The Lebrain Le-Rocks Series, Part 8 (CD, Japanese edition, with obi!)
I remember when Mike was looking for this album (our 2012 trip to Taranna!). In fact, it was the one in which he had his infamous run-in with the “Japanese imports are VERY expensive” dum-dum at Sunrise records!
Anyway, there must’ve been another issue of it, because in this most recent box from Mike was this copy of Monster, Japanese release, complete with the obi strip! WTF! I even emailed him to make sure he hadn’t sent this in error. I mean, holy crap! Turns out it’s all good, so this one definitely has a welcoming home here!
Let’s get into this Monster, shall we? I’m only four years late to the party!
Hell Or Hallelujah was a single, and it’s a corker. What a great way to open a record! Pure KISS energy, rockin’ like hell (or hallelujah). Wall Of Sound is exactly that, a brilliant bluesy rocker with a great riff. I loved everything about this one! Freak is a heavy stomper, with harmony vocals and big crunchy guitars, and a pretty (brief) middle breakdown bit. It’s a bit slower, but it doesn’t rock any less!
I’m three tracks in and already getting the impression that KISS was swinging for the fences on this one…
Back To The Stone Age is double-fisted – one fist pumping in the air, the other one bonking you in the face with its rock and roll assault. What a huge tune! Shout Mercy is pure blues rock with a bit of a swing to it and tons of backing vocal adds. When the chorus comes around, it’s sheer bliss. Long Way Down is the other single, and it’s easy to hear why. This one’s built for radio play. It rocks, all the elements are right there in your face, the guitar solo wails, and there’s cowbell!
Eat Your Heart Out starts out with some awesome a capella, but of course the band kicks in fully (with more cowbell) shortly. It’s another fun rocker that has great bass presence, and by the end you realize just how damn well crafted it is. The Devil Is Me is a busy blues crusher, holy crap this might be one of my favourite tracks here. It’s all perfect! And before you can even catch your breath, it’s Outta This World, another big rocker (with cowbell!)! It stands up well in the mix for damn sure.
Folks, there are only three more tracks to go and there’s no ballad yet! Also, there’s cowbell everywhere!
All For The Love Of Rock & Roll sounds like an old school KISS song. If it had been on Love Gun, for example, it would’ve fit perfectly. It’s a mid-tempo rock tune that has pop rock sensibilities, but enough bluesy craft to make it perfect barroom fodder. Take Me Down Below brings back the bruising thumps of rock so you can keep on punching your fists in the air! This one would absolutely kill in concert. Holy crap that was fun. Last Chance is a great song title for ending an album, and guess what? It’s another big rocker! This tune is awesome. It fits my life philosophy pretty well. GIVE ‘ER! Yup, I liked this one best too.
Haha man, they did it. Not one ballad anywhere. Whoa.
And now we get to the bonus track that always makes the Japanese version worth buying… except according to the dum-dum at Sunrise:
Here comes the live version of Destroyer’s King Of The Night Time World (live). I did a little digging and found a KISS fan site that at first thought it was from Fuji, Japan in 2006. But then others found this exact track on a Rock The Nation Live EP from 2006, recorded in Virginia Beach, VA on July 25, 2004. Anyway, it’s an awesome track, and I am glad to have it and hear it, but it distracted a bit, for me, from the perfection of the Monster track order! Weird, I know. That’s me!
Holy shit, KISS crafted a damn-near perfect rawk record. It sounds like them, of course, and it’s full of huge rock tunes captured with perfect production. Not one weak spot anywhere. This should have sold crate-loads of copies everywhere that has electricity.
An album that lives up to its name: it’s truly a MONSTER. Full marks!
THANK YOU SO MUCH MIKE! FOR THIS ONE, AND FOR ALL OF THESE OTHER AWESOME DISCS IN THIS SERIES: THANK YOU!
For more reading fun, go check out Mike and Tommy’s reviews!
And Mike just posted his Japanese Tour Edition post today. We never talked about it, but we both posted Monster on the same day! Great minds truly do thing alike!