I've always felt that in order to rate a greatest hits package properly, you have to look at the overall offering of tracks (these are, after all, supposed to be "great") and any extras that the album comes with (whether it be new songs, liner notes, or some type of freebie). Killers came out in an era when CDs were still out of reach for mainstream music lovers and the LP and cassette tape ruled.
While KISS is well known for giving their fans plenty of freebies (such as stickers, tattoos, and a punch-out "Love Gun"), Killers came with nothing new or free with the exception of four tracks. The album was originally only released outside of the United States, and in true KISS fashion, there were multiple versions of it available for the buying public. There was the original European version, a Japanese version featuring two extra tracks, an Australian version with two extra tracks, and a German version known primarily for having two backwards "zz" letters instead of the traditional stylized "ss" on KISS' logo due to the fact that the "ss" in the band's traditional logo resembles the old Nazi "SS" insignia.
I have the German version of the album on compact disc. The cover features the altered KISS logo and a photo of the band from their Music From The Elder album shoot. It also features bright pink and blue graphics.
Musically, the album focuses primarily on tunes from Destroyer and Dynasty with nods to KISS and a live version of Rock And Roll All Nite. The four new tracks have heavy power pop influences and would have fit comfortably on Unmasked. The new songs are I'm A Legend Tonight, Down On Your Knees, Nowhere To Run, and Partners In Crime. To be very honest, none of these tracks are worth buying the album for. While they aren't bad songs, they just don't stand up to the hits in this package. Nowhere To Run sounds like an early version of Thrills In The Night, aaa song that would appear on the group's 1984 album Animalize. Down On Your Knees was co-written by Mikel Japp and Bryan Adams....yes, THAT Bryan Adams!
Paul Stanley supplies vocals for all four of the new songs and Bob Kulick (brother of future KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick) plays guitars on the tracks in place of Ace Frehley who was well on his way out of the band by the time Killers hit store shelves.
The album features an edited version of Shout It Out Loud, Detroit Rock City, and I Was Made For Lovin' You. The edits are subtle and won't be noticed by general listeners of the group.
Hardcore fans originally wanted this album because of its rarity outside of the US, but CDs, import sales, and the web have made it just another greatest hits package to own. The German version is very easy to find and unless you just have to have every version of every album KISS ever released, I'd stick with the German version as the one to purchase.
This is probably the most radio-friendly greatest hits release for general listeners to own. It features tracks from the group's peak of popularity such as Love Gun and God Of Thunder, and leaves out lesser known tracks from the band's earlier albums (excepting Cold Gin, which is from their debut album).
The new tracks are forgettable and not really reason enough to buy this album, but for a casual fan, this is a decent purchase. Hardcore fans and completionists such as myself will buy it simply because it is a KISS album.
Recommended to casual fans and fans of greatest hits albums.
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