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"Hotter Than Hell" is the 2nd studio album by American hard rock band, Kiss. It was released in 1974 on Casablanca Records and produced by Kenny Kerner & Richie Wise. The line-up for the album was Paul Stanley (vocals/guitar), Ace Frehley (guitar), Gene Simmons (bass/vocals) and Peter Criss (drums).
Producers Richie Wise and Kenny Kerner moved to Los Angeles sometime after the debut Kiss album. Since they were chosen to produce "Hotter Than Hell", the band moved to LA to work with them. Musically darker than the debut due to the lyrics of some songs, and the way it was produced, this album has a different sound to it than the first.
The album art is Japanese manga style artwork of the band, Japanese writing which means jigoku no sakebi, which translates to "The shout of Hell" in English. The front cover also features the Japanese symbol for chikara, which translates to the word "power" in English. The back features individual shots of the band and one picture of all four members in makeup.
"Got to Choose" is filled with power chords and raw rock power. With great verses and backup vocals, it will keep you singing along while you play air guitar. This one is a rocker with a melody to it. All in all, it is a great opener for the album.
"Parasite" is one of the hardest tracks on the album. Ace Frehley was originally meant to be on lead vocals, but he wasn't comfortable with his singing ability at that time, so Gene Simmons was given the role. Keeping the energy up, this one fits well with Gene Simmons' voice.
"Goin' Blind" is somewhat controversial, lyrically, given that it is about a 93 year old man and a 16 year old girl who are in a relationship, offered as a mid-tempo, nearly hypnotic song. It has been said that the line "I'm 93, you're 16" wasn't included in the lyrics when it was originally written, but was suggested during recording. On the song there is a short but astounding Ace Frehley guitar solo that stands out as one of the great moments of the album.
"Hotter Than Hell" is the age old tale of a man lusting after a married woman, set to great guitars and crashing drums. Paul Stanley has said he more or less re-wrote Free's "All Right Now" because of how much the song meant to him and the fact he was a big fan of the band.
"Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll" is one of the few Kiss songs to have had the lyrics written before the music. Paul Stanley had been working on a riff, and the lyrics were written based on it, by Gene Simmons while on break from the non music job he had at the time.
"All the Way" starts with an incredible opening riff and some fun cowbell included in the drums. With an edgy sound to it, this one will cause you to pump your fist in the air as you sing along. Lyrically, it is an almost last warning to the woman to quit treating him the way she does, or he is gone.
"Watchin' You" is an underrated rocker with a great riff. The catchy chorus will keep you singing along. The blistering opening riff starts the song off an the energy continues through the whole song, with incredible drumming to go along with it.
"Mainline" features Peter Criss on lead vocals, and has a memorable chorus and riff. It is laid back, but you can feel the barely restrained power wanting to break free. Another song where the drums are accented by cowbell, this one keeps the pace of the album moving right along. Listening to this one, you can't help but wonder why Criss didn't do far more lead vocals. His raspy voice is well suited for rock.
"Comin' Home" is touching, sweet and almost romanticises life on the road with someone you love waiting for you at home. While it slows the pace of the album drastically, it shows Kiss can do a love song with a rock feel that keeps it from being wimpy.
"Strange Ways" offers some very loud, very heavy Ace Frehley guitar work. Drums and bass combine to make a rhythmic heavy, almost war dance sound. The intro is heavy, dark and almost foreboding. With Peter Criss taking lead vocals once again and an astounding solo from Ace, this song is a sure winner.
In summary, while this is not my favourite Kiss album, it is still a good album, and one I will always keep it in my collection. The songs have the Kiss 'feel' to them, but overall I feel there is a little something lacking compared to other albums they have put out. I didn't feel as though I wasted money buying it, but it left me wanting a little 'something more' when I compared it to nearly every other Kiss album. Musically it is fine, but some of the songs have far too simple lyrics and rely too much on the chorus being repeated to get it though. Overall, I feel the production held it back because simple lyrics can be overlooked if an album is produced correctly. I would still recommend it to anyone looking to get into Kiss' music, or anyone who is a rock fan. It is good for what it is, a second album. Quite a few bands get everything right the first time, then the second album isn't as good, and this album is one of those. That isn't to say it is unworthy of buying or listening to. I quite enjoy it, just not as much as others.
1. Got to Choose
3. Goin' Blind
4. Hotter Than Hell
5. Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll
6. All the Way
7. Watchin' You
9. Comin' Home
10. Strange Ways
My rating: 6/10
The second studio recording from Kiss released in 1974. The recording (also recorded in three weeks) has the same essence to it as their first album KISS. The album contains the classic trackss: Got To Choose (straight rocker), Parasite (heavy and dark), Hotter Than Hell (a Kiss anthem), Comin' Home (very catchy number) and Watchin' You (fast mean rocker). So if you liked the first album you will love this one. Hotter Than Hell is a better produced album, brought to you by the same Kerner & Wise team. The album has a Japanese style front cover and a collage montage of the four band members make-up on the back. Also included is four photographs, depicting each member in there persona (image/alter ego).
This was the 3rd KISS album released in 1974 to (let's face it) not very good critical reviews. Their previous 2 albums had also been slated and it wasn't until the release of their 4th album 'Alive!' that the respect they were due, began to arrive - by the truckload! However, 'Hotter Than Hell' contains some great classics that are still being played today and if the truth be known, they still sound fresh even though they are over 20 years old. 'Parasite', 'Let Me Go Rock 'n' Roll', and 'Watchin' You' are just 3 tracks which are KISS classics, although if you compare then to the live versions of the same songs, they sound quite slow and heavy. It's no wonder that they went huge on the release of 'Alive!' as it shows (even on vinyl) the energy of a KISS live show. This is one album from the early days that everyone should own.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Got to Choose
3 Goin' Blind
4 Hotter Than Hell
5 Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll
6 All the Way
7 Watchin' You
9 Comin' Home
10 Strange Ways