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Cherry Pop

Title - 'Monster' (Ume)
Artist - KISS

For their 20th studio album in 40 years, KISS lean into their strength as old-man rockers. Monster treads the same stomping grounds as past Kiss albums like Revenge or Sonic Boom, doing their utter best to capture passed glories, while still rocking righteously. Paul is still in fine voice and Gene is still in big ego. Expecting anything else?

Well, you shouldn't be. KISS has been Stanley/Simmons with sidemen since Ace and Peter left almost three decades ago. They have carried that with aplomb and made plenty of good music, even if the themes have not changed all that much. Gene still sings about being the demon and headed 'Back To The Stone Age,' they still try and flaunt outsider status on 'Freak,' and Tommy Thayer is coached to sound as much like Ace as he can on 'Outta This World.' Drummer Eric Singer does his time on 'All For The Love of Rock and Roll' too keep up the appearances of a democratic, four man band.

Make no mistake, though. This is the Stanley/Simmons machine, with Paul still strutting his stuff (the love on an elevator saga 'Take Me Down Below' and the first single 'Hell or Hallelujah') and Gene still in arrested development ('The Devil Is Me'). The lone concession to trying something out of character is the a capella opening on 'Eat Your Heart Out.' As for the rest of Monster, you've heard this before. It's not a bad KISS album, it's just KISS being KISS!