Everyone's talking about "MONSTER!" Here are some review excerpts...
Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are the only original members still onboard, but “Monster,” Kiss’ 20th studio album, feels like something from the band’s mid-‘70s heyday. Recorded onto analog tape, it’s a thick-sounding, bighearted record about partying and loving, performed with a surprising amount of ferocity by musicians who are now in their early 60s.
With Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer filling the spots left vacant by Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, “Monster” roars from start to finish. Longtime fans will point out the obvious parallels to earlier eras — “Wall of Sound” and the metallic “Freak” both model themselves after the band’s 1992 album, “Revenge,” while “Hell or Hallelujah” boogies like a 1970s classic — but “Monster” won’t make you pine for a time long since past. Instead, it’ll restore your faith in the band’s 2012 reboot.
- Ellie Goulding, Washington Times
Nearly 40 years after first slapping on the makeup, donning the costumes and changing forever the way a live concert is performed, Kiss can still bring it.
"Monster" is the caped crusaders' 20th studio album, and one that fans of old school '70s classic rock will be just as comfortable with as those who cut their teeth on later material.
It opens with a bang in "Hell or Hallelujah," a fast-paced rocker that could be the band's best concert opener since "I Stole Your Love," way back in 1977 (though they put it in the middle of the set this summer).
Imagine a mash-up of "Helter Skelter" and Kiss' 1992 track "Spit," and you've got "Wall of Sound," a dramatic, ground-pounder. "Freak" uses a grungier distorted sound to showcase the band's longstanding philosophy of not caring what anyone else thinks of them. And "Back To The Stone Age" features Eric Singer's pounding drums with a beat reminiscent of the Stones' "Live With Me."
- Wayne Parry, Associated Press
In the same way it's hard to criticize a mutt for eating scraps off the floor, slobbering or getting lusty on a random person's leg, who's to begrudge KISS releasing another record about thunder, sex, lightning, outcasts, hell, rock 'n' roll, thunder and sex?
Given this truth, KISS' new album, "Monster," is a fantastic dog: Protective, loyal, fun to be around but ferocious when it needs to be.
As the New York-born band has done since its rise among the proto-metal glam rock movement of the early '70s, on "Monster" KISS focuses on primal riffs, heavy bass lines, simple metaphors, trigger-happy solos, Stanley's delirious wail and Simmons' gruff bark. It's monosyllabic music to sing along to, with drum fills perfect for air-rolls and double-kick foot stomps. It's way better than the last Darkness record and stomps the hell out of Radiohead and/or Muse-like pomposity.
- Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times
"Monster" really and genuinely captures the sound of the classic rock of the late 70's.
It is really unreal on how they genuinely make this album sound like it was written and recorded in another time. This is absolutely the only album I've ever heard where I felt nostalgic on the first listen. The guitar work and drums are well executed, the songwriting fits right in with what KISS is trying to accomplish, and honestly, this is the best album released by KISS in a long time. I've actually been pretty impressed with the guitar work on the album – it is some of the best since their first live album, Alive!
- Brandon East, Ultimate Guitar