Oh boy, here we go. After just about the whole world turned their back on Kiss following the release of their soft, pop-influenced 'Unmasked' record, the band decided to make a return to more familiar hard rock territory. Good plan, too bad they abandoned it.
With founding drummer Peter Criss officially out of the band and Ace Frehley soon to follow, the band recruited 'Destroyer' producer Bob Ezrin to help them reconnect with their glory days.
Only problem is, he'd just gotten done with Pink Floyd's massive (and massively successful) concept album 'the Wall,' and somehow got it in his head that Kiss could do the same kind of project.
So out went the straight-ahead rock songs and sexual come-ons and in came oboes, orchestras and a vague storyline about a young warrior seeking to save his people with a noble visionquest or something.
In retrospect, pretty much everyone involved agrees this was the worst decision in the band's career. However, we maintain it was a noble effort, and that the record does in fact contain several highly interesting and successful songs, including the rousing closing anthem 'I' and the riff-driven 'The Oath.'
In particular, Gene Simmons delivers a surprisingly wide range of strong material here, from the tender ballad 'A World Without Heroes,' the moody and compelling 'Under the Rose,' and the album's most Demon-worthy song, the spare and vindictive 'Mr. Blackwell.'
Ace Frehley says goodbye with a typically oddball but rocking pair of songs: the instrumental showcase 'Escape from the Island' and the head-bobbing 'Dark Light,' which finds him quoting the theme from 'Jaws' and delivering one final, epic and ridiculously long guitar solo.
We're very curious to see the results on this one -- which 'Elder' song gets your vote in our readers' poll?