Rating:
4.0
Kiss - Unmasked
1980


01. Is That You?
02. Shandi
03. Talk To Me
04. Naked City
05. What Makes The World Go Round
06. Tomorrow
07. Two Sides Of The Coin
08. She's So European
09. Easy As It Seems
10. Torpedo Girl
11. You're All That I Want


Kiss. The biggest gimmick band in history. The face-paint, the fancy costumes, the huge stage show with smoking guitars, blood, fire, explosions. They had it all. Gimmicks as far as the eye could see. By 1980, people were growing tired of it. Perhaps their fans were starting to grow up too? In any event, their 1980 album Unmasked seems like a direct pitch at popularity. It's a pop record. Pure pop rock. But this is Metalstorm, right? It sure is - that's why I'm not going to be very kind.

How to explain what's going on with this album? Words that come to mind: disposable, catchy, simple lyrics, cheesy choruses, standard song structures. There's a real lack of consistency across the songs. One of the reasons for this is the lead vocals. Most bands have a lead singer, the guy who takes care of the lead vocals because he can really sing. The others in the band might do some backup vocals on occasion, usually because they can't sing to save themselves i.e. they sound like shit.

Not here.

That tried and true formula has been well and truly ditched. Three of the band members get to do lead vocals. This way, little Billy and little Johnny and all the other little kids get to hear their favourite 'character' singing a song. Ace and Gene both get three tracks each, the rest go to Paul. The Catman doesn't get a lead vocal - maybe the others didn't want a repeat of the runaway success he had with the (lame) song "Beth" from a few years earlier. He mustn't have done much at all during the recording of this album because it came out later that all the drum tracks were played by Anton Fig. The song "Shandi" was a top 10 hit in Australia and I have a soft spot for that song. I was seven-years-old at the time and it really appealed to me - especially those delightful vocal harmonies. Damn, I still like it today. I suspect I was their target demographic. This is an album for the kiddies. If you've got young children, play it to them.

About the album title - it's deliberately misleading - they weren't unmasked at all. The make-up was still firmly in place. Taking off the "masks", or face-paint, only happened three years later when their popularity was fading even more and they were desperate to try something, anything, to garner interest. And a final point about the face-paint, whilst they weren't the very first, they certainly became the best known and so I blame them for what came afterwards, including Slipknot.

Thanks for nothing guys.

Performance: 5
Songwriting: 4
Originality: 3
Production: 4


Band profile: Kiss
Album: Unmasked


 


written by Ace Frawley | 11.09.2012


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Cuca Beludo - 11.09.2012 at 20:05  
So, you aren't going to be kind 'cause this is metalstorm?
Jonnz of Steel - 11.09.2012 at 20:46  
What's wrong with music being catchy? Also, bands like The Beatles and Jefferson Airplane had multiple members singing lead years before KISS came along
Marcel Hubregtse - 11.09.2012 at 22:06  
Written by Jonnz of Steel on 11.09.2012 at 20:46

What's wrong with music being catchy? Also, bands like The Beatles and Jefferson Airplane had multiple members singing lead years before KISS came along


Nothing wrong with multiple lead singers, also not in Kiss because ALL four really could sing. And also nothing wrong with music being catchy, but here on Unmasked it is just all very very bad.
JohnDoe - 11.09.2012 at 22:42  
Written by Jonnz of Steel on 11.09.2012 at 20:46

What's wrong with music being catchy? Also, bands like The Beatles and Jefferson Airplane had multiple members singing lead years before KISS came along


that's right, only that the music was more inspired, that's all.
JohnDoe - 11.09.2012 at 22:43  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 11.09.2012 at 22:06

Written by Jonnz of Steel on 11.09.2012 at 20:46

What's wrong with music being catchy? Also, bands like The Beatles and Jefferson Airplane had multiple members singing lead years before KISS came along


Nothing wrong with multiple lead singers, also not in Kiss because ALL four really could sing. And also nothing wrong with music being catchy, but here on Unmasked it is just all very very bad.



to the explanation!
Ace Frawley - 12.09.2012 at 00:13  
Written by Guest on 11.09.2012 at 20:05

So, you aren't going to be kind 'cause this is metalstorm?


Not kind because this is a site devoted to metal and this is a pop rock record. In that context, I don't rate the album highly. If I was rating the album on a website devoted to popular music, then this album would rate a lot higher.
Marcel Hubregtse - 12.09.2012 at 00:20  
Written by Ace Frawley on 12.09.2012 at 00:13


Not kind because this is a site devoted to metal and this is a pop rock record. In that context, I don't rate the album highly. If I was rating the album on a website devoted to popular music, then this album would rate a lot higher.


I would rate it just as bad cause it is also a really really bad pop rock album.
Uldreth - 12.09.2012 at 00:29  
Written by Ace Frawley on 12.09.2012 at 00:13



Not kind because this is a site devoted to metal and this is a pop rock record. In that context, I don't rate the album highly. If I was rating the album on a website devoted to popular music, then this album would rate a lot higher.

I don't think this is a good attitude. Music should be rated according to how good you think it is, not how "metal" it is, especially that this board has a couple of nonmetal bands that are in some way related to metal or could appeal to metal fans.
By that logic should they all get downrated?
Ace Frawley - 12.09.2012 at 08:34  
Written by Uldreth on 12.09.2012 at 00:29

I don't think this is a good attitude. Music should be rated according to how good you think it is, not how "metal" it is, especially that this board has a couple of nonmetal bands that are in some way related to metal or could appeal to metal fans.
By that logic should they all get downrated?


I for one think it is entirely appropriate to rate music on this site in the general context of the genre of "metal" music.
Cuca Beludo - 12.09.2012 at 21:03  
Written by Ace Frawley on 12.09.2012 at 00:13

Written by Guest on 11.09.2012 at 20:05

So, you aren't going to be kind 'cause this is metalstorm?


Not kind because this is a site devoted to metal and this is a pop rock record. In that context, I don't rate the album highly. If I was rating the album on a website devoted to popular music, then this album would rate a lot higher.


Well, I would rate this album with the same rating in any website, metal, pop or jazz. I found it kinda of a bad attitude.... but it's your review.
Ace Frawley - 12.09.2012 at 23:54  
Hehe, you guys sound like my Mum i.e. "you've got a bad attitude".
nicaZe - 13.09.2012 at 13:11  
This album is shit...but multiple singing is reason why I love Kiss...
Void Eater - 14.09.2012 at 03:41  
What's the point of reviewing an album like this in 2012? All its gonna do is possibly get some younguns to check it out to see if its as bad as you make it out to be.
Ace Frawley - 14.09.2012 at 10:49  
Written by Void Eater on 14.09.2012 at 03:41

What's the point of reviewing an album like this in 2012? All its gonna do is possibly get some younguns to check it out to see if its as bad as you make it out to be.


I listened to this album recently, and when I looked on the site, there was no review, so I decided to fill that gap. I recommend the album to the young and the young at heart.

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