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Kiss - 1984 Animalize

ALBUM: Animalize
LABEL: Mercury
SERIAL: 822 495-1 M-1
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1998, Mercury, 314 558 859-2


LINEUP: Paul Stanley - guitars, vocals * Gene Simmons - bass, vocals * Mark St John - guitars * Eric Carr - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 I've Had Enough (Into The Fire) * 02 Heavens On Fire * 03 Burn Bitch Burn * 04 Get All You Can Take * 05 Lonely Is The Hunter * 06 Under The Gun * 07 Thrills In The Night * 08 While The City Sleeps * 09 Murder In High Heels


After removing their makeup in 1983 Kiss found themseleves selling albums and concert tickets again with that years 'Lick It Up' album quickly going platinum, a status that had not befallen its predesessors 'Unmasked', The Elder' and the classic 'Creatures Of The Night'. Lineup changes were at hand again as Vinnie Vincent was fired due to 'misconduct', his place taken by Mark St John. Kiss continued with the heavier direction they had assumed in 1982, but there was an easing of more melodic numbers amongst the more frantic fare. The album was a chart success, top twenty on both sides of the Atlantic, further evidence of Kiss' rightful decision to shed the makeup.

The Songs
Kiss were well into the heavy metal phase of their career, reaffirming it with opener 'I've Had Enough (Into The Fire)' and its heavy riff attack. Stanley's vocals were approaching peak status, impassioned with the positive lyrical content! Single 'Heavens On Fire' is typical saucy Kiss material, with the raunchy rhythms and lyrics a firm band staple. The memorable hook made it one of 80's Kiss' better known hits. Simmons tears it up with 'Burn Bitch Burn' which moves menacingly and contains the great line 'I'm gonna put my log in your fireplace!' 'Get All You Can Take' is another 'stand up for yourself' anthem, very solid, as is 'Lonely Is The Hunter', mid paced, more hard AOR. Perhaps Kiss' definitive metal statement 'Under The Gun' roars through, with plenty of flash from St John (I presume) and a 100 mph backbeat. Live it was unbeatable, leaving the already impressive studio version for dead. By contrast 'Thrills In The Night' is open mouthed AOR, the chorus all dramatics. Melodic as you like, the sound of true professionals. A pair of Simmons tunes caps it off, 'While The City Sleeps' and 'Murder In High Heels', yet more classy melodic hard rock, and the sound of a band on a roll.

In Summary
Kiss was undoubtedly at their peak in 1984, indeed from 1982-87 they were the most consistent hard rock/metal outfit in the USA. The music was of the highest order, with barely a wasted track. Some of the live shows on the 'Animalize' tour rank as some of the most energetic live material I've heard, with a fire not too many bands can pull off. St John only lasted a few shows before falling victim to Reiters Syndrome. He would reappear later with White Tiger. St John was replaced by Bruce Kulick who would last until the original lineup reformed in 1996. You wont hear many say this, but 80's Kiss was far superior to the famed 70's version. They were heavier and more melodic, without relying on the makeup gimmick. 'Animalize' testifies to that, a product of a magical few years.

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#1 | sabace on March 22 2006 13:39:29
great review and I understand the 70s / 80s argument but kiss of the 70s is what its all about for me, just great rock n roll! as for the 80s a compilation of stanley's best songs would be one amazing lp sufficed to say keep SHOUTING IT OUT LOUD!
#2 | dangerzone on March 23 2008 13:03:05
I was looking at Kiss' setlist for the show they did in Wellington yesterday and it had to be the most dull, predictable, uninspired selection of songs from their catalogue. Same old stale shit, every worn out classic under the sun, identical to the last time they were in NZ in 96. It's obviously too late in the day for them to remember albums like 'Animalize', but I don't know anyone who is still holding out to hear 'Rock and Roll All Night', 'Shout It Out Loud', or 'Detroit Rock City'. Just the thought makes me cringe.
#3 | Eric on March 23 2008 15:47:12
KISS have gone the way of Styx, REO and numerous other band of yore that play to people of a certain age that just want to hear hits and nothing more. Their need or impetus to sell records is over. Been there, done that and when you are are guaranteed x amount of money to please a crowd by playing what the crowd wants, well....
#4 | jeffduran on March 24 2008 02:04:37
If they were to do something refreshing in my opinion is to perform 1980-1989 material without the make up. I guess thats what Paul's solo tours are for. thumbs down
#5 | dangerzone on March 24 2008 04:43:58
It's beyond argument now because the band is washed up in terms of age or anything meaningful, but the waste of so much great material from that 80-89 period you speak of has been one of Kiss' biggest blunders since they put the make up back on. I can honestly say I can live the rest of my life and never hear 'Shout It Out Loud' and I will be perfectly happy. I remember seeing them back in 2000 with my brother playing these songs and the reaction was non existent.
#6 | jeffduran on July 15 2008 05:15:33
Agree their best songs are from this period! The live show was great too.
#7 | reyno-roxx on July 26 2008 14:04:56
I can appreciate this album far more now than I did at the time. I thought this was actually a low point in the band's career on a musical level. They made better later records with 'Asylum', 'Hot In The Shade' and 'Revenge'. Nothing as good as the pre-78 stuff though.

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