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Old 08-15-2018, 11:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default KISS First Three Albums

I grew up a big KISS fan, most of my love for music came from an interview I heard when I was like 12 from Gene Simmons where he basically said: "Be a fan of music, not just of a band, listen to the people that influenced your favorite bands and the people that influenced them, its a much deeper experience".

So I've actively been a fan of music ever since.

As for KISS, my favorite albums are the first 3.

KISS (1974)

Hotter Than Hell (1974)

Dressed To Kill (1975)

In just over a year the band put out the foundation for the rest of their entire career, and the top 3 albums they ever did in my opinion. the early albums to me are like the first 3 James Bond films, they were original and set the pace.
I like the style of the early albums, an extension of the 50's rock'N'roll era but with cool guitar licks and a little more attitude.
The first three studio albums sound grittier and rawer than the cleaner sounding albums that followed, and even have more of a whole live feeling to me. All of the songs from the first three albums ended up on ALIVE! which was their most successful album probably to this day, which is basically a best of album, all from the first 3 releases.

In my opinion after the success with ALIVE! Destroyer felt to me like the band were trying to move towards commercialism and mainstream "arena rock" status. I like songs from Destroyer but that was when you had other musicians coming in to play parts and other writers coming in to write. Bob Ezrin was the kind of producer that was really pushing KISS to be different than what they were. He added piano parts and choirs and had session musicians play parts that he felt the band couldn't play. This style of producing became the norm for KISS through out the rest of the 70s, 80s and 90s. They would almost never write songs together again, and relied heavily on outside writers and outside musicians to shape their albums. They began trying to cast a wider net and lost some of their charm. Then they really started selling out and focused on toys and lunch boxes maybe a little more than trying to write a cool jam.
The original KISS really started coming apart with Destroyer.
They were trying to appeal to everyone from your grandmother to your grandkid, where as the first three albums are more true to the artistry and musicianship of KISS (I know I'm stretching when I say "Artistry and Musicianship")
I like the less produced KISS, I like the charm of the early stuff, it sounds more authentic. It's even heavier, songs like Strange Ways, Goin Blind and Parasite, and those to me are of the strongest songs they ever wrote.

My favorite song from each album:

It's hard to pick, I really love 100,000 years but I gotta go with Black Diamond from KISS (1974)
It became a live staple and has probably the best vocal Peter ever did:

My favorite KISS albums is Hotter Than Hell (1974) and picking a favorite song is hard to do, but again I have to go with a Peter tune, Strange Ways just has the coolest riff and vocals from the whole album and the guitar solo is awesome and sounds nothing like Ace ever did before or since and is probably one of my favorite KISS songs period:

For Dressed To Kill (1975) I have almost a tie between C'mon and Love Me and Rock Bottom but I'm going with the former, I like Paul's vocal, the lyrics, the guitar playing and again its one of my top KISS songs:

Now I'm not saying I don't like any other KISS stuff, I like lots of KISS music, even stuff from albums like Unmasked (1980) and Hot In The Shade (1990), just for me, the old stuff is the cream of the crop.

I don't know how much love KISS gets on these forums and I'm new, so please don't tear me apart too bad! Although I do want peoples honest opinions. Let me know what your favorite KISS albums are or why KISS sucks.
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Old 08-15-2018, 11:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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They were just one of those bands that I always knew existed, but never listened to until a few years ago. I live in Denmark and they just didn't seem to really have an audience here, so I haven't been exposed to much of their music without having to actively go and look for it.

I'm not really a big rock guy to begin with and KISS also has that hard rock leaning that makes it even less of my bag. I think some other people in here like KISS. Last time I said I didn't like the band, some people yelled at me, so there must be some who would defend them.
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Props on taking the time to write about this too often ignored side of kiss. When I saw KISS live it was pleasantly surprisingly to see and hear so many people being able to sing along with Black Diamond.
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Old 09-19-2018, 01:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Fan of KISS checking in...they are like the gateway band into Rock/Metal for a lot of people myself included. I remember watching a video of a metal site/zine and they were going around asking various different bands and artists what got them Into to rock/metal and making music and I'd say at least like 90% of them said KISS. They are not the critics darlings so they tend to get a bit of hate and dismissal by a lot and because people percieve them as being a gimmicky band for kids but admittedly they have a few really bad and cheesy "log in your fireplace" type songs which most Rock bands of their era are also guilty of...but when KISS is on point they are on point.

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Old 09-19-2018, 02:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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^War Machine, and all of Creatures of the Night for that matter is excellent. Best thing KISS has done imo.

Apart from that album, KISS is one of those bands that I've always thought has had great songs but not great albums. The aforementioned Creatures of the Night is the only one that I don't think has filler.

As far as their first three go, I guess I'd say Hotter Than Hell is the best one if only for "Parasite". That song is so good, and it makes me wonder why they didn't make more stuff leaning towards heavy metal:
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Old 09-19-2018, 07:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Nice post. My first KISS album was Alive 2 which I traded for a can of Cplus! I mean the double record album not the CD. They got me on the road to hard rock and i still listen to them today. Favourite song? Dont laugh...Dr Love.
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Old 02-28-2020, 11:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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In my opinion they ruined what they had... The first 3 albums kick ass (Most of all the 2nd and 3rd) and its too bad they didnt continue this........

Not much good from them after the 3rd record sadly.......

Last edited by Dude111; 02-28-2020 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 04-09-2020, 08:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I too like their first three albums the best. As a side note Simmons and Stanley have trashed Peter Criss' drumming. Especially on those early albums and I can't find anything wrong with it. When I first heard those albums I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting him to be the Pete Best of KISS.
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Old 05-15-2020, 07:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Everything up to and including Alive 2 is great.
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Old 06-02-2020, 02:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Oh....and Music from the Elder is very underrated to be prog coolness
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