“Alive II” (remaster) by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “Alive II” (remaster)
Label: Mercury/Universal
Release Date: 8/12/1997
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 9/10

Recorded during the “Love Gun Tour” of 1977, the album Alive II is both a special and a powerful one from the second it begins. At the time before this album I remembered only listening to KISS a little bit yet when life was set to change that with the album hitting the record shops (yes, records were sold in shops once upon a time). I remember clearly almost blowing up the family stereo as the announcer growled “You Wanted The Best And You Got The Best”. The explosions literally shaking the house and making my Mother scream at me more than usual. As a budding musician as well I made sure to learn this album from top to bottom. While I don’t do that much anymore I am pretty sure that I can still knock out a bunch of these songs from memory. To this very day it remains one of my favorites in their catalog because it was among the first records I was allowed to buy and it had so many of the songs that were on the radio (“Dr. Love”, “Christine Sixteen” & “Detroit Rock City”). Alive II would focus on the three releases that followed the classic concert release Alive featuring material from “Destroyer”, “Love Gun” and “Rock & Roll Over”. The band was a little heavier now and walked a little taller over the competition – stepping over them in lizard faced platform boots. The stronger emphasis on their individual identities and bombastic shows made them officially referred to as Hard Rock super-heroes by this point. There was not a member of the now formed KISS Army that would argue this fact with you. KISS ruled, and that was that. While Alive is considered the original masterpiece, Alive II is a lot cleaner and tighter if you asked me. Songs like “King Of The Night Time World” and “I Want You” literally explode like the firebombs presented during the show. There is a hotter drum solo by Peter Criss and not only do we get a unique guitar solo from Frehley but we hear him sing live for the first time on record during “Shock Me”.

Alive II showcases most of the concert but to avoid duplication from the previous effort, none of those songs are repeated here that would have been done during the show if you saw them. As a matter of fact the closing five tracks would be studio recordings and of them “All American Man” and “Rocket Ride” would be the standouts. It was a better move for how many times do we need “Rock & Roll All Nite” on record.

This is one of the best of the remastered catalog and deserves to be a part of your CD collection. However, the downside of listening to it is the desire to see the band in full makeup from this era. It is my hope that one day that more of this type of footage surfaces from the band and is released for purchase. We all know Simmons has it, it is just the matter of does he want us to have it as well. No more teaser sections on DVD scattered amidst band tomfoolery. Let’s go Gene, you know we will buy almost anything you sell. Right fans?

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 liner notes on the CD inner section that is topical to the particular album and its time period in history.

Track Listing:
1. Detroit Rock City
2. King Of The Night Time World
3. Ladies Room
4. Makin’ Love
5. Love Gun
6. Calling Dr. Love
7. Christine Sixteen
8. Shock Me
9. Hard Luck Woman
10. Tomorrow And Tonight
11. I Stole Your Love
12. Beth
13. God Of Thunder
14. I Want You
15. Shout It Out Loud
16. All-American Man
17. Rockin’ In The USA
18. Larger Than Life
19. Rocket Ride
20. Anyway You Want It

Official Web site: www.KISSonline.com

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