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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Kiss

Psycho Circus

Review by Gary Hill

The first studio album from the reunited classic Kiss lineup, Psycho Circus is a respectable and entertaining release that seems to strive to combine the older Kiss sound with newer leanings. It does this quite effectively. Other than a few cliched moments, this is quite an inspired and entertaining album. Kiss is Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. The CD is an enhanced disc containing a screensaver, graphics and the software for Kiss` new online service.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Psycho Circus
Twisted circus music appropriately begins this cut. A ready made opening number, this is a strong rocker in the older Kiss mode. Thematically, the lyrics are similar to the Alice Cooper standard "Hello Hooray". "I`ve been waiting here to be your guide, So come, Reveal the secrets that you keep inside, Get up, No one leaves until the night is done, The amplifiers start to hum, The carnival has just begun".
Within
Sound effects and very psychedelic guitar lead to a powerful rocker that combines the classic Kiss sound with a very fresh texture. This one really grows on the listener. Far from generic, Within features an intriguing instrumental break.
I Pledge Allegiance to the State of Rock and Roll
This stripped down rocker in the `70`s Kiss style is rather cliched.
Into the Void
This fun and energetic rocker has some elements of the Frehley compositions on The Elder, and is a very competent cut.
We Are One
In an early `70`s acoustic based rock mode, this cut features a very positive lyrical message. "Hold your head up high, And let your spirit fly, Keep hope alive yes deep inside, And your dreams will never die".
You Wanted the Best
This strong track in the classic Kiss tradition is marred only by considerably cliched lyrics. The number features an odd spoken word segment with intentionally hokey British accents.
Raise Your Glasses
A strong cut, this song is another that seems to merge the older Kiss sounds with less hard-edged `70`s pop rock.
I Finally Found My Way
A very pretty track, the only real complaint about this time is that it may be a bit over orchestrated.
Dreamin'
Another effective cut, this is a strong rocker in the classic Kiss mode.
Journey of 1000 Years
This dramatic piece is my favorite on the album. It is a powerful number with strong prog leanings. "Did you sleep without dreams, Did you fly without wings".
 
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