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Various Artists

Pure Fire - The Ultimate Kiss Tribute

Review by Gary Hill

This is a reissue of an older Kiss tribute album. It was originally called "Spin the Bottle," and I remember seeing it around that first time out. This time it's been released as a double disc set with a DVD of interviews with the various musicians on the set. That's a pretty cool addition, and the album itself is screaming hot. The line up is amazing with everyone from Lemmy Kilmister, Dee Snider, Tommy Shaw and more (in fact, those three names don't even come close to scratching the surface) putting in appearances. While I don't consider Kiss to be a metal band (although they have some songs that qualify), that angle gets upped enough here to land this under heavy metal as far as I'm concerned. However you classify this, though, it's a great disc for hard rock fans and particularly Kiss fans.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Detroit Rock City - Dee Snider, Doug Aldrich, Marco Mendoza, John Tempesta
This is my favorite Kiss song. They power it in here with a lot of style. It's a bit more metal than the original version of the track is. Dee Snider does a good job on the vocals. They bring a bit of a technical metal edge to this a lot of the time. That works pretty well. Yet they stay out of the way and just go with the magic where it's important, particularly when it comes time for that killer guitar solo.
Love Gun - Tommy Shaw, Steve Lukather, Tim Bogert, Jay Schellen

I have always loved the guitar riff that paints the main picture of this cut. They preserve that quite nicely while bringing a different flavor to the number at the same time. This rocks in its original version, but it rocks in a different way here. I like Tommy Shaw's vocal performance on this a lot. It brings a bit of a Styx edge to the cut. I really love the guitar soloing on this thing, too. Steve Lukather is on fire, but I guess that fits with the new title of the album.

Cold Gin - Mark Slaughter, Ryan Roxy, Robben Ford, Paul Soussan, Steve Riley
There is a real metal edge brought to this old school Kiss classic. The original comes from the early era of the band. The raunch and roll edge that is brought here suits the track. It's not my favorite piece here, but it is a good updating of a classic Kiss rocker.
King of the Night Time World - Chris Jericho, Rich Ward, Mike Inez, Fred Coury
I'm not a big fan of this Kiss tune, but they really make it into something special here. They elevate it into a powerhouse metal stomper.
I Want You - Kip Winger, Paul Gilbert, Greg Bissonette
Here's another of my favorite Kiss songs. They do a great job here, but it isn't a huge change from the original. They pull of the mellower melodic section and harder edged movement with equal precision. The original of this was quite metallic, and they do amp that up a bit, but this is generally very faithful, although they do bring some new (and potent) stuff on the dramatic build-up section.
God of Thunder - Buzz Osbourne, Bruce Kulick, Blasko, Carmine Appice
Now the metal grind that opens this is a nice change from the original version of the song. This thing really rocks like crazy. They play it closer to some of the more fiery live performances of the cut, but this feels even meaner than that. One of the things I think a lot of people miss about this tune is the groove to it. As a bass player perhaps I'm more in-tune with that kind of groove than a lot of people are. I think they capture that even better here than Kiss did. The guitar solo section is screaming hot, too.
Calling Dr. Love - Page Hamilton, Mike Porcaro, Greg Bissonette
I love the metal edge they bring to this number. I'm not overly crazy about the vocal performance on the tune, though. The backing vocals work, as do those on the chorus in general. I'm just not convinced on the verses. Still, this rocks and works pretty well. The powerhouse jam at the end is scorching hot.
Shout It out Loud - Lemmy Kilmister, Jennifer Batten, Bob Kulick, Samantha Maloney
Now, this is probably the least faithful performance here. It's also fresh and just plain cool. The tune is a lot of fun, and I love the guitar solo.
Parasite - Dug Pinnick, Bob Kulick, John Alderete, Vinnie Colaiuta
Here we get another from the very early era of Kiss. I've always loved the heavy bass sound of this tune. They capture that well. They bring more of a metal edge to the song construction at the same time. This is another that wanders a bit further from the original performances a bit more than some of the rest do. It has some pretty crazed stuff built into it at times.
Strutter - Phil Lewis, Gilby Clarke, Jeff Pilson, Bobby Rock
The vocal performance on this really works especially well. While this is fairly faithful, it does have more of a metal edge than the original did. Yet, it still captures all the magic of the original.
I Stole Your Love - Robin McAuley, C.C. DeVille, Tony Franklin, Aynsley Dunbar
Another Kiss song that always had a metallic edge (and another of my favorites) that metal focus seems to get ramped up on this version. The vocals are just about perfection here. They turn in a twist on the closing section, and it is screaming hot and high energy.
 
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