On this 1982 set, Kiss rekindled its mojo. After the universally panned Music from “The Elder,” they went back to catchy hard rock. By this point, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were running the show; guitarist Ace Frehley was gone, substituted largely by Vinnie Vincent. Secretly, Steve Farris of Mr. Mister added guitar, as did – shockingly – Robben Ford, who rocked on “I Still Love You” and “Rock and Roll Hell.”
This 40th anniversary box set compiles 103 tracks – 75 previously unreleased – including demos, outtakes (“Betrayed” is the best example), rarities, and soundboard recordings from the 1982-’83 tour. The thunderous FM anthem “I Love it Loud” is the best-known cut, while the snarling rocker “War Machine” is another highlight. All four songs on the non-U.S. Kiss compilation Killers are included. Most of the demos are intriguing, but some don’t match the album’s studio punch.
For live tracks, the early Kiss classics sound markedly different without Frehley. Vincent adds flashy ’80s speediness, but the Creatures material comes off better. Still, Kiss obsessives will devour this. If you gave up on Kiss after Love Gun, at least grab this remaster on CD or vinyl. You’ll rock and roll all nite, guaranteed.
This article originally appeared in VG’s January 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.