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KISS - Kiss Symphony: Alive IV review


33 users:
Band: KISS
Album: Kiss Symphony: Alive IV
Release date: 2003

01. Deuce
02. Strutter
03. Let Me Go Rock n' Roll
04. Lick it Up
05. Calling Dr. Love
06. Psycho Circus
07. Beth
08. Forever
09. Goin' Blind
10. Sure Know Something
11. Shandi
12. Detroit Rock City
13. King Of The Night Time World
14. Do You Love Me
15. Shout it Out Loud
16. God Of Thunder
17. Love Gun
18. Black Diamond
19. Great Expectations
20. I Was Made For Lovin' You
21. Rock And Roll All Nite

Some bands really lend themselves to orchestral accompaniment. Their music has the same kind of grandeur, complexity, and bombastic soundscape-y-ness most people associate with classical music. A lot of heavy metal has blatant classical influences, so these bands come ready-made for symphonic arrangements. I am talking about bands like Deep Purple, Yngwie Malmsteen, and probably Wintersun, if we are lucky. In short, artists that are absolutely nothing like Kiss. Not that Kiss is inherently inferior (that is a different discussion), but they in no way benefit from having several dozen other instruments behind them adding flourishes to "Love Gun" and "God Of Thunder."

Although there are plenty of notable exceptions to be had, Kiss's music in general has always been fair-to-middling. Putting a dozen violins, a few trumpets, and some woodwinds over a mid-paced, three-chord love song does not turn it into a masterpiece, no matter how many times you do it over the course of a single concert. Thankfully, Kiss varies the structure of the performance, if not that of the music itself. The first six songs are performed by Kiss alone, loud and electric as always. Paul Stanley's voice seems to be in about the same shape as it has always been, though Gene Simmons sounds as if he is phoning it in this time around. Tracks seven through eleven are performed acoustically with the accompaniment of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and if you had not already guessed, the kinds of Kiss songs that lend themselves to this arrangement also suck. "Goin' Blind" is enjoyable, but you could easily bypass this section of the concert, because it sounds soft, sappy, cheesy, dated, and all-around lame. The orchestra does not change the quality of the material.

The last ten songs are the real attraction of this album, so it would seem; Kiss in all their glory (or as much as they can have sans Ace Frehley), plugged back in and with the Orchestra backing them on some of their best tracks. This section meets with varying degrees of success. I really hate children's choirs, so the presence of one on "Great Expectations" does not impress me. "Detroit Rock City" and "Love Gun" have absolutely no business whatsoever being toned down like this; they only suffer from it. "Black Diamond" and "I Was Made For Lovin' You" do actually sound excellent in this new fashion. However, that seems to be more of a fluke than anything else.

Overall, this was not really the best idea Kiss has ever had. It is better than some, to be sure, but Kiss is just not the sort of band that makes you think, "Gee, wouldn't it be cool if they performed with an orchestra? It would add a whole new dimension to their music!" It doesn't. They play simple, standard rock'n'roll. Their music is basic and predictable, and while that is not always a bad thing, it is meant to be enjoyed in its purest form.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 6
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 7

Written by ScreamingSteelUS | 10.12.2012


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 20 users
10.12.2012 - 22:28
Ace Frawley
The Spaceman
Agree with your closing comments. And I like your reference to the lack of Ace.
The sun shines over The Fool...

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