I’m a kiss fan. So to understand this article you have to know that Kiss fans are never satisfied, and probably never will be. That might be what makes Kiss tick, the fans are always asking the band to up the ante and give them more. Well after a long time apart the boys (er, um, old men) are back together to write another chapter in Kisstory. This album, Psycho Circus, is kind of a good news - bad news situation. Which do you want first? I prefer to get the bad news out of the way first.

To me the main problem with the album is that the ‘Demon’ is nowhere to be found. Gene Simmons hasn’t exactly been the strength of Kiss for a long time and he kind of lets down his guard on the album. Giving only 3 tunes is odd enough, but Gene’s not singing from his crotch? ‘We Are One’ is the kind of pop-laden BS that got Kiss in trouble with the fans in the early 80’s. This just isn’t a Kiss tune; it sounds more like his solo album. His other two tracks are nothing special: ‘Within’ sounds like a leftover from Carnival of Souls. Leftover? I didn't wait almost 20 years for leftovers!!! The album closes with the plodding ‘Journey of 1000 Years’ and that’s how long it seems to last! Gene did however pen the very “beat your chest until it hurts” anthem ‘You Wanted The Best’ in which all four members share the verses, a Kiss first.

OK, enough bashing; let’s get to the good news. Paul F’n Stanley!!! This is the guy who has kept the Kiss heart beating and he doesn’t let us down here. When you hear the title track ‘Psycho Circus’ you can envision this one being played loud, live and sweaty. This is rock n roll. THIS IS KISS!!!

Stanley’s other contributions are very anthem rockers you can sing to after one listen: ‘Raise Your Glasses’, ‘I Pledge Allegiance (To Rock n Roll),’ all tunes that are a bit commercial but Paul’s voice takes you away. He sounds better than ever!!!! Paul’s work coupled with the stellar production of Bruce Fairbairn is a winning combination. Fairbairn has given Kiss fans their most sonically bombastic album to date.

Now the jury is still out on the other 2 original Kiss members; Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. Depending on what you read, they played on the whole album or they didn’t play at all. Most fans will tell you they don’t care; the band has done it in the past. Ace’s sole song on the album, ‘Into The Void’, is classic Ace. If you never heard his solo band, Frehley’s Comet, here it is all rolled up into one outstanding tune.

Peter Criss did not get any of his songs on the album but he did get to sing one. ‘I Finally Found My Way’ is a ballad written by Paul and long time Kiss cohort Bob Ezrin. It sounds like a cross between ‘Every time I Look At You’(from the Revenge album) and ‘Beth’. I could’ve lived without another ballad as I enjoy Pete’s voice when he rocks. So overall I thought the album was good, not great. Am I satisfied? Hell no!! Do I want more? Hell yeah! I’m a Kiss fan. Within a few months I’ll have scratched and saved my money (are you listening Gene?) and I will be in an arena waiting for my favorite band to take the stage. It won’t matter who wrote what song, who played on it. They’ll be right there in front of me rockin’. That’s what Kiss is about. That's what being a Kiss fan is about...

...So, it’s Halloween night, I'm driving home from a night of Judas Priest (Metal on Halloween, you can’t beat it). Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “If this guy is SO into KISS, why wasn’t he at Dodger Stadium?”, right? Well, I had a choice - either blowing all my money to fly to LA or wait for the East Coast invasion and catch multiple shows. I chose multiple shows! So, I'm driving home from the Priest show and I turn on my car radio to catch the live broadcast of the KISS show. As I turn the dial my heart stops. “OH MY GOD! They’re playing SHE!!” I just about lost it, the Gods are at it again!

When tickets went on sale for the East Coast invasion, me and my buddies figured it out. “OK, we got 7 shows to go to and they’re playing SHE!” Damn! But the excitement in the air at the arenas was nowhere near the pure electricity of the reunion tour of 1996. It was even kind of sad to go to Albany and see a 3/4 full arena, or go to Hartford and see a 1/2 filled one. But they’re gonna play SHE! The band didn’t seem to care. They had Bombs, hellfire and brimstone. It was all there, or was it? And all the hype for the 3-D effects, isn’t every show in 3-D?

The shows all opened the same with Psycho Circus. No real surprise. The first time I heard that tune I knew they’d open with it. The vocals were actually a little rough (especially the choruses). The new material just didn’t cut it live. Within was a mess all 7 shows. Ace’s Into The Void was like a car crash! My BIG problem was the lack of “surprise” tunes. I mean, do we really have to hear King Of The Nightime World again? When is Paul gonna remember the words to Do You Love Me? Granted there are some who love these tunes but without bringing back songs like Rock Bottom and C'mon And Love Me it just didn’t seem right.

Then they dropped I Was Made For Loving You and didn’t add anything. I heard in Europe they dropped Cold Gin! The big disappointment was they didn’t play SHE! They didn’t play Nothing to Lose either which they played in LA. Maybe not going to LA was a mistake. They did, however play Makin' Love. Which was cool but Ace messed up the solo and Peter didn’t play the beat or the classic ending.

Yeah, I know I’m bitching. Honestly, it’s still the greatest show on earth. The 3D effects were cool. Everybody in the arena was wearing the glasses, what a sight that was! I'm a KISS fan....never satisfied and always wanting more. If I had it my way, they’d have play all night!

*Dedicated to the memory of Bruce Fairbairn RIP

Website: www.kissasylum.com