KISS – Animalize [Review]

kiss

KISS – Animalize [Remastered]
1997, Mercury Records
Originally Released: 1984, Mercury Records
Buy the album at Amazon.com

1. “I’ve Had Enough (Into the Fire)”
2. “Heaven’s On Fire”
3. “Burn Bitch Burn”
4. “Get All You Can Take”
5. “Lonely Is the Hunter”
6. “Under the Gun”
7. “Thrills in the Night”
8. “While the City Sleeps”
9. “Murder in High Heels”

Band:
Paul Stanley – Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Gene Simmons – Vocals, Bass
Mark St. John – Guitar
Eric Carr – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Bruce Kulick – Guitar (“Lonely Is the Hunter”, “Murder in High Heels”)
Jean Beauvoir – Bass (“Get All You Can Take”, Under the Gun”, “Thrills in the Night”)

Producer: Paul Stanley

At this point in the band’s history, it’s a game of musical chairs as to who plays on what. Then again, that was always kind of the case when it came to recording music. Even new lead guitarist Mark St. John only had a cup of coffee in the group as his tenure lasted only about half a year. This was due to a combination of personality clashes and the fact that St. John ended up being diagnosed with Reiter’s Syndrome. He played only 3 live shows with KISS before being replaced on the Animalize tour by Bruce Kulick (who later went on to have a 12 year career in the band).

What’s weird is that Gene Simmons would later say St. John was too flashy of a player and wasn’t a good fit for KISS… so why’d  they hire him in the first place? They already had one flashy player with Vinnie Vincent (who was also a great songwriter) so why did they think it would work out any better the second time around?

It was also during this time that Paul Stanley began to take control of the direction of KISS. Typically, the fate of KISS was determine by Paul and Gene Simmons, but Gene had stars in his eyes and was trying to make a name for himself as an actor, band manager and music producer which left Paul to carry on with the day-to-day duties of KISS. This included writing, recording and producing KISS albums. Due to Gene taking less active role in the band, Paul has stated that Animalize was pretty close to what a Paul Stanley solo album would’ve sounded like at that time.

Despite friction and changes within the band, Animalize is a solid album that delivered at least one classic in “Heaven’s On Fire”. It’s notable that this was one of two non-makeup songs (along with “Lick It Up”) that initially made it into the set list after the original four members reunited in 1996. It also happens to be one of the first KISS albums I ever bought so it’s got a special place in my heart.

This is when KISS started going glam and although the record is step down from Creatures of the Night and Lick It Up it’s still pretty enjoyable and was a commercial success upon its release. “I’ve Had Enough (Into the Fire)” is one of my favorite songs from this era as is “Heaven’s On Fire”. “Burn Bitch Burn” seems a bit too simplistic for KISS and has a touch of misogyny, but even so, it’s another favorite from the album for me.

Some numbers are stronger than others but I don’t feel like there’s any duds here, but then again, they may just be because I have a soft spot for the album and have listened to it so much. All told, I think it’s a very good album but I can see why others would be quick to point out its faults.

Highlights: “I’ve Had Enough (Into the Fire)”, “Heaven’s On Fire”, “Get All You Can Take”, “Burn Bitch Burn”, “Thrills in the Night”

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Posted on April 9, 2014, in KISS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. It’s definitely not quite as good as Creatures of the Night or Lick It Up, but I have a soft spot in my heart for this album too. Mark St. John does a pretty decent job in my opinion, and “Thrills in the Night” is probably my favorite track. Also, my best friend and I used to blast this album while driving to and from rock shows on hot August nights. A perfect album for summertime!

  2. I like the song “Get All You Can Take” a lot. Even better than “Heaven’s On Fire”!

  3. I agree with Tokyo5 – Get All You Can Take is a personal favourite. Although I like I like Thrills In The Night best like G.B. Marian.

    Good review though. At this point Kiss was basically a one man band, and Paul was trying anything. Fast shredder? Check! Didn’t work out? Tell people he was never the right fit!

  4. The ‘Murder In High Heels’ riff is, er, borrowed from Ian Dury.

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