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Ace Frehley - 10,000 Volts review


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Band: Ace Frehley
Album: 10,000 Volts
Style: Hard rock
Release date: February 2024

01. 10,000 Volts
02. Walkin' On The Moon
03. Cosmic Heart
04. Cherry Medicine
05. Back Into My Arms Again
06. Fightin' For Life
07. Blinded
08. Constantly Cute
09. Life Of A Stranger
10. Up In The Sky
11. Stratosphere

40 years running and still going relatively strong... ish

By now, Ace Frehley shouldn't really need an introduction, but anyway, here is the 72-years-young former guitarist for the hard rock legends KISS, presenting his 9th full-length studio release 10,000 Volts. Although Ace Frehley's time with KISS dates way back to the early 70s, his solo career actually kicked off a decade later in 1984, which makes this latest offering his 40-year anniversary release. However, is this a release worthy to mark an impressive 4-decade solo career, or is it simply another run-of-the-mill album to add to his ever-growing hard/glam rock portfolio?

Let's get straight into the action, starting with the title track "10,000 Volts", which you can probably guess is a typical straight-up Frehley-style hard rock anthem. This track begins appropriately with an electronic surge that soon transcends into one of Frehley's distinctive trademark riffs led by a semi-rapid, groovy rhythm section, along with a typical catchy chorus and of course a solidly performed solo. Listeners can guess the direction this album is heading in just by this first song; it may not the best opener in Ace Frehley's discography, but it's still one of the catchiest and most enjoyable that this album has to offer, and may also explain why this track was released as the album's main single.

Now, unfortunately, following the opener, things don't really get much better; sure, there are moments that traditional hard rockers will no doubt enjoy, with no shortage of headbanging riffs and good-quality solos, and the energy certainly isn't lacking in any way, but the songwriting is far from what most would consider classic hard rock material. Take "Cherry Medicine" for instance; the chorus, although catchy, is as basic and uninteresting as it possibly gets, while the riffs, although also catchy, are nothing particularly interesting or inspiring. Then there's the following track, "Back Into My Arms Again". This song seems like a shot at a late-career ballad, and an unfortunate failed attempt at that; I mean, there's no other way I can really put this, lyrically it's not good, and the vocals aren't particularly impressive either. Ok, age could well play a major factor in this, but then he was never really a Stanley or Simmons in the first place, to be fair. However, I believe it would be an unfair statement to simply write off the overall songwriting as shameful or even cringeworthy: sub-par, maybe? And the energy and sheer entertainment value this guy brings is undeniably brilliant, especially considering the fact that he's no spring chicken any more.

Now, it might seem like I'm slating this album to high heaven to you, but it's actually not all bad; in fact there are several moments that stand out for me, one being the impressive bluesy solo on "Up In The Sky". This is one of the few moments in which Frehley is truly able to shine; it's just a crying shame that the track is dragged down by the slightly irritating and repetitive verses and chorus. The second highlight moment for me is the closing instrumental track "Stratosphere"; beginning with a soft ballad-like twin guitar melody, it leads into a series of impressive traditional heavy metal riffs and solos. With the guitar in his hands and freedom to play at his will, this is where Ace Frehley comes into his own. It's a shame that this instrumental is so short-lived, and that he never quite reached the potential of these final few songs in his playing ability on the preceding tracklist.

Overall, it's fair to say that Ace Frehley's fingertips haven't lost a touch; he can still play a mean guitar even after all these years, and although his vocals are far from the best the genre has to offer, he still provides a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm. Despite the lacking of memorable riffs, and uninspiring songwriting, this album still has a certain level of enjoyability, if you take it for what it is at least. Is it a worthy effort to mark a 40-year career milestone? I'm not necessarily sure; however, it's still a solid effort and enjoyable listen regardless.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 5
Originality: 4
Production: 7

Written on 03.03.2024 by Feel free to share your views.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 10 users
24.03.2024 - 18:46
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Better as Kiss unmasked, even to me best skiss album is Psycho Circus, yes. But I like Ace a lot, sad Paul and specifically Gene are bad ego mean characters, or we can say Ace holes.
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