TMR Music Review: KISS – Sonic Boom

small_090817-kiss-sonic-boom-coverIs it possible for a band to rip their selves off? KISS’ new release Sonic Boom nods to classic KISS in a frightening way. Though they are marketing geniuses KISS has always been on the trailing edge of music trends. Still they tend to get to the party in time to make an impact.

Case in point KISS’ disco anthem “I Was Made for Loving You” was released on the eve of the death of disco. KISS was also late getting to the hairband party. Still KISS was able to wash of their makeup, that is most of it and crank out some great hits.

So now we have the retro resurgence of classic rock. Retro bands Jet, The Killers and Wolfmother are all building huge audiences regurgitating 30 year old riffs.

On the retro band wagon comes KISS. They have come full circle abandoning their heavy metalhair band days of Animalize and Psycho Circus to once again deliver straight forward hard rock.

Not only have they ravished the KISS catalog they seem to have strip-mined every good idea the band has had since their inception. Gone are the over processed guitars of Bruce Kulick and Vinnie Vincent. Tommy Thayer is delivering a classic Les Paul via Marshall stack sound through his Hughes & Kettner amp.

Thayer worked for KISS first as Gene Simmon’s personal assistant I am wondering if his guitar tone is his doing or a suggestion of his boss. Tommy sounds like he is back in his KISS cover band doing an imitation of Ace Frehley. The solos and riffs are direct lifts from classic Ace solos.

Drilling deeper into the “this idea worked before” category is the album art. Micheal Doret who designed 1796’s release “Rock & Roll Over” was brought back to design the retro CD artwork.rsb






There are some great songs on this disk. Still there is nothing new on it. “I Am An Animal” sound vaguely like “God of Thunder” and even has the line “here comes the sound of thunder”.

“Calling Dr. Love” clone “When Lightning Strikes” even has the audacity to have the classic “Calling Dr. Love” cowbell, and we all know we need more cowbell. If you are looking for a great cover of “Strutter”, “Stand” is almost a direct lift of the classic KISS song.

Gene and Paul are doing a media blitz calling this the best KISS album in 30 years if not the best ever. I think Gene and Paul have lost their copies of “Destroyer” or “Dressed To Kill”. This is not even a top 5 maybe 10 of the almost 30 studio and live KISS albums.

“Modern Day Delilah” is a great first single from the CD.. Tommy Thayer even seems to have his own tone and style on the first single. With the exception of “Modern Day Delilah” there is nothing new to see here. Sonic Boom is very listenable but very forgettable.

I suggest going to Itunes and downloading the single. Save your money and pass on buying the whole CD. Especially if you have the earlier KISS catalog. KISS does get credit for producing the greenest CD in history; recycled riffs and lyrics are very PC.

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