“Unmasked” (remaster) by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “Unmasked” (remaster)
Label: Mercury/Universal
Release Date: 10/7/1997
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 3/5

After KISS found renewed commercial success with some of the tracks on “Dynasty” the band would once again test new waters by trying another vein of sound. “Dynasty” had some Disco moments which sent some fans off bridges while at the same time finding others who embraced their attempt at trying to be different. “Unmasked” would have a polished and very “Pop-sensible” feel to it and really distance more fans as a result of the yet again different vibe. The album opens with “Is That You?” which is a raucous stance of attitude ala KISS of old but this would be one of the only real powerhouse numbers on the album. The attempt to follow the hit-maker “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” led the band to giving us “Shandi” and “Tomorrow”. Sadly the two tracks would not find the level of commercial success as the ones on the preceding album. Ace Frehley sings three tracks on this one and they are among the best. “Two Sides Of The Coin”, “Talk To Me” and “Torpedo Girl” were excellent and not only gave some solid music but catchy lyrical content. Gene’s numbers of “Naked City” and “She’s So European” seemed to move him from the menacing Demon just a little more. The album itself was not one of my personal favorites but I did like half of it and I think most KISS fans felt the same way. I admit that songs like “You’re All That I Want” and “Easy As It Seems” were Pop drivel and made the band look like some sort of joke rather than the Rock super heroes that they actually were. The recording of this album also came with the realization that original member Peter Criss was no longer part of the lineup. Drumming was performed by studio drummer Anton Fig who not only took the drumming up a notch on some tracks but introduced a double-bass drum feel to some of the songs. The KISS purest might argue some of these points and make it part of their collection just the same, but for the most part this is among the weakest in the bands large back catalog.

The KISS remasters are excellent in their overall sound quality but do not offer any additional or unreleased songs outside of what was on the original album. The original artwork is replicated and features the interesting graphics that often made up a KISS Album. If the artwork was limited, this is of course reflected as well. Music History fans will appreciate the included historical liner notes on the CD’s inner section. Each release has information that is topical to the album and the bands history.

Track Listing:
1. Is That You?
2. Shandi
3. Talk To Me
4. Naked City
5. What Makes The World Go ‘Round
6. Tomorrow
7. Two Sides Of The Coin
8. She’s So European
9. Easy As It Seems
10. Torpedo Girl
11. You’re All That I Want

Official Web site: www.KISSonline.com

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