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Under The Radar: Kiss, Asylum (1985)


Paul Stanley - rhythm guitar, vocals, bass guitar

Gene Simmons - bass guitar, vocals

Eric Carr - drums, percussion, backing vocals

Bruce Kulick - lead guitar, backing vocals


1.King Of The Mountain 4:17 2. Any Way You Slice It 4:02

3. Who Wants To Be Lonely 4:01 4.Trial By Fire 3:25 5.I'm Alive 3:43

6. Love's A Deadly Weapon 3:29 7.Tears Are Falling 3:55 8.Secretly Cruel 3:41

9.Radar For Love 3:25 10.Uh! All Night 4:03

By the time Asylum came out, Kiss was on a roll; Creatures of the Night was their hardest rocking and most consistent album since Destroyer, then Kiss took off the make-up and released another solid record with Lick It Up. Animalize continued the band's momentum with the monster hit single, Heavens on Fire. It looked like Kiss had finally recovered from losing founding members Peter Criss and Ace Frehley as well as releasing three studio albums (Dynasty, Unmasked, Music From The Elder) that alienated nearly every last member of their once large and loyal Kiss army.

Of course, being a Kiss fan, I rushed to my local record store and picked up Asylum. My very first memory when I got to the record store was how I did a double take when I saw the album plastered everywhere, on the floors, on the walls, you name it. And then, that this was one of the ugliest album covers I’d ever seen. It looked like Andy Warhol vomited a rainbow on the cover. To this day, I still can’t stand how the cover looks.

As for the album, I was initially disappointed with it. I thought that it sounded like it was rushed to completion in order to keep up the momentum generated from Animalize.

Don’t get me wrong, Asylum has its moments; the thunderous album opener: King of The Mountain, the underrated melodic gem: Who Wants To Be Lonely and of course the Kiss classic: Tears Are Falling. Gene Simmons was a no-show for most of the recording of the record, and just like Asylums’ predecessor, the Simmon’s tracks are decent at best. Although I do have a soft spot for Trial By Fire.

In my opinion, Paul Stanley should have called Michael James Jackson back to help produce the record. He did such a great job with Creatures and Lick It Up that I could only imagine what he would have done with Asylum.

It’s taken awhile, but I’ve grown to appreciate Asylum; it has the raw sound that is very reminiscent of the band’s classic era records.

What really hurt Asylum’s momentum however, was that Kiss wasn’t Kiss anymore. Kiss seemed to be unsure, once again, of where they belonged in this new musical landscape. The album cover, their clothes, it all seemed out of place. It looked like Paul and Gene ran into Poison’s tour bus and stole their clothes.

Still, Asylum has its moments and deserves a second listen. By no means a masterpiece, but it sure is a fun listen. For Kiss completists only.

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