OVERKILL's TOP TEN ALBUMS
Written By Jason Voorhees
You don't have to go any further than your own backyard to recognize this week's band pick for top albums. Well of course we are talking about those scrappy thrashers from northern New Jersey...OVERKILL. The band's name was created out of the ashes of Motorhead's 1979 classic album.
Overkill has produced quite a catalog over the years including 19 studio albums.
While the group has endured numerous lineup changes; lead vocalist Bobby "Blitz" Elsworth and bassist DD. Verni have gone the distance. In the early years the band paid its dues playing in the famed clubs of NY and NJ including L'Amours. However; it wasn't until legendary producer Johnny Zazula took the group under his wings that they truly made their mark; a mark that they ultimately shattered.
Overkill became one of the early pioneers of thrash; but while many thrash superstars faded, they were able to adapt to changing sounds while still incorporating their own signature style of thrash. Their diversity has enabled them to stay relevant in the metal mainstream for a very long time.
While the band has had its share of low points, most of their albums have been above average and enjoyed at least some success. Their hard work and dedication has made them one of the most enduring thrash bands of all-time. So without further ado, sit back break open a cold one and come along as we chronicle the very best of the best in Overkill's celebrated catalog.
10. 'W.F.O.' (1994)
Did someone say biker love! The band painted a picture of their motorcycle infatuation with the title wide fucking open....and open up the throttle they did. The bass was doused with miracle grow while the rest of the instruments were cranked up to ten. This is an in your face orgy of powerful energy. Overkill put the pedal to the metal and let their bikes burn rubber. The record was a major step forward from it's predecessor "I Hear Black" which many considered an epic fail. Most tracks have plenty of sizzle and there is very little filler. Standout tracks include "Fast Junkie", "Up to Zero", "Supersonic Hate" and the enigmatic closer..."Gasoline Dream." Overkill was back to form on this one point blank.
9. 'White Devil Armory' (2014)
The new millennium version of Overkill continued to kick ass and take names with this release. The hot streak was evident as soon as the records' second track kicked into overdrive. From that moment a hurricane of thrash metal urgency ensues and the results are spectacular. The album is littered with the signature "Blitz" energy and attitude while that DD. Verdi lava is rotten to the core! "Armorist" became an instant cult classic but its those deep cuts like "Down to the Bone", "PIG" and "King of the Rat Bastards" that classify this album as a stone cold killer. Its almost like Overkill was able to blend their 90's groove influenced style with a modern thrash style sound. Almost effortless.
8. 'Under The Influence' (1988)
This may be the band's most underrated record. While it's often forgotten or pushed aside when ranking the best of, it's fair to say that those people are merely misinformed. The truth is that this album does seem to suffer from a poor sound production which probably fuels the negativity. Nonetheless, 'Under the Influence' shows a creative maturity for the band both musically and stylistically. "Hello From the Gutter" is like Iron Maiden meets thrash. "Shred" and "Never Say Never" is thrash metal to the core through and through. "Brainfade" simply scatters the brain. While "End of the Line" is only the beginning of the line for Overkill's creative juices. One of my all-time favorites.
7. 'Wings Of War' (2019)
After taking a step back on this albums' predecessor (The Grinding Wheel), Overkill once again hit the reset button resulting in another slam dunk. As strongly as the band opened the decade with 'Ironbound', they closed the decade out with a hammer in the coffin. With new drummer Jason Bittner in toe, the wrecking crew was full on blast once again. From beginning to end this record is wide fucking open, a full throttle speed and thrash metal masterpiece. Tracks like "Last Man Standing", "Believe in the Fight", "Batshit Crazy" and "Hole in My Soul" knock you on your ass. "Distortion" breathes fire, While "Welcome to the Garden State" leaves you feeling Sopranos. This is an awesome record and proves that Overkill is still alive and well!
6. 'The Electric Age' (2012)
How do you follow up a game changing album? Well that's easy...release another one. Coming off the heels of 'Ironbound', Overkill was able to once again channel their best effort. Another example of how this band has simply improved with age. 'The Electric Age' is a no nonsense assault on the ear drums. "Blitz" and company brought their A game and the hits just keep on coming. One of the best opening one-two punches in modern day metal with "Come and Get It" and "Electric Rattlesnake". The deep cuts leave you in awe struck...tracks like "Save Yourself", "Drop the Hammer" and "21st Century Man" would make any best of list in this modern day era. Another killer album by Overkill.
5. 'Feel The Fire' (1985)
The Jersey white boys were hot for the taking on this debut thriller. A raw and edgy thrash foray that has stood the test of time. 'Feel the Fire' is a full on thrash assault which features awe flexing riffs, raw inspired hooks and bridges, belting vocals and epic solos. Tracks like "There's No Tomorrow", "Hammerhead" and "Kill At Command" are thrash metal icons. While "Rotten to the Core" truly captures the signature "Blitz" overture of lead vocalist Bobby Ellsworth. Another superb release by Megaforce records made this album a force to be reckoned with. The albums closer "Sonic Reducer" may be the bands most underrated track of all-time! A stellar rookie release.
4. 'Ironbound' (2010)
Iron sharpens iron on this epic masterpiece. Spitting back in the face of recent failures, it was full speed ahead on this instant classic. Overkill decided to take a ride on the time machine back to their roots and the results were earth shattering. From the eye popping opener "The Green and Black" which leaves the listener reeling from a splitting headache. Then the title track which takes you on a tour of the bands hometown near Newark, NJ. From beginning to end this album shoots fire like a volcanic blast. Its a thrash metal symphony that preaches relentless energy and passion. The wrecking crew was once again back to the basics and the basics were just what the Dr. ordered!
3. 'Horrorscope' (1991)
Overkill took a page out of Pantera's playbook on this one and completely nailed it! While many thrash bands completely abandoned the thrash style, Overkill took that new found success of the groove style approach and mixed it into their formula. The result was one of their best albums ever. The opening track "Coma" is an epic opener that's easily one of the bands greatest songs ever produced. Other standout tracks include "Infectious", "Blood Money", "Bare Bones", "Horrorscope", and "Nice Day for a Funeral". The final track "Solitiude" is as close to ballad as Overkill has ever come and its extremely similar to "Cemetery Gates" by Pantera. Another game changing album!
2. 'Taking Over' (1987)
So much for the sophomore jinx. With one fellow swoop Overkill proclaimed they were 'Taking Over.' Although their efforts to overtake the embattled charts ultimately failed, their passion certainly relegated their status among thrash's greats. At this point, the "Wrecking Crew" was kicking ass and erasing names. This album remains one of the definitive thrash records that gets pointed to when reviewing this important genre. Very little filler on this album, its mostly all good. Other standout tracks include "Deny the Cross", "Powersurge" and "Electro-Violence". New Jersey's best could be seen riding their mascot "Chaly" to royalty at this point. An absolute beast of a record.
1. 'The Years Of Decay' (1989)
So they say the third times a charm....well for Overkill it was actually four. The crème de le crème and quintessential album of Overkill's catalog definitely resides here. There is no decay on this record as it simply sizzles with star power. While the band showed maturity on the previous record, they fine tuned that songwriting and this epic masterpiece ensued. "Time to Kill", "Elimination", "Birth of Tension", "Who Tends the Fire" and "Evil Never Dies" are all mainstay tracks in the bands arsenal. "I Hate" is a classic thrash thriller that features another level of peak songwriting both musically and stylistically. While the ten minute epic "Playing With Spiders/Skullkrusher" leaves you feeling Sabbath. This is the peak of the mountain for Overkill and the best of the best.
Written By Jason Voorhees
After tackling one of the Sunset Strip heroes in last week's edition, this week we are shifting gears a little bit. In today's edition we will take a deep dive into the career of shock rock's forefather Alice Cooper.
Although the horror rock ringmaster is praised for his live show spectacles and putting on a show, it's often forgotten that the man known as Alice has produced 27 studio albums! The man that was born as Vincent Furnier, simply took on the alter ego of his band Alice Cooper full time after the group disbanded in 1975, and the rest was history.
Alice Cooper has transcended the music world morphing himself into a cultural icon. He has made tv and movie appearances, starred in commercials, and has even opened his own themed franchise restaurants. His brand paved the way for other great live show shockers like KISS, Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie among others.
With that being said, it's the music that truly needs to be celebrated.
One thing to note is that he rarely has went away for long periods of time and it's that consistency that has led to an immense discography catalog. Today we will try and give you the definitive list of his all-time greats. Of course as always, some of these may be controversial so feel free to disagree. So without further ado...here is the best of the best of Alice Cooper...
10. 'Paranormal' (2017)
Most will probably be shocked to see this one crack the top ten but not your expert music critics. It's a rare feat to see a band's most recent release rank so high in such a well-storied catalog. However; Alice hit a home run on this one. A diverse blend of ALL of the elements that have become a driving force in Alice Cooper's success. The tried and true formula of invasive guitar riffs and hooks, garage style drums, and rah-rah party anthems makes for a truly stellar record. Tracks like "Paranormal", "Dead Flies" and "Fallen In Love" tear down the house. While songs like "Holy Water" and "The Sound of A" infuse that prototypical Alice horror rock infusion.
9. 'Killer' (1971)
How could an album cover be so prophetic? As Cooper would later take on the shock rock persona of horror laden characters, this one was a true stone cold killer. A raw edgy record that featured a much more aggressive approach than it's predecessors. From beginning to end this record truly will rock your socks off. "Under My Wheels" is a balls to the wall opener that sets the pace for a murderer's row of angry rock and roll. Hard to find any filler on this one folks as it simply hits hard. Other standout tracks include "Halo of Flies", "Desperado", "Dead Babies" and the title track. This may be Alice Cooper's most underrated album.
8. 'Constrictor' (1986)
Often referred to as a game changer in the discography catalog. After a long run of lackluster duds, Alice shocked the world with this breath of fresh air. A glam metal style sound was on the menu. Cooper not only struck gold on the entrees but he aced the appetizers as well. Kane Robert's contributions on guitar paid instant dividends while Kip Winger's appearance on bass provided a spark in the dark. A well written record that reinstated Cooper's resume of supreme songwriting. Standout tracks include "Teenage Frankenstein", "Thrill My Gorilla" and "He's Back(The Man Behind The Mask)", the latter also appearing regularly on the Friday The 13th franchise. An 80's metal lovers dream.
7. 'School's Out' (1972)
The title track has become synonymous as the calling card for Alice Cooper. However; the album includes many great tracks, even if they appear to be a bunch of no names in a one track mind. It's a mischievous record that's littered with creative elements and songwriting galore. This was the birthplace and seminal roots of what would later become the giant's calling card theatrical live show. The album exudes that classic Alice energy while displaying a wide range of styles and tones. It's kind of like The Doors meets The Rolling Stones with a shade of Pink Floyd. One of the classics and definitely worthy of top all-time status.
6. 'Raise Your Fist And Yell' (1987)
A full onslaught of metal in the style of DIO. Some of the most impressive guitar work ever assembled on an Alice Cooper record. After introducing a new style and sound on the previous record, the band perfected the sound on this a list album. Tracks like "Freedom", "Lock Me Up" and "Give the Radio Back" light up the floor. But it's the thriller "Prince of Darkness" that truly cements the albums ceiling. If you love that pop style 80's glam metal mania, then this is your choice. One of my personal favorites and the hidden gem of all Alice Cooper albums. A truly great record that certainly outperforms its name. Alice not only raised his fist...he raised his game on this one!
5. 'Welcome To My Nightmare' (1975)
Some say this is the seminal album of Cooper's career. Although it did mark the beginning of his solo career, it also married his persona with the walls of vaudeville. Simply put, it sets the record straight for all of those who remained on the fence as far as Alice Cooper's creative intelligence goes. There is phenomenal songwriting both musically and lyrically. The title track sets the tone but its littered with hidden gems from beginning to end. It's a concept album ahead of it's time. The story of a madman showcasing his talents. The birthplace of shock rock and the beginning of a whole new genre. A subtle balance of rock and jazz.
4. 'Trash' (1989)
'Trash' marked the commercial high point for Alice Cooper. After perfecting the glam metal sound in the previous two records, Alice sacked Desmond Child to help produce this one. The result was a standout megahit single "Poison" which cracked the top ten charting at #7 on the Billboard Top 100. While the super hit was the high point for the album, it was not lacking others in a long list of standout tracks. "Spark in the Dark", "House of Fire", "Why Trust You", "Bed of Nails" and "Trash" were all above average rockers that could light up a stage. "Hell is Living Without You" gave Cooper his first killer ballad in forever. A true tour de force in the Alice Cooper catalog.
3. 'Hey Stoopid' (1991)
This was 'Trash' on steroids. In an effort to continue down the same path of stellar songwriting, Alice summoned a group of guests to perform on the album. And in similar fashion, the album was a huge success. The guests included Slash, Ozzy Osbourne, Vinnie Moore, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars. While the album is truly paced by the massive standout track "Feed My Frankenstein", it's once again the deep cuts that define it's greatness. Songs like "Love's A Loaded Gun", "Snakebite", "Dangerous Tonight" and "Hurricane Years" are flat out killers. "I Might As Well Be on Mars" is yet another stellar ballad. And "Hey Stoopid" is about as good as it gets for a title track!
2. 'Love It to Death' (1971)
A very tight melodic rock and roll record. The opening track "Caught in a Dream" is an absolute masterpiece. Follow that up with the ever popular "I'm Eighteen" and you have a magnificent one-two punch. However; it's "The Ballad of Dwight Fry" that defines the creative genius of the bands leader. The songwriting on this album is way ahead of it's time folks. This is a raucous edgy rock and roll thriller that once again tells a story. We are beginning to see Alice Cooper's true vision and goals as the album plays through. Many people skip this one when ranking the bands greatest but true rock enthusiasts and die hard fans embrace it's greatness! Doom gloom and creepy.
1. 'Billion Dollar Babies' (1973)
The crème de le crème of Alice Cooper's discography. A wide range and mixture of sounds and styles all blended into one. It certainly follows the straightforward formula of megahit singles that mingle with deep cut anti filler hypocrisy. "No More Mr. Nice Guy" is the epitome of Cooper's mean looking persona. It's a stellar record that provides everything that we have grown to appreciate in an Alice Cooper piece of art. Many believe that this was one of the defining moments in the rise of heavy metal. A true masterpiece of epic proportions. This is plug and play at it's finest...and definitely marks Alice Cooper's finest hour. The finale "I Love The Dead" will leave you awestruck.
Written By Jason Voorhees
Today we will feature one of the early kings of the Sunset Strip Metal scene. As one of the founding fathers of glam metal, W.A.S.P. was one of the pioneers of this important musical genre.
Over the years, W.A.S.P. has carved out a very impressive discography catalog. While their first three records screamed hair metal glory, the band went on to run the gamut of styles and sounds. They were never afraid to push the envelope and their raw edgy attitude and grit made them key players in the heavy metal evolution.
Led by the infamous lead vocalist Blackie Lawless, W.A.S.P. took hair spray infusion to new levels. Whether it was controversial song titles or throwing raw meat into the crowd, the band was always looking to shock the world. In fact, their antics and live show prowess only fueled their popularity in the metal community circles.
As always, ranking this bands top albums will insight quite a challenge. Unlike many of the previous bands, there is widespread debate and opinions as to which ones belong on the Mount Rushmore. Nonetheless, we are always up for the challenge. So sit back, grab a snack and take a deep dive with us into the chronicles of W.A.S.P. Here is their top ten albums of all-time...
10. 'K.F.D.' (1997)
Kill Fuck Die. You cannot push the envelope much further than that one folks. W.A.S.P.'s most polarizing album and least commercially accessible of all-time. The album features a more industrial tone while taking on a polished and almost computerized production. Die hard fans and loyalists were definitely turned off by the change in direction. However; those same fans were thrilled to see the return of golden boy Chris Holmes on the axe. Blackie's songwriting was extremely dark and twisted which closely followed his erratic emotional state of mind. Not a terrible album but certainly not their finest hour.
9. 'Dominator' (2007)
This was the album that would ultimately put W.A.S.P. back on the map. After striking out on the dual concept 'The Neon God' clunkers, the group went back to the drawing board and wrote a solid classic metal thumper. In fact, the album features some stalwart burning fire classics like "Long Way to Go", "The Burning Man" and "Heaven's Hung in Black." It also features another standout semi-ballad "Take Me Up." Plenty of classics to go around, W.A.S.P learned from previous mistakes as they once again embraced their roots. Deja vu was in order!
8. 'Babylon' (2009)
Old school W.A.S.P. was on full display on this thriller. The album even featured covers of Deep Purple's "Burn" and Chuck Berry's "Promised Land" that were stone cold killers. The standout tracks are "Crazy" and "Babylon's Burning" but it's the subtle gems that make this record a grand slam home run. Blackie spent a ton of time writing phenomenal lyrics as he had recently renewed his Christian faith in Jesus. This revelation seemed to ignite a new fire in the band and the results were amazing. This record not only recaptures their glory years, it overshadows them in stellar fashion.
7. 'Still Not Black Enough' (1995)
This is probably the most overlooked album in the catalog of W.A.S.P. Originally planned to be a Lawless solo album, he decided instead for the brand name moniker. Another very pissed off record with tons of energy and endless grit. I sometimes think that Blackie's battle with his demons was the driving force of the band. Another classic album that truly hit you at the core. Timeless classics like "Goodbye America" and "I Can't" were what paced the record. However the sleepers truly told the story of just how underrated it really was. Another solid record.
6. 'Golgotha' (2015)
Some try to write this off as just another Christian heavy metal wanna bee fraud. However, true music enthusiasts recognize the full greatness of this full on masterpiece. Another return to the sound and style of the glory days has this record leaving you coming back for more. The first few tracks have that classic W.A.S.P. symphonic mastery. But nothing rings out harder than "Slaves of the New Order" which beckons the call of their greatest hits mythology...an absolute barnburner folks!! The ballad "Hero of the World" features an epic solo while the epic closer "Golgatha" is an ode to the band's beginnings and Blackie's newfound faith in Christ.
5. 'Inside The Electric Circus' (1986)
Not quite the cream of the crop, but definitely worthy of gratitude and praise. Full of stellar tracks up and down the album. The only thing the album suffers from is that there really are no top of the line hits. However; if its consistency you are looking for then this is your pick. Very little filler abides here as it keeps the audience rocking with endless fervor. This is a plug and play in its purest form. Definitely a more angry tone than its predecessors as it shows that attitude that we have grown accustomed to with W.A.S.P. Another underrated classic.
4. 'Headless Children' (1989)
W.A.S.P reinvented themselves in one fellow swoop with this piece of art. The band took on a heavier tone both musically and lyrically. Probably the best songwriting to ever appear on a W.A.S.P album. Quiet Riots Frankie Banali takes a seat at the drum kit which pays instant dividends. Tracks like the title track "Headless Children" and "Mean Man" remain all-time greats. Meanwhile their cover of the Who's "The Real Me" rattles the cage of even the most novice of fans. Some say this is the bands best all-time album and who can really argue against that. Definitely well written and worthy of bragging rights. Solid record from start to finish!
3. 'The Last Command' (1985)
Talk about thwarting the sophomore slump jinx. While many sophomore albums fall flat on their face, this album did three backflips sideways while landing on it's feet. The album features the mega hit "Wild Child" and "Blind In Texas." However, the hidden deep cuts like "Ballcrusher", "Widowmaker", "Cries In the Night" and the title track define this absolute masterpiece. Definitely one of their classics and among some of the best albums of the era. Of course, it did not hurt that MTV hijacked two of the tracks for mainstay video airplay.
2. 'W.A.S.P.' (1984)
Many would say that this one belongs at the top and who could fault them. Of course, the band originally omitted the controversial track "Animal (Fuck Like A Beast) from the album release due to pressure from the label. However there were plenty of star power tracks including "Hellion", "I Wanna Be Somebody", "Sleeping (In the Fire)" and "School Daze". The album was raw and edgy and proved that W.A.S.P. could hang with the big boys. Chock full of anthemic metal and smoldering with eccentric guitar riffs galore. This was the birthplace of the band but it foreshadowed their rise in prophetic fashion. The raw meat throwing festival of metal struck gold on this gamechanger.
1. 'Crimson Idol' (1992)
This is the pinnacle for W.A.S.P. both musically and lyrically. The mount Everest of their discography catalog. A concept album at the core that takes the listener on a brutally honest journey. It's a tour de force into the mind of the man behind the myth and the legend. "Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Mourgue) may be W.A.S.P.'s heaviest track of all-time. Its an all out menacing assault that destroys all sound barriers in its way. Other tracks like "The Idol", "I am One" and "Hold on to My Heart" paint a picture of a thousand mirrors. Definitely my personal favorite and the cream of the crop for W.A.S.P. The defining moment of the bands legacy.
KISS' TOP TEN ALBUMS ALL-TIME.
Written By Jason Voorhees
Welcome back to another edition of Top Album List's here at Philly Rock Radio. Last week saw us tackle one of the greatest hard rock bands to ever grace the stage in Aerosmith. This week we shift our focus to a band that perfected the term brand even before the term was ever created...today we will chronicle KISS.
KISS recently celebrated their 47th anniversary. Over their years of existence, the band has become a larger than life deity, the likes that have rarely been seen. In fact, KISS has their own army of followers, consisting of some of the most loyal and passionate fans in the history of heavy metal music.
While many have argued that the band are merely false prophets in disguise, the fact remains that the band members are actually very talented musicians. Underneath the piles of makeup and marketing madness lies some truly phenomenal records.
KISS has produced quite a catalog including four solo studio albums that were put out by each of the original members...Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley, and Peter Criss. For purposes of this project though, these albums will not be included, nor will we include the live albums. Instead we will focus strictly on their studio albums.
As always, compiling the top albums will be a unique challenge as there are always a wide range of opinions. However; you wanted the best...so here you got the best!!!!!!! Without further ado...here is KISS' top ten albums of all-time...
10. 'Dressed to Kill' (1975)
Their third studio album saw the band take a different direction. While it's predecessor's focused more on that raw edgy attitude, there was more of a pop feel on this one. It seemed like KISS was seeking a commercial breakthrough and this was the first step in that right direction. Tracks like "Room Service", "Ladies in Waiting", "Getaway" and "C'mon and Love Me" are catchy and too the point. "Rock Bottom" starts off slow and ends with a bang. And of course, who could forget the immortal "Rock and Roll All Night." All in all, a very solid album for the queens of makeup and one that would solidify their rise to the top.
9. 'Lick It Up' (1983)
As the makeup came off so did the ladies panties. KISS has always found a way to make an impact when the chips are down and they certainly did so with this publicity stunt. With Vinnie Vincent taking over on lead guitars, the album had a much different sound, both musically and stylistically. KISS tried to embrace their roots as they harkened back to their glory days. The album features a more sleazy glam style tempo with impressive results. Probably the most underrated album that KISS has ever produced. While the title track "Lick it Up" was a massive hit, its the unheralded sleepers that make this one of their all-time bests. Solid record from A-Z.
8. 'Creatures of the Night' (1982)
KISS meets heavy metal on this barn burner. Little to no filler on this one folks. Just a straight up in your face assault of the senses. In fact, this is more of the sound that you would expect from a makeup toting group of hard asses. The record features some of the bands most creative songwriting ever assembled and the intensity is matched by each individual instrument. Yet another highly underrated masterpiece. Despite Ace Frehley appearing on the cover, he did not perform on the album, instead being replaced by Vinnie Vincent on the axe. Nonetheless, the record brings the heat from beginning to end starting with the title track. Also features a tremendous ballad, "I Still Love You."
7. 'Hotter Than Hell' (1974)
This is classic KISS at its most KLASSIC. While the album tanked upon release, it has truly grown in the hearts of the army faithful. If you had to describe the sound it's like a cross between Aerosmith and Black Sabbath. A raw and edgy attitude with plenty of doomy riffs. Tons of live concert staples on this effort including "Got to Choose", "Goin Blind", "Mainline", "All the Way" and "Comin' Home." In fact, some other metal bands have covered a few classics from this album including Anthrax ("Parasite") and Megadeth ("Strange Ways"). Certainly not the bands most famous or popular record but definitely one of their most impressive.
6. 'Love Gun' (1977)
This would be the original band's final moment in the sun before ultimately collapsing underneath a myriad of consequences. While the band was frolicking around in it's newfound celebrity status of elitism, they set aside time to focus on making a great record. Similar in the style and approach of its predecessor, 'Love Gun' featured solid peak rock and roll, set to capture the audience in toe. Multiple hit tracks including "Christine Sixteen", "Shock Me" and "Love Gun" pace the album while subtle lesser known stalwarts like "Almost Human" define it. "Plaster Caster" pays homage to the groupies that share the same title. Another timeless giant.
5. 'Dynasty' (1979)
Although the record was recorded during a time where tensions were at an all-time high, the band was able to buckle down and hit a grand slam on this effort. The album spawned the megahit "I was Made For Loving You" which features a disco-pop style tempo. In fact, the album is littered with disco laden tracks throughout which precluded Paul Stanley's infatuation with romanticism and pop culture. While many of the faithful were put off by the change in direction, KISS certainly stole the spotlight as they once again defied the odds. Not only is this one of the bands finest hours, it was a truly a defining moment for their discography catalog. Still a timeless classic today.
4. 'KISS' (1974)
This marked the birthplace for KISS. This debut album was raw and edgy and featured that good old fashioned sleaze rock. The album is an orgy of classic KISS stalwarts that ring out just as big as their clown like persona. Tracks like "Strutter", "Deuce", "Cold Gin" and "Nothin' To Lose" leave you coming back for more. Where the album is lacking in sound production it makes up with its signature muddy riffs and anthems. Its a record that tells a story and clearly set the tone for a band that was on a mission to take over the world. While loyal fans and listeners all agree that this is one of their best, its music critics that truly recognize the validity of its fire!
3. 'Rock And Roll Over' (1976)
One of my personal favorites, this record captures everything that KISS stands for. "Calling Dr. Love" is not only the albums best track, it may be the best track ever recorded by the band. A stone cold classic hit that still rattles heads today. While the ballad "Hard Luck Woman" rivals their all-time best with ladies and gentlemen alike. The album closes out with the lesser known "Makin' Love" which is hands down their most underrated track of all-time. An album that clearly hits the listener from every angle. Don't look to be betrayed by a Kiss, as this one slaps you on the lip while flashing you in the face.
2. 'Destroyer' (1976)
The album starts off with one of the most iconic openers in hard rock history..."Detroit Rock City." While the band had made a name for themselves in the live circles, they had yet to solidify themselves in the studio album department. This record changed that while finally putting KISS on the map. The album features top notch material throughout including "Flaming Youth", "Shout it out Loud" and "Do You Love Me." However, the gold standard is found on the epic ballad "Beth" which has become a live show staple. The band had reached superhero status at this point and this was the crown jewel of its arsenal. A hard rock masterpiece that certainly rocks more than it does roll!
1. 'Revenge' (1992)
I'm probably going to receive a ton of pushback for this selection. Many experts do not even have this album among KISS' top ten. However; I am here to tell you that those people are just flat out wrong. This is the Mount Rushmore for KISS. 'Revenge' is the crème de le crème of their catalog. Total thriller...zero filler. From beginning to end the album features top notch musicianship. Some of the band's best songwriting finds its place on this record. "Unholy" is exactly what the title says. "Take it Off" is an ode to the ladies and what ya may just see them do at a show. "God Gave Rock and Roll To You" was an MTV giant. "Domino" will leave you crying in your cheerios. You get the point, this record kicks major ass. It's the quintessential moment for KISS; their true swan song!
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