KISS is a band that I’m pretty spotty with, but there are some moments in their catalogue that impress me. One of the few moments outside of their original 70s heyday came in 1982 with the hard rocking Creatures of the Night.
The early 80s were chaotic for KISS. Original member Peter Criss and Ace Frehley both left the band (although they remain credited on a lot of KISS songs they didn’t even play on) and they were losing their fanbase from the 1970s pretty quickly. Dynasty and the hit I Was Made For Lovin’ You started the downfall among fans and then they recorded a medieval concept album called Music from “The Elder.” Seriously. What could they possibly be thinking there? Every hit KISS song is pretty much about partying or sex, so how did they think an out of left field concept record could be a good idea?
Creatures of the Night was recorded with Vinnie Vincent on guitar, although Ace Frehley got all the credit, and appeared on the album’s cover. Vincent did become an official member shortly after though. The hard hitting drummer Eric Carr makes an impact on this album too. KISS was able to return to the sound their fans wanted. The album didn’t spawn a lot of hits, although I Love it Loud still gets airplay on classic rock stations this days. My deep cut of the day is War Machine.
War Machine is sung by bassist Gene Simmons and is still played regularly at their live shows. Its one of my all time favorite KISS songs. Gene Simmons’ work really shines as a whole here. The songs he sings are the strongest on the album. I don’t like the guy as a person, but this stuff is enough to make me not entirely hate him.
After Creatures of the Night the band shifted into hair metal, removing their trademark makeup and following the trend of the day. They’d put the makeup back on for good for a reunion tour with the original lineup in 1996.