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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Kiss - 1985 Asylum
Kiss - 1985 Asylum

ALBUM: Asylum
LABEL: Mercury
SERIAL: 826 099-1 M-1
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 1998, Mercury, 558 660-2


LINEUP: Paul Stanley - vocals, guitars * Gene Simmons - bass, vocals * Bruce Kulick - guitars * Eric Carr - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 King Of The Mountain * 02 Any Way You Slice It * 03 Who Wants To Be Lonely * 04 Trial By Love * 05 I'm Alive * 06 Love's A Deadly Weapon * 07 Tears Are Falling * 08 Secretly Cruel * 09 Radar For Love * 10 UH! All Night


Often dismissed in the Kiss canon of works, 'Asylum' appeared during a prolific period for the band following the removal of their makeup in 1983, despite shuffles in the guitar dept. Kulick made his first appearance in the studio, having replaced Mark St John on the 'Animalize' tour and would prove to be long lasting by Kiss standards, over a decade. 'Asylum' followed the excellence of 'Animalize', heavy and hook laden hard rock with some definite nods to speed driven metal. Simmons has said he wasn't totally committed to the band at the time due to his acting career, but his songs all work and the album was another significant seller.

The Songs
Kiss were veterans by this point, but still able to hang easily with the likes of Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, W.A.S.P etc and to most extents top them. Kulick added a raw edge to the guitar work here, evident on opener 'King Of The Mountain', an indication of the heights of perfection Kiss could take anthems to. 'Any Way You Slice It' is even more infectious, try not singing along to that chorus for instance! Most importantly it retains the heaviness of the 1982-84 period, which would not be retained in later years. The bombastic ballad styled 'Who Wants To Be Lonely' was a marginal hit and is slick AOR, although with more rawness than anything off 'Crazy Nights'. Simmons 'Trial By Fire' is the weakest track melodically, but quickly forgotten by the speed metal rampage of 'I'm Alive', which is among the fastest Kiss tracks ever, pure metal with brutal axe work. In the same vein is 'Love's A Deadly Weapon', an aggressive Simmons' composition, really sealing this albums reputation as a classic. 'Tears Are Falling' is the most remembered track, another hit ballad of sorts. 'Uh! All Night' begins with Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Day' riff and works into a special slice of Kiss raunch, another singalong frenzy.

In Summary
This was the end of an era for the band in my opinion, as no new studio album appeared in 1986 and 'Crazy Nights', despite being a brilliant AOR effort from 1987, saw the metal quotient disappear that had been so prevalent on the last four albums, which started wth 1981's 'The Elder'. Future albums never recaptured the spirit of the makeup-free years and once the original lineup reformed, Kiss were for all purposes done as a recording band, save for one flop in 1998. 'Asylum' often gets lost in the shuffle but I often wonder why as it's as polished and accomplished musically as anything they had ever done, remaining one of my favourite albums of the band to this day.

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#1 | jeffduran on June 02 2009 06:47:05
agree. 70's KISS musically is nothing compared to these great nuggets. The demos to this and CRAZY NIGHTS are some of the best KISS songs ever! Thanks again for the great review!
#2 | Eric on June 02 2009 13:55:08
Couldn't disagree more. I'll take the early KISS albums any day over this.
#3 | gdazegod on June 02 2009 14:46:16
Early Kiss was great, I'll sidestep the disco era, but The Elder and onwards was pretty good too.. though I still reckon it was more 'theatre' than anything else.. Now, it's all about merchandising.. isn't it Gene? secret
#4 | dangerzone on June 02 2009 16:11:06
I have to give it to early Kiss, they were one of the pioneers of American heavy metal, truly one of the greatest of all time. But I think their output from 82-87 was the best and most consistent of their career.
#5 | reyno-roxx on June 02 2009 17:23:40
This was one of the best non-make up era Kiss albums, but I too do prefer the original 70s releases, especially 'Destroyer', 'Rock And Roll Over' and the live albums.
#6 | jeffduran on June 05 2009 20:41:45
The 70's KISS is respected for the phenomenon it became but lets be honest most of the time the music and image came across superfluous. Paul's songwriting was in peak form in this period and without makeup the band had some of their best shows imo.
#7 | reyno-roxx on June 06 2009 11:30:11
Agreed on Paul's songwriting. He was essentially flying solo on the 80s records and they were a continuation on his 78 solo record.
#8 | Eric on June 06 2009 14:11:27
And his solo record I thought was the best of the four.
#9 | reyno-roxx on June 06 2009 17:36:30
Musically I'd go with that, but I liked all of them on their own merits - even Criss', because he was at least honest with the music he wanted to do on the record and his vocals suited the material.
I really liked Gene's album. It was fun picking up on all the special guests he had on the record and even now I'm still discovering what some of the more obscure names in his lengthy thanks list did in relation to Kiss or Gene.
I think that had Sean Delaney been involved in the production of Gene's poor excuse for a second solo album (which they cant give away in record stores for even a £1 these days) then it wouldn't have been the shocker it turned out to be. 'Asshole'? 'Bollocks' more like.....
#10 | Eric on June 06 2009 18:02:31
Yup, Gene's album was good too. 'Radioactive' got a lot of airplay in the NY area. The marketing behind the albums was huge but sometimes I wondered if they had been released separately with a couple months in between and/or artwork not reflective of the Kiss machine- they might have done better, but it was what it was.
#11 | sabace on August 26 2009 15:07:35
can't agree with jeffduran that 70s kiss was superfluos! I became aware of kiss through the alive lp in 77,
I did'nt like the make up at the time, but it grew on me . ALIVE is still my fave lp of all time alongside the montrose debut, van halen, trigger, ozz, journey, as to this lp it is well produced and kulick's guitar is exceptional! stanley's songs are the best as usual . Simmons actually holds his end up on this! .
zeppelin, nugent, aerosmith . ac/dc with Bon, etc .
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