Considered by many (including myself) to be KISS' heaviest album, "Creatures of the Night" rips open with the title track and surges on through eight more rockers. While I have personally labeled a few single tracks on other KISS albums as "blistering," "Creatures" features almost nothing but "blistering" tracks. Even the pop-tinged "Keep Me Comin'" and "Danger" have a brutal tone to them. The lone ballad, "I Still Love You," holds its own as well.
Standout tracks include the title track, the banging "Killer," the anthemic "I Love It Loud," and gritty "War Machine."
As many have already stated, "War Machine" gives the listener a taste of the old Demon persona that put Gene Simmons on the map. Paul Stanley works all of his tunes with perfection, proving to listeners that despite the absence of Peter Criss and Ace Frehley and the lackluster reception of a few earlier albums, KISS was alive and well in the early 80's. While Frehley might be on the cover, he's nowhere on the album. Instead, his shoes are filled by a number of players, most notably Vinnie Vincent and Bob Kulick (who's brother, Bruce, would eventually become the bands lead guitarist).
The most important piece of this particular KISS album, however, is drummer Eric Carr. While he was featured on "Music From The Elder" and the new tracks released on "Killers," Carr shines on "Creatures." It's the first full-length album to showcase Carr's rocking drums. From the opening track to the end, Carr's superior drumming drives this album.
This particular version of "Creatures" features the band (including Frehley) on the cover in makeup with modified graphics and has been remastered. There are a two other covers available to KISS collectors, the original and an "unmasked" cover featuring Bruce Kulick. As with the original release, it is dedicated to Neil Bogart, the founder of Casablanca records. The liner notes featured behind the disc on the remastered version are excellent, primarily for the fact that a failed tour, personnel issues, and the removal of the legendary KISS makeup are bluntly (albeit briefly) addressed.
Along with "Revenge," I believe that "Creatures of the Night" is one of the best non-original lineup KISS albums. I think that it will satisfy even the staunchest Frehley/Criss fans and defenders. It's in my top five KISS list, and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting a taste of the best KISS from the 80's.