KISS – Alive II

KISS - Alive II


Release date: October 14, 1977

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‘Don’t judge a book by its cover,” goes the adage. The cover of this second live installment from U.S.A. rockers, Kiss, features a blood-splattered, sweat-soaked Gene Simmons … quite striking indeed. However, on opening up the lavish gatefold sleeve, a veritable feast of flamethrowers, fireworks, flamethrowers, and hydraulic ramps welcomes you and, errrrr … even more flamethrowers.

Once described as a nuclear explosion in a waxworks factory, Kiss have succeeded in producing one of the most spectacular covers for a live album ever witnessed. If this doesn’t make you want to quit your day job and become a rock star, then nothing will.

So, the cover is great, but what about the music???

Commencing with the traditional Kiss battle cry, and straight into the opening salvo of “Detroit Rock City” and “King of the Night Time World,” a battery of explosions leaves you with no doubt that this will be an audio riot. The pace hardly lets up throughout the whole album, with each song coming across harder, faster, and vastly superior to their studio counterparts.

All band members take a turn at the microphone, with the bulk of the vocals handled by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. Ace Frehley makes his live debut on “Shock Me,” complete with guitar histrionics, while Peter Criss is credited with the album’s more mellow moments.

Possibly the most contrasting moment on the album is when the orchestral strings of “Beth” fade into the ominous, rumbling bass that precedes the Armageddon-esque riff of “God of Thunder”– the heaviest song in the Kiss arsenal. This song perfectly symbolizes the onstage persona of Simmons.

The album closes with the rabble-rousing Kiss party anthem, “Shout It Out Loud,” before coming to somewhat of a premature end. Since the album only draws from the preceding three studio albums and duplicates no tracks from Kiss’ prior live album entitled Alive, Kiss were left with a shortage of material (although “Hooligan,” “Take Me,” and “Do You Love Me” were originally slated for inclusion). Kiss therefore recorded five new tracks to complete a full double album, with Stanley’s chest-thumping “All American Man” and Frehley’s stellar “Rocket Ride” being the picks of the bunch.

There has been great debate over how “live” this album actually was, and whether or not it was a worthy successor to the legendary Alive album. Whatever your thoughts are, there is no disputing that this album provides a thrilling listen and stands as one of the finest live albums of the era.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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