Anomaly review by Ace Frehley

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  • Released: Sep 15, 2009
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.9 (36 votes)
Ace Frehley: Anomaly

Sound — 8
While Gene Simmons has been prominent on the reality show circuit and Paul Stanley has dabbled in artwork, theater, and a solo album over the past decade, Ace Frehley was always one to keep a relatively low profile. It's been 20 years since his last full album of original material (Trouble Walkin'), and the iconic KISS guitarist decided it was about time to throw his hat back in the ring. Frehley told Billboard Magazine that before recording his latest record Anomaly that he dissected his 1978 self-titled album in order to regain that same mindset. That particular record was a fan favorite, and Frehley has done a pretty phenomenal job of recreating the same sort of vibe.

Just like his former bandmates in KISS, Frehley is a savvy one, and he isn't trying to recreate the wheel with Anomaly. He's created quite a few songs in the vein of KISS, but there are a few surprises along the way as well. As the primary writer and producer for the majority of the material, it's an impressive and novel comeback. Apparently this was the first time that Frehley worked with Pro Tools, too, but the digital aspect doesn't ever affect the general raw quality that you receive with the 12 tracks.

The opening track Foxy & Free is an apt introduction and good representation of Frehley a pretty straightforward, power-chord driven rocker. That same format pops up in the songs Pain In The Neck, Too Many Faces, and the reflective but fun It's A Great Life. The Sweet cover Fox on the Run was the one track co-produced by Marti Frederiksen, and it's just an all-around likeable number that is a perfect fit for the benign Frehley.

The biggest surprises come in Genghis Khan, which could be considered the big epic track. The song highlights Frehley's ability to think outside of the box, not to mention his picking skills. Starting out with a clean-picked intro, it morphs into an Asian-influenced melody. Genghis Khan transitions into a more sonic-sounding rock tune shortly after the intro (with only one two lyrical lines repeated during the course of the song), but it's still a fascinating addition. You also get two amazing, yet contrasting instrumental tracks on Anomaly (Space Bear and Fractured Quantum) that once again prove that Frehley is about more than just the KISS faade.

Lyrics — 7
Frehley doesn't try to put on any airs in terms of the lyrical content, and it's refreshing to know that he's not afraid to dip back into themes about outer space. Sure there are some cheesier numbers like Foxy & Free and Sister that don't feel all that original, but Frehley also delivers a track closer to the heart. A Little Below Angels discusses his struggle with alcohol (Alcohol was a friend of mine; It almost got me dead; I crashed some cars; Got into a fight; Some things I now regret), which is particularly significant given that the album release date marks the 3rd year of his sobriety.

Overall Impression — 8
Whatever you might expect Anomaly to sound like, you're probably not far off. It's someone standard, but there is something incredibly catchy and likeable about the material. Frehley's vocal delivery has always been a little quirky, but he owns it. A track like It's A Great Life might not be the most interesting because it's basically your run-of-the-mill chord-driven rock tune, but Genghis Khan, Fractured Quantum, and Space Bear are memorable and creative highlights that will keep the Frehley fans satisfied.

16 comments sorted by best / new / date

    MT in Austin
    Good review. I have to agree. This album is nothing new but that's not what you're looking for from Ace. This release sounds like it would have been a great follow-up to Frehley's Comet. Actually, it sounds like it would have been a great follow-up to the first solo album.
    This album actually changed my opinion of Ace.Never really liked him.Always considered him a second rate guitarist. Always considered KISS to be juvinile(I liked Kiss when I was 13 than I grew up.)But this record is great,sounds very up to date not stuck in the 70's or 80's.Shows great progression, A+. Good job Ace, you won over a new fan with this outstanding record.
    You left the tune "Outer Space" outta the review. Other than that, i likey muchy!
    Goog review. Awful cover! Reminds me something like a power drink can (?) Will be checking this album soon. Sounds like a good one in a yaer that already has been great musically speaking (for me at the very least).
    DO NOT buy this album if you're looking for a KISS sound. otherwise: Give it a listen
    i have the album and i have go admit its the most interesting album there lol. i'm surprised that the dude didn't mention about the built in pyramid that you can make from the album
    i noticed if you look on the album the eye things or whatever are the S's from the KISS logo
    This album is great, but some songs a bit too air-y and christian, like Change the World and A Little Below the Angels.
    if you're looking to scratch your Kiss itch - this is the real deal - not Sonic Bomb... Ace did it again - with this solo LP, blew the rest of Kiss out of the water - so Ace in the best of all ways - best work since his 78 LP and a must have for anyone who digs his Kiss years - get it for sure! ) Dan
    It's funny that Ace had to go back and dissect his KISS solo album to regain whatever it is he thought he had on that album. Anomoly is nothing like that album or any of the Frehley's Comet stuff. Anomoly is by far the heaviest album Ace has ever done. For the longest time,Ace never grew as a guitar player and was forever stuck in 1978. But on this album,Ace shows real maturation and brings an updated sound and style, while maintaining some of his original flare. What I dont understand is when or how did Ace get the impression that the original "fractured" was such a musical masterpiece that we as fans needed/demanded multiple incarnations of this song over the years. What a waste of a song slot. Especially considering that 4 tracks before you reach the great "fractured quantum", is the track "space bear". Which also happens to be an instumental. "space bear" however, is a good track, has fresh playing and is what i hope, the only "space bear" to appear on a Ace Frehley record, past,present and future. And although not an instrumental, Genghis Khan is as long as one and also very good track. With the exception of "fox on the run" and "fractured quantum",Anomoly is a good cd!
    Love the album, Ace has always stayed true to his own style. Cant get enough, play it all day and hope he does more in the futre. If fans dig deep enough you can find a lot of demo music on the net that has ties with this album..Sister has been around for a long time as has alot of the riffs on this record, being older (43) I love fox on the run as I am sure Sweet would also..
    Ace does a great job with this album. I love "Genghis Khan" the best. Great review!