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Articles Home » 1979 Articles » Kiss - 1979 Dynasty
Kiss - 1979 Dynasty

ALBUM: Dynasty
LABEL: Casablanca
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 1987, Casablanca, 812 770-2 * 1997, Mercury, 314 532 388-2


LINEUP: Paul Stanley - vocals, guitar * Gene Simmons - bass, vocals * Ace Frehley - vocals, guitar * Peter Criss - vocals, drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Was Made for Lovin' You * 02 2,000 Man * 03 Sure Know Something * 04 Dirty Livin' * 05 Charisma * 06 Magic Touch * 07 Hard Times * 08 X Ray Eyes * 09 Save Your Love


According to Gene Simmons, the decision to release solo albums by all four members of the band in 1978 was made to appease the increasingly unhappy Criss and Frehley. Both had delved into drinking and drugs and were allegedly tired of control freak Simmons, who made little secret of his disgust at the lifestyle choices made by the 'Cat' and 'Space Man'. Hoping to dissuade them from leaving the band Simmons appeased them with the solo album escapade, but in reality it was a bit of a dud, despite a few worthy tracks scattered amongst the debris of all four albums. When the band reconvened for 'Dynasty', Criss was in no shape to perform drum duties so was replaced for all but one track by Anton Fig. To be honest the album as a whole is uneven stylistically, even with a few classics on board. It just proved Kiss were unraveling, having hit their peak and slowly descending.

The Songs
Still their commercial power was displayed by 'I Was Made For Loving You' which remains one of their biggest hits, much to Simmons disgust as he once stated in Metal Forces 'that isn't Kiss'. It's undeniably catchy, even with the bouncy disco treatment and shows definite AOR leanings melody wise. Frehley gets in the first of his three vocal efforts with Rolling Stones cover '2000 Man', perhaps a bit too comical for its own good with Ace's overblown delivery. Given the success of his solo album the band probably felt a need to play on this by including more tracks by the wayward guitarist. The AOR quotient is given a boost by the precision like melody of Stanley and Vini Poncia's 'Sure Know Something', a stunning statement in my opinion. This is classic late 70's melodic rock which surpasses almost anything from Stanley's proficient solo expedition. The sole effort from Criss is another highlight, 'Dirty Livin' yet another melodic treat, again featuring slight disco elements. This demonstrates what a great vocalist the man could be and it's a shame things went downhill for the much criticised drummer. Finally a Simmons fronted track appears with 'Charisma', a simple hook driven rocker with enduring appeal. It has a pop-like quality to the chorus, but there's ample guitar work to back it up. Moving back to pure AOR is Stanley's 'Magic Touch', who more than ever showed where the real quality was coming from within the band. Changing tack once again, Frehley's 'Hard Times' is a hard rock cut that wouldn't have been out of place on the earlier albums, terrific raw material. Coming and going without much fanfare is the Simmons penned 'X-Ray-Eyes' and Frehley's 'Save Your Love', an adequate pair of traditional Kiss anthems, but not in the same league as the 1974-77 period.

In Summary
The album shifted the expected millions but the resulting tour didn't fare as well and for the first time since the early days Kiss started playing to half-empty halls. The novelty it seemed had started wearing off and once Criss left the band in 1980 the first era of Kiss was over. In hindsight I think this is a good album and despite a few instances of the usual filler I've played it more over the years than many of their supposed classics like 'Destroyer'. Clearly the band was in transition but the music was still first-class, although try convincing a bunch of hacks like Rolling Stone of that.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on September 29 2011 14:20:28
Very good review. I recall interviewing Desmond Child about his involvement with the lead track and being amused with his statement that he and Paul had written it and - allegedly - that 'somehow' Vini Poncia got a credit on there too....
#2 | jefflynnefan on September 29 2011 23:18:51
The second half of this album is a snoozefest but I like the first half. 'Sure Know Something' is my favorite here as well. There is a demo of a Peter Criss song on YT that didn't make the album in which I thought was really good.
#3 | sabace on December 21 2011 20:55:07
the review is honest enough but I disagree with comments on some of the songs . I think this is a
great lp . By the way stanley and frehleys solo lps
are as good as anything I have ever heard .
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