Mercury Records, 1984

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


KISS was riding high when Animalize came out in 1984. They had just unmasked for the Lick It Up CD, experienced some commercial success with "Lick It Up" and "All Hell's Breaking Loose." It made sense to follow up Lick It Up with another strong release.

And that's what Animalize is: a very strong release. Starting out with "I've Had Enough (Into The Fire)" guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley takes over with a strong anthem. Following that track comes the main single from this release, "Heaven's On Fire." The charismatic performance by Stanley once again shines. And according to Kiss Online, this is the only track from the post-Peter Criss/Ace Frehley era making its way onto the still unreleased my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Alive IV.

And then we get to the KISS theory part of this review. My theory with KISS is that Paul Stanley writes songs that he knows are going to appeal to the mainstream, while the songs that bassist Gene Simmons writes focus primarily on being darker and, musically, heavier. Drummer Eric Carr seemed to pick up on this, at least subconsciously, because his drumming always seems more adventurous on songs that Simmons wrote.

I offer "Boomerang" from Hot In The Shade and "Exciter" from Lick It Up as illustration of what I'm trying to get across. His songs are usually darker themed, such as with "Burn Bitch Burn." There is also the ever-elusive female subject in Simmons's songs to which he talks remarkably dirty such as the classic line, "Ooh baby, I wanna put my log in your fireplace / Maybe baby, you wanna get played." Gee, what does Simmons have on his mind?

An exception to the KISS theory I mentioned before is "Under The Gun," which Stanley co-wrote with drummer Eric Carr and Desmond Child. Child is given songwriting credit on three of the nine tracks here. On "Gun," Carr hammers away on his drums like a machine gun. It is one of my favorite songs he played on.

"Thrills In The Night" follows. This was the other single KISS released and while the video showed up a few times, "Heaven's On Fire" is what this release will always be known for. It's a good song and features some good guitar work from Mark St. John.

WHO? Yes, after Vinnie Vincent left after Lick It Up, guitarist Mark St. John joined the band. He left the band after this release due to health reasons. That is really unfortunate, because on "While The City Sleeps" and "Lonely Is The Hunter" (curiously, both Simmons tracks), S. John shows some real skill. The release ends with a filler track called "Murder In High Heels."

In general, this release isn't all that strong. It has good trademark moments and with "Heaven's On Fire" being included on the upcoming Alive IV, this release's sales are likely to see a surge in interest, depending on how the original lineup handles a newer song. (One side comment regarding Alive IV: I wish they would have tried "Unholy" from Revenge, which is one riff that guitarist Ace Frehley would have ruled on!)

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Mercury Records, and is used for informational purposes only.