KISS have been around for four decades, since they began in 1973. They have had many changes in sound, and even genre. You don’t really know what to expect with a Kiss release, but a lot of people may be happy to discover that “Monster” is definitely a good hard rock album, which is the twentieth in their career. The members on the album are as always Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons with Tommy Thayer on guitars and Eric Singer on drums. So, no luck on any hopes of another reunion of the original members.

Monster” starts out with a wallop on the album’s first single, “Hell or Hallelujah”. This is one of two tracks penned solely by Stanley, who also co-wrote all but two tracks on the record. This song could have fit brilliantly with their early-to-mid-80s signature. Add another hit to the arsenal. Simmons is up next on the track “Wall of Sound”. There’s a nice groove here, and Gene sounds better than he has in a while. Meanwhile “Freak” sounds so fittable to Simmons, who has some nice bass work here, but it is actually a Stanley/Thayer tune, and Paul sings it. Great chorus, and a strong statement.

Back To The Stone Age” was a song title that had me worried, and as I suspected, it’s a track that does not belong on the record. It sounds like a b-movie comedy soundtrack outtake. “Shout Mercy” has a real old school Kiss vibe. Paul takes this one as well as, “Long Way Down” which has a bit of a psychedelic tint to it. “Eat Your Heart Out” has a retro feel, with a very mature touch from the band. Classic Kiss in any genre, but you can really feel they are comfortable in their skin on this one. A real band effort. Gene’s best song since “Domino”.

“Take Me Down Below” also taps into that ”Revenge” groove, with a track that seems like “Take It Off” meets “Spit”. Thayer’s solo on this one is tasty. Closing it out is “Last Chance”, but  if you get the iTunes version of the album, you’ll also pick up the bonus track, “Right Here, Right Now”. Great song, unfortunately old school fans who buy the standard edition won’t enjoy it . In all, “Monster” is a top-notch affair from Kiss. While it certainly won’t make anyone forget “Destroyer“, it stands tall with many great albums in the Kiss catalog.

Track List Line Up
01. Hell Or Hallelujah
02. Wall Of Sound
03. Freak
04. Back To The Stone Age
05. Shout Mercy
06. Long Way Down
07. Eat Your Heart
08. The Devil Is Me
09. Outta This World
10. All For The Love Of Rock & Roll
11. Take Me Down Below
12. Last Chance
Gene Simmons – Bass Guitar, Vocals
Eric Singer – Drums, Vocals
Paul Stanley – Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Tommy Thayer – Lead Guitar, Vocals