Sludgy, dark, and moody, KISS' sophomore album, "Hotter Than Hell," is considered one of the group's low points in its early years by many mainstream rock enthusiasts. However, I personally feel that it is one of their best offerings for a number of reasons. The first reason is the fact that this album was an attempt to sound more like one of KISS' bombastic live shows. It's a well-known fact that KISS' popularity didn't really take off until after the release of "Alive" (two albums later), so you can't fault the producers or the band for trying to catch the raw energy of their live show on a studio album.
Secondly, the song collection ranges from typical KISS fare like the title track, "Let Me Go, Rock n' Roll," and "Mainline," to darker rockers like "Parasite" and "Goin' Blind." As expected, Paul Stanley shines on the songs that lean more to the pop spectrum of rock n' roll. Peter Criss takes lead on "Mainline" and "Strange Ways" and handles them both in his typical gruff-voiced way. Gene Simmons leads the bulk of the album, fronting five of the album's ten tracks. If you've never heard "Goin' Blind," I highly recommend it. It is once of Simmons' best songs.
The third reason, and quite possible the biggest reason this album gets better with each listen, is the writing and guitar playing of Ace Frehley. He penned two of the album's songs, "Parasite" and "Strange Ways," and co-wrote "Comin' Home" with Paul Stanley. All three of these tracks are, in my opinion, some of KISS' best early tunes. Frehley's guitar has rarely sounded better than on this album as well. The album's sound, particularly the sludginess of many of the songs, seems to lend itself to Frehley. His solos on this album are wonderful.
Overall, this album is often overlooked by casual fans of the group. You can't really blame them, however, given the large amount of greatest hits packages that the band has offered over the years. If you're a true KISS fan, you probably already have this album. If you've been holding off on buying it due to the lack of major singles, you're missing a real treat. Highly recommended.
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Kendall Fontenot (kfontenot)
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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Japanese-only SHM-CD (Super High Material CD) paper sleeve pressing of this classic album from the Glam Hard Rockers, originally released in 1974. SHM-CDs can be played on any audio player and delivers unbelievably high-quality sound. You won't believe it's the same CD! Universal. 2008.--This text refers to an alternateAudio CDedition.