The Saturday Metal Review

Kiss

Animalize

Mercury Records

Released Sept 13 1984

In 1984, bassist Gene Simmons was flirting with a career in acting, leaving Paul Stanley alone to produce the next Kiss album. Taking the reins completely was no easy task for Paul, especially since he had to find a replacement guitarist for Vinnie Vincent (who left the band previously). In comes the highly talented Mark St. John, who used the Rockman gear (designed by Boston’s Tom Scholtz) to allow him to plug directly into the mixer on the stage and in the studio. The end result was a ‘fat’ sound, boosting the leads and allowing Kiss to edge closely towards 80’s heavy metal. Some critics claimed the band was more glam rock at this stage in their careers, but Kiss was still in a commercial resurgence (starting on Lick it Up) and proved it further by watching Animalize go platinum; becoming their biggest-selling album since Dynasty in 1979.

Unfortunately, things would collapse quickly once St. John was forced to leave touring after the diagnosis of Reiter’s Syndrome. By November of that year, St. John was forced to leave for good putting the band in dire straits once more in the lead guitar position. To make matters worse, Gene Simmons began fighting with the band over his increased movie roles like Runaway and Trick or Treat and spending his time managing other bands (most notably Tommy Thayer’s Black ‘n Blue)

Despite all the trials and tribulations surrounding this period, the track “Heaven’s On Fire” became the biggest hit on the album and the music video was received in heavy rotation on MTV because of it. The band would persevere with the appointment of Bruce Kulick on lead, carrying the group for the next decade or so.

Favorite tracks: “Heaven’s On Fire”, “Burn Bitch Burn”, “Get All You Can Take” and “Thrills in the Night”.

I’m giving this a solid 8 out of 10

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