven’s On Fire” … 3:24
9. “Lick It Up” … 3:56
10. “I Love It Loud” … 4:09
11. “Forever” … 3:53
12. “Christine Sixteen” … 2:59
13. “Do You Love Me” … 3:39
14. “Black Diamond” … 4:20
15. “Rock And Roll All Nite” … 2:49

BONUS DVD: Live in Buenos Aires DVD
1. “Deuce”
2. “Hotter Than Hell”
3. “C’mon And Love Me”
4. “Watchin’ You”
5. “100,000 Years”
6. “Rock And Roll All Nite”

Band:
Paul Stanley – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Gene Simmons – Lead Vocals, Bass, Backing Vocals
Tommy Thayer – Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Eric Singer – Drums, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals

Producer: Paul Stanley & Greg Collins (Sonic Boom) and Paul Stanley & Gene Simmons (KISS Klassics)

Fantastic bang (boom?) for your buck! Following the template of Journey’s Revelation, we get: ONE brand new KISS album, ONE album featuring recently re-recorded KISS standards, and ONE DVD featuring excerpts from a Buenos Aires concert. All for $12. Not too bad.

KISS has finally returned with a brand new original studio album after 11 years of creative silence. How fitting that this larger than life band would choose to release this album exclusively in the United States with a larger than life retail store — Walmart. Hooking up with large retailers for exclusive releases is an incredibly wise move for veterans acts and AC/DC proved that in spades about this time last year with their own Walmart exclusive Black Ice.

This is a long review, but before I get into Sonic Boom, let’s discuss the bonus discs:

The first bonus disc is a CD called KISS Klassics, which features re-recorded versions of classic KISS songs by the current band members. The album was originally released on its own in Japan in 2008 under the title of Jigoku-Retsuden. It is also known as KISSology (and is not to be confused with the band’s retrospective live performance DVD series of the same name). You can’t argue with the songs here, it is what it is — a “greatest hits” compilation essentially, but I’m not a fan of the idea of a band re-recording their own material (I briefly considered ordering this as an import last year, but decided against it… I guess that worked out well!).

Basically, as was the case with Journey re-recording their own songs, this album really serves no purpose other than licensing. Gene & Paul can license these re-recorded versions out instead of the original versions (licensees won’t know/care as long as it still sounds like the originals), therefore, they don’t have to worry about splitting a large chunk of money with Ace, Peter or anyone else. Still, it’s a nice addition to the whole Sonic Boom package and it is kinda nice to hear these songs with an updated production.

Not much to say about the DVD other than it is another solid live performance from the band that is heightened by the cool visual of them playing to a HUGE crowd at River Plate Stadium in Bueno Aires, Argentina. It was recorded on April 5, 2009.

Two discs down, now onto the one that really matters… SONIC BOOM!

With KISS being my favorite band, this album was one of this decade’s most anticipated releases for me. I’ve been hoping for a long time that Gene & Paul would get up off their butts and play something NEW, but just two or three years ago both had stated they had no interest in doing that, so things seemed bleak. Thankfully, though Paul led the charge producing the album, and he made sure everyone played their instruments and the band used no outside songwriters!

Early sneak peek reviews of this album got me incredibly hyped with many of those reviews stating this was easily their best since Rock And Roll Over from 1976. I won’t take it to that extreme, but I could probably go back to 1983’s Lick It Up before I finding any album of theirs that would rival this one (Revenge is a contender, but I’ve always felt that album was overrated). Paul and Gene touted this album was a return to the “classic KISS” sound but it’s really a collection of their ’70s, ’80s and Revenge sound. At least it’s not the disappointing Psycho Circus (which was pretty much KISS singing about KISS!).

Track by track:

“Modern Day Delilah” – Great ’70s hard rock sound (though not necessarily a ’70s KISS sound), though it took me a few listens to get into it once KISS posted it online in August. One of my favorite songs from this album and check out Paul hitting those notes!

“Russian Roulette” – If I’m not mistaken, this has been a song and title that Gene has tried working onto a KISS album dating back to the 1980s. Makes sense because the song has an ’80s feel to it, maybe something from Asylum. It is another grower, I like it more than I did when I first heard it, but it barely rises above being classified as filler.

“Never Enough” – A bit generic sounding, and it is apparent that Paul’s voice has weakened a bit since his 2006 solo album Live to Win. It’s a bit more gravelly when he really lets loose, but he still sounds good.

“Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect)” – Another Gene song. Now this song sounds like ’70s KISS. That’s why I hate to say this, but… it’s filler to me.

“Stand” – The album’s big anthem and it features both Gene and Paul on lead vocals. Sounds like it could be on Revenge. Would be pretty cool for them to play this one live.

“Hot And Cold” – More ’70s KISS with this Gene song with a very Ace-like solo from Tommy. I’m noticing a trend, Gene is doing ’70s KISS, Paul is doing ’80s KISS. Simple and catchy.

“All For The Glory” – Eric Singer takes over lead vocals for this one and he does a great job. I noticed this at the concert from 9/25, and I’m not sure whether this is on purpose or not, but he’s got that same kind of raspy, soulful voice that Peter has. One of the best moments on the album. Nice Tommy solo.

“Danger Us” – Great Paul song. Sounds like a mash-up of Revenge and ’70s. Such a fun chorus: “Danger you, danger me, danger us!”

“I’m An Animal” – This was the first song that really punched me in the face! This is a classic Gene stomper, showing him in all his arrogance, swagger and glory and it should be a concert staple for years to come. I would LOVE to hear this live. I’ve probably played this song more than any other.

“When Lightning Strikes” – Longtime coming, but Tommy buddy– you finally get to sing lead on a KISS album! Even better, it’s a good song.

“Say Yeah” – ’80s KISS closes out the album with another Paul song, but the chorus kind of reminds me of this decade’s Bon Jovi releases. I like it though and it ends the album on a good note.

So, the album isn’t what most of the hype led me to believe it would be, but I’m still really pleased with it and I love the fact that it is 2009 and there’s new KISS to listen to. Undoubtedly, this is one of the year’s best releases.

Highlights: “Modern Day Delilah”, “All For The Glory”, “Danger Us”, “I’m An Animal”, “When Lightning Strikes”, “Say Yeah”

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Posted on October 7, 2009, in KISS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Stand” is my least favorite track on the album. In fact, it’s the only song on the album that I don’t like.

    I think I like “All For The Glory” best.

    You live in America…did you see KISS perform on the David Letterman TV show?
    http://tokyo5.wordpress.com/2009/10/08/you-wanted-the-best/

    • I didn’t like “Stand” either, initially. It IS a bit cheesy, I will admit.

      No, I was up, but busy online (probably writing for this blog or my other!), so I didn’t turn it up. I caught it on YouTube though. They sounded great, except for Paul’s voice. Just an off night because I know from experience he’s done much better than that recently. 😀

  2. Hey – great review. Spot on. I wrote a review as well and overlooked the Animal song. It is one of the better ones on the CD, I agree. I was not as forgiving regarding Eric and Tommy singing. Reviewed Sonic Boom at http://bit.ly/4qamoJ and Ace Frehley’s Anomaly at http://bit.ly/13gU7e. Check it out!

  3. I am not into Stand either! lol I love the tracks but my favs are “When Lightning Strikes,” “Danger Us,” “All for the Glory,” “I’m and Animal,” and even “Hot and Cold.” Overall I’m pleased with it. I was hoping for some harder edged tracks…this album even hearkens back to the first album at times. It’s really an amalgamation of all eras instead of just Love Gun and Rock and Roll Over like Gene and Paul referenced. NICE REVIEW!!!

    • Hopefully we won’t have to wait another 11 years for another new album. Maybe since Paul was in full control this time, he’ll be more likely to get excited about the idea of doing another one 3-4 years from now.

  4. oh yeah…I forgot Modern Day Delilah…I’m surprised it took you a while to get into it…I loved it the minute I heard it. Great track!!!

  5. MM-I agree with your review(s) wholeheartedly. Gene was doing 70s, Paul was doing 80s and the other two are doing what they’re told. I agree that it doesn’t quite live up to the hype or the promise of a return to the 70s sound, but I still think it’s the best overall album since the early 80s.

    I know Tokyo 5 disagrees (he and I have had this discussion before) but I am in your court on the REVENGE album. I think there are some great songs on there which could’ve been classics, but in combination with the truly bad songs and the overproduction I think it just doesn’t stand up.

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