Alive! Review

artist: KISS date: 01/20/2014 category: compact discs
KISS: Alive!
Release Date: Sep 10, 1975
Genre: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
Label: Casablanca
Number Of Tracks: 16
"Alive!" was the album that catapulted Kiss from cult attraction to mega-superstars. It was their first Top Ten album, remaining on the charts for 110 weeks and eventually going quadruple platinum.
 Sound: 10
 Lyrics: 9
 Overall Impression: 10
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reviews (2) 4 comments vote for this album:
overall: 10
Alive! Reviewed by: JackWhite1988, on september 14, 2006
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: In the mid '70s, Kiss was the band that parents didn't want their kids listening to. Their outrageous costumes, stage performances and songs of promiscuous nature launched a campaign known as "Mothers Against Kiss". This didn't stop Kiss from being the hottest band in the world and heroes to a million kids who wanted to hear something different and not their older brothers Led Zeppelin and Beatles records. Kiss by the time this double live album was released had released 3 studio albums. It was these three albums that started a cult following. Kiss had not had much radio play at all prior to the release of Alive! and the record companies were starting to lose interest in backing the band. The band decided to do a live album which was a popular form of making records during this time. The deal was this album either did good or Kiss were to find another record label. The album ended up being their first Top 10 album and stayed on the charts for 110 weeks straight eventually selling 4 million copies. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are exceptional for the time period in which they were released. Atleast a few of these songs were considered to be based upon "taboo" subjects and caused a stir when kids brought the records back home to their conservative parents. Now they are considered classic rock standards. Songs from an era of rock music that pushed the envelope and helped play a role in the construction of metal music. A concept I always like about bands is when all members sing and write their own signature songs. This album doesn't showcase Ace Frehley or Peter Criss as much as later albums would but Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons share lead vocal duties for the majority of this album. Stanley has the high pitched, stereotypical rock wail and Simmons provides the dark, dare I say "demonic" side of Kiss. // 10

Overall Impression: As mentioned earlier, this was the big break for Kiss. After three studio albums it took a live album to make them stars. Many argue that's why Kiss isn't merited as serious musicians because they were known for their live performance. The music of Kiss should not be dismissed, their brand of rock is a commercially potent mix of anthemic, fist-pounding hard rock driven by sleek hooks and ballads powered by loud guitars, cloying melodies, and sweeping strings. This style would serve as the foundation for many pop-metal bands that dominated the '80s. // 10

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overall: 9.3
Alive! Reviewed by: Firehawk2410, on january 20, 2014
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: If you really want to know in a nutshell why KISS is "Rock Hall worthy," listen to "Alive!". This is the album that started it all. In 1975, KISS needed a breakthrough. Their albums were not selling, their record label was about to go under, and their concert goers were disappointed with the sound of the studio albums. The only solution? Record a live album. However, live albums were considered death in the industry at the time, so KISS needed the album to sound fantastic. They brought in producer and audio engineer Eddie Kramer (who worked with acts like Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix), and the result is about the best sound possible for 1975. What you hear is KISS at their best, performing high-energy upbeat versions of their original material. The guitars are very loud and overdriven, and Ace Frehley shines the most with his superb soloing, which is why "Alive!" is known as a big influence on guitar players. However, some of the tracks have additional vocal overdubbing and some mistakes fixed in the studio, which draw back from the live feel, but it still captures KISS' real sound nonetheless. // 10

Lyrics: I will admit that KISS' lyrics are nowhere near fantastic, but they at least make sense and they flow well. The subject of women, love, sex, and the rock and roll lifestyle are all prominent, even if covered with figurative language. As with most KISS albums, there is no profanity, even though it is a live album. Also, the vocals sound superb even in the raw live setting. Gene Simmons and Peter Criss make great vocal contributions, but Paul Stanley's voice stands out the most in the band. A small disappointment to me was that Ace Frehley was too afraid to sing lead or backing vocals at the time, so he is the only member whose voice is missing from the album (although he instead lets himself be known through his guitar). // 8

Overall Impression: In my opinion, this is the best KISS album overall, and the best live album I've ever heard. It captures the energy and the raw and unfiltered hard rock sound that made KISS so great in their prime. The most famous song from this album is "Rock and Roll All Nite," which features a memorable improvised guitar solo by Ace Frehley. Some of the other signature songs that come to life in the live setting are "Cold Gin," "Deuce," "She," "Parasite," and "Let Me Go Rock 'N' Roll." This album by far blows away their studio albums, and is only rivaled by its sequel, "Alive II." The standout aspect is that of Ace Frehley's guitar skills, which makes him the star of "Alive!" even though he does not sing any lead vocals on the album. The sound quality is superb and shows the true talent and nature of KISS before other parties began to force the band in the wrong directions. "Alive!" set the bar for other live albums to come, and it is the reason I continue to play the guitar today. // 10

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