KISS – Ikons

KISS - Ikons
  • 8.5/10
    KISS - Ikons - 8.5/10


Mercury Records
Release date: October 21, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

What do you get when you cross a demon, a cat, a star child, and a space man? In most cases nothing, but under special circumstances like this one you get a Rock group, the likes of which have never been seen before… KISS.

Well it’s been some time since the group’s last studio release; in fact the last time the boys were in the studio was back in 1998 when Psycho Circus was their latest project. What is the next best thing besides going back into the studio and giving their loyal fans something new to rant and rave about? Unfortunately and sadly enough, we all know the answer to this one. Put out more LIVE albums, box sets, and compilation albums even though just about every KISS fan out there has them already in some form or another. Gene and Paul were never quite shy about the size of their wallets and how much fuller they can become-perhaps the women in their lives need to remodel their mansions, replace their exotic and high-end cars with new ones, increase the size of their diamond collection… who knows but surely they have their reasons.

In this case, brilliant management came up with a new idea, one that hasn’t been proposed yet on how to obtain the remainder of the KISS Army’s allowances or paychecks. They decided on putting out a 4-CD set with each member of KISS allotted only 14 songs each. The other stipulation is that each individual member sings on only the songs that fall within their respective 14-song set. Wow, how creative! These brainchilds should work on Wall St. That is basically how IKONS was created.

The Demon—Gene Simmons, real name-Chaim Witz (changed to Eugene Klein upon US arrival, then Gene Klein before final name); born-August 25, 1949; from-Haifa, Israel (moved to Brooklyn, NY at 8 or 9 years of age). Gene isn’t known for his bass playing as much as he is known for his on-stage antics. Besides having a long tongue (of course this has no bearing on playing music but the girls seem to like this fact), he is a huge fan of most, simply for his fire breathing and blood spitting. In Gene’s set list you find the customary and more popular tunes such as “Deuce,” “Rock and Roll All Nite,” “Cold Gin,” and “Parasite” that are all staples at a KISS show. A nice thing was done here, whether it was intentional or not is another question. The original version of “Rock and Roll All Nite” was used instead of the LIVE version that always gets airplay. A large percentage of younger fans of the band probably never heard the original or knew that the other version existed.

Then you have some rarities that will be a nice treat for some. These are “Almost Human,” “Ladies Room,” “Plaster Caster,” and “Larger Than Life.” Gene’s bass playing along with his deep growling vocals are more pronounced in these songs than in the others that are part of his set list. “Radioactive” is the only song from his solo project back in 1978. This tune is probably the weak link of the bunch if one had to be selected.

The Star Child—Paul Stanley, real name-Harvey Eisen; born-January 20, 1952; from-Queens, NY. Paul is probably known more for his on-stage presence (see sexy posing and strutting) then his guitar playing. Of course he still has his slightly raspy but sexy voice to fall back on. It is quite unique and distinctive enough for the girls to go crazy over. It was an easy task to see who the front man should be for the band when the guys were trying to figure it out. Not to be outdone and just like the Demon, the Star Child has his own collection of songs that one would most likely hear at a KISS concert. These include the ever famous “Detroit Rock City” along with “Love Gun,” “100,000 Years,” and classics “Rock Bottom,” “Strutter,” and “Hotter Than Hell.”

There is one song from Paul’s solo project in 1978 titled “Wouldn’t You Like To Know Me.” You also have the disco-like tune “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” that could have and should have been a fiasco and done them (KISS) in, but for some reason it seemed to work and was even fairly popular-go figure! “Come On and Love Me,” “Do You Love Me,” and “I Stole Your Love” use to be played Live more often than they are now but still very big with the fans. Rarities here are “All American Man” and “Mr. Speed.”

The Spaceman—Ace Frehley, real name-Paul Daniel Frehley; born-April 27, 1951; from-Bronx, NY. Of the four band members, Ace might be considered the busiest musician. He is also known for having his other successful band Frehley’s Comet. He began putting this band together around 1984 and had their first album released in 1987 simply titled Frehley’s Comet. Considering that from the four albums that each KISS member released individually back in 1978 as solo projects, the most popular album by far belonged to Ace. It can be easily deduced from this information that Ace was not going to simply sit idle on the sidelines for long after he was no longer a participating member of KISS.

Ace had a strong showing of his personal material from his Frehley’s Comet band as part of his 14 song set list. “New York Groove,” “Snow Blind,” “Speedin’ Back To My Baby,” “What’s On Your Mind,” and “Rip It Out” all make it on IKONS. Of course some of Ace’s classics as part of KISS cannot be left out. Older tunes such as “Shock Me,” “Rocket Ride,” “Hard Times,” and the more recent “Into the Void” are decent selections. Even the great Jagger/Richards rendition “2000 Man” is included in the bunch. A real nice surprise is something off of (Music From) The Elder which is rare to say the least. Hardly anything from that album receives any attention or gets any airplay for the most part. In this case, “Dark Light” was fortunate to make it into the list. There are a few more tunes not mentioned in case anyone is counting.

The Cat—Peter Criss, real name-George Peter John Criscuola; born-December 20, 1945; from-Brooklyn, NY. Of the four original KISS members, Peter Criss arguably has the heaviest or hardest and best suited vocals for singing the type of songs the band is noted for. There is a distinctive type of raunchiness to it but not to the extreme nature of someone like Lemmy from Motorhead. He is in a class by himself. It is this unique voice along with the drumming capabilities of Criss that made him such an integral part of KISS.

Criss does pretty well here also having four songs make it off his solo project from 1978- “I Can’t Stop the Rain,” “Don’t You Let Me Down,” That’s the Kinda Sugar Papa Likes,” and “Easy Thing.” One of KISS’s most famous and popular tunes that propelled Peter Criss into the spotlight is “Beth.” It wouldn’t be right if that song wasn’t included among the rest. The women just went crazy over it for some reason. The older classics such as “Hard Luck Woman,” “Baby Driver,” “Hooligan,” “Black Diamond,” “Mainline,” “Dirty Livin’,” “Getaway,” “Strange Ways,” and the more recent “I Finally Found My Way” round out the list of tunes allotted to Criss. Some of these older songs are nice to hear again since a good portion of them don’t get much airplay and the younger fans might not have heard them unless they have a lot of KISS’s older material. It is also a fact that some of these same songs can be found on some of the compilation albums that were released more recently.

Believe it or not, listening to all four discs one after another goes by rather quickly. That’s probably because the music is good and you can get into the beat on most tunes. If you are a true KISS fan, then you will appreciate the format that this compilation is based upon, especially if you like the way a certain member of KISS sounds. This way you can just throw his disc into the CD player and abracadabra, you can hear fourteen of his more popular tunes with only him singing. There you have it in a nutshell more or less-fifty-six KISS tunes you can sink your teeth into. Good thing too because there just aren’t enough KISS releases out there that contain songs that we have heard over and over again, or compilation albums containing only one new song (for those without a clue, this last statement is made with sarcasm being the main focus).


  • George Fustos

    George was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He has engineering degrees in Chemical and Electrical Engineering. He favors Metal, Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Blues, and even some Jazz and Motown (depending on the tune). He used to dabble with the bass quite some time ago. His most influential bassists are Jaco, Billy Sheehan, Stu Hamm, Geddy Lee, and John Entwistle (RIP Ox). Band-wise he's really into Rush, Tool, early Metallica, Pink Floyd (including Waters and Gilmour as solo artists), The Who, Iced Earth, Iron Maiden, Halford, Joe Satriani, certain Judas Priest, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins (Blues guitarist), Motörhead, and a German band called Skew Siskin that Lemmy says in an interview as being "the best band out there today."

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.