CLASSIC ROCK PREVIEW OF SONIC BOOM
August 18, 2009
Classic Rock can confirm that the new Kiss album will be called Sonic Boom - and we've got the full tracklisting. Not only that, but we've heard six of the album's 11 songs!

Classic Rock's Geoff Barton was invited to an exclusive preview of the new Kiss album this past Friday (August 14), in the convivial company of Doc McGhee, the band's manager.

"Kiss promised to deliver a back-to-their-roots album and that's exactly what we've got," Barton reports.

"Recorded in the old-fashioned, analogue way, it sounds spectacularly good - no ProTools nonsense in evidence here.

"The interesting thing is, it's not simply a homage to the band's first few albums. There are even nods to records such as [1982's] Creatures Of The Night, which had Vinnie Vincent, Bob Kulick and others guesting on guitar.

"Kiss seem to have cleverly combined the best of all their eras into a single winning package."

McGhee confirmed that Sonic Boom will be available exclusively through Wal-Mart, Walmart.com and Sam's Club stores in the US and Canada, as part of a package including a completely re-recorded greatest hits CD (previously available in Japan) plus a live DVD shot in Argentina during the Kiss Alive 35 South American tour.

Sonic Boom will be released in Europe on a soon-to-be-announced record label - Classic Rock knows the name of the label, but is sworn to secrecy. Suffice to say, its identity might surprise you!

The CD set will retail for just $12 on the other side of the pond. "I actually wanted to make Sonic Boom available as a download for a dollar, but I was overruled," McGhee chuckled.

"I still think it's a great idea. Millions of people would've downloaded it, I guarantee. At just a dollar a throw, it would've been the bargain of the century."

McGhee is delighted that Kiss decided to play to their strengths on Sonic Boom. "It's exactly want people want: the classic Kiss sound played by the band looking like they've always done: Starchild, Demon, Spaceman and Kitty Kat.

"Kiss are like James Bond or Mickey Mouse. They're not simply a band, they're a remarkable brand. They're timeless; they're part of the fabric of rock'n'roll and they'll likely go on forever.

"When I took over management of Kiss in the mid-1990s, that was my major plan: to get the band back to basics. They needed to recognise - and capitalise on - their core strengths.

"I mean," McGhee laughed, "when Kiss had a squirrel in their line-up - what was the hell was that all about?"

McGhee also revealed that Kiss will celebrate the release of Sonic Bloom with a special concert on September 25 at Cobo Arena in Detroit.

The full tracklisting of Sonic Boom is:

1. Modern Day Delilah (Check out an audio sample here)
2. Russian Roulette
3. Never Enough
4. Yes I Know (Nobody's Perfect)
5. Stand
6. Hot And Cold
7. All For The Glory
8. Danger Us
9. I'm An Animal
10. When Lightning Strikes
11. Say Yeah

Here's our quickfire reaction to the six songs we heard:

Modern Day Delilah

Based around a lumbering, War Machine-style rhythm, Paul Stanley's high-pitched vocals sound top-notch and timeless, almost like they've been sampled from Kiss Alive! There's a further ear-popping blast from the past when Mr Eisen howls (in his inimitable style): 'Listen!' (Or, more accurately: 'LISSEN!') Meanwhile, Tommy Thayer's guitar work is straight out of the Ace Frehley riff book - page 37, paragraph five, to be precise. At a concise 3:35 in length, this is a perfect slam-bang beginning to the new album.

Russian Roulette

Gene Simmons takes the vocals on this one; it's an archetypal lumbering, loping, pummelling offering, made all the better by the addition of a signature 'ah-ah-ah-ah' chant-line. Simmons's vocals sound a little bit more refined than you might expect (we prefer it when he's gruff and grumbling) but that's a minor gripe. The lyrics are simplistic but effective: 'This is Russian Roulette... one pull of the trigger is all you're gonna get... you feel the hunger and it's much too much... go on take a bite.' To a fan of classic Kiss, that's sheer poetry.

Never Enough

You're know you're on to a winner immediately as this one begins with a time-honoured Stanley shout of... wait for it... 'Woah-yeah!' This is a much jauntier offering than the preceding two tracks, recalling the more commercial, 1980s side of Kiss. The song has a real reach-for-the-sky spirit, full of uplifting phrases such as 'rules just for breaking', 'life for the taking' and (you guessed it) 'love 'til I'm shaking'.

Yes I Know (Nobody's Perfect)

Another three minutes of perfection - and if you're worried about the brevity of some of the tracks, don't. Remember, the key to a great Kiss song - whether it's Strutter, Shock Me or Shout It Out Loud - is 'don't outstay your welcome'. This is a light-hearted, hyper-commercial ram-raid of a tune with Simmons at the mic-stand again, offering a growling 'YEAH' (capital letters, natch) followed by the inevitable invitation: 'C'mon baby, take off your clothes.' There's no word on whether Simmons kept his T-shirt on during the 'session', however.

Stand

Our favourite so far; a proper, dyed-in-the-wool anthem recalling the crowd-rousing grandeur of God Gave Rock'N'Roll To You. Stanley delivers the words 'Stand by my side, I'll be next to you/Stand by my side, we'll make it through/Stand by my side, we'll get by, you and I' with consummate Starchild passion. This one just grows and grows... and then offers a neat false ending with some soft, CSN&Y-style harmonies (yes, really) before picking up the pace once more.

I'm An Animal

Full of giant, stalking menace, this is based around a dense, Zeppelinesque riff. Thayer plays a marvellous slick-but-stumbling Frehley solo, and you can rest assured the lyrics - 'I'm an animal and I'm free... I'm an animal in the street' - don't refer to an old lady with her poodle off the leash. Late in the song, the band issue the urge: 'Stand up, raise your fists.' Little do they know, we've been doing that since track one...