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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Kiss

Alive III

Review by Gary Hill

This is the third live album by Kiss, but I bet you figured that out from the title. The disc was recorded during their non-makeup faze and showcases a harder edged version of the band. It’s got a lot of the 1980’s metal material on show. I’m not crazy about that aspect because I think Kiss lost a lot of their originality and character during that time. Of course, with live versions of “Creatures of the Night,” “Domino” and “I Still Love You,” you really can’t complain. This is a very good album. It’s just not up to the level of the first two live Kiss discs.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Creatures Of The Night

Keyboards lead off here as the crowd goes nuts. Of course, those keys are just serving to allow the band to get ready to hit the stage. They fire out in a smoking live version of “Creatures of the Night.” I’ve always loved this song and this is a killer rendition.

Deuce
It’s amazing to me how little this song has changed over the years. To my ears this live version feels just like the version on the first live album. It’s a Kiss classic and a great tune.
I Just Wanna
This is basically from the hair metal era of Kiss. It’s a good tune, but for my money not up to the same level as the cuts that opened the set. Of course, the main thing about this song is the silly little double entendre of “I just wanna fu…/I just wanna fu…/I just wanna fu…/I just wanna forget you.” While it’s clever, it’s also pretty sophomoric. They even include a crowd singalong of that chorus. There’s also a weird little mellower section that feels like it could have come from some of Ozzy’s 1980’s records. Kiss is just better than this track. 
Unholy
Now, this is more like it. This uber-heavy rocker is quite a cool one. It’s got a great rubbery, heavy groove and just plain rocks!
Heaven's On Fire
Here’s another from the 1980’s hair metal era. I love Paul Stanley’s vocal intro, but this cut has never really blown me away. 
Watchin' You
Now, this track, as opposed to the version of “Deuce,” feels like it’s gotten heavier over the years. It’s always had an extremely tasty riff and this version just feels meaner. 
Domino
I’ve always loved this cut. It’s based on a killer riff and it’s just so gritty and cool. It’s not like the Kiss of old in a lot of ways, but yet it’s so tasty! Of course, it does earn a parental warning. 
I Was Made For Lovin' You
Here’s Kiss’ disco hit. The thing is, it’s a great tune, disco or not. Only Kiss could do disco and have it rock out this well. 
I Still Love You
This power ballad has always been a favorite of mine. It’s just so potent. The music and the vocals work to convey the emotion incredibly well. This live version makes the set worth owning by itself.
Rock And Roll All Nite
Here’s one of the most classic Kiss tunes. It hasn’t changed much over the years, yet it still, somehow, feels fresh. 
Lick It Up
Another of the killer newer Kiss tunes, this was the title track off the first non-makeup album. Taking off the makeup was a gimmick in a way, but the album was strong enough that it didn’t need it. This was a tune that combined a more modern hard rocking sound with classic Kiss. 
Forever
Here’s another balladic cut. It’s definitely heavily based in the 1980’s pop metal school of rock. This is not bad, but quite generic. 
I Love It Loud
This hard rocker is another strong one. It still holds up pretty well and has a well rounded catchy approach with some strong riffs. There’s a singalong on the cut. 
Detroit Rock City
I’ve always loved this song. I’d have to say that this version isn’t my favorite. That said, the guitar solo on this track is killer (and always has been). 
God Gave Rock 'N' Roll To You II
Here Kiss covers the Argent song. It’s a good version. It’s just not all that special. 
Star Spangled Banner
Here’s Kiss’ take on the national anthem of the United States. You really can’t do this without being compared to Jimi Hendrix, and Kiss’ version isn’t Hendrix. It’s good, but nothing all that special.
 
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