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Released: 2003, Independent
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
TRANSFORMER is the second solo release from Bruce Kulick after leaving Kiss. He was a part of the excellent group, Union, with ex-Motley Crue singer John Corabi but that project has been put on hold while Corabi tours with Ratt and Kulick with Grand Funk Railroad. Kulick has always been an incredible guitarist who was forced into the shadows while with Kiss. On his own, his skills are able to shine through without theatrics and bullish personalities getting in the way. TRANSFORMER is entirely independent and released exclusively through Kulick’s official website. He wrote all the music and lyrics and plays everything on the album but the drums and keyboards.
TRANSFORMER is a hard rock/metal album with 4 instrumentals and 8 vocal tracks. Admittedly, Kulick’s voice is not his greatest asset but he isn’t horrible either. He lends a unique sound to the songs he sings on as he doesn’t quite hit the hit notes or the low notes. His vocals are strictly mid-range and that’s just fine here. “If Love’s The Answer”, “Crazy” and “Don’t Tell Me Something” are catchy as hell with choruses that will be running through your head for days. “All I Need” is a 70’s hard rock-influenced track with a great riff. “I Can’t Breathe” has a slower verse that picks up during the bridge and goes into a heavy chorus. “It’s Just My Life” features a mini-Union reunion as John Corabi takes over lead vocals (Union drummer Brent Fitz plays drums on the entire album) on a slower, bluesy song. I’ve always liked Corabi’s voice and it suits this track perfectly. The only track that does nothing for me is “Truth Or Dare”. I don’t find the chorus particularly appealing and the music is a bit plodding.
The instrumental tracks are where Bruce’s guitar playing is really showcased. The opening track “Jump The Shark” is the kind of song that would be cranked as you cruise down the highway in your convertible. It is similar to Joe Satriani’s “Summer Song” in its pacing and style. “Inn Of The Mountain Gods” and “Do It Right” are long, slow-building tracks with some interesting playing once the tempo picks up. The closer, “Against The Grain”, features Kulick on a dulcimer (an ancient European guitar) alongside bongos and an acoustic guitar. It has a Middle Eastern flair to it with some cool percussion.
TRANSFORMER is an excellent album from one of the hard rock world’s nicest guys. As a member of Kiss for 12 years, he was forced to give the spotlight to Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, but on his own, Kulick’s songwriting and under-appreciated guitarwork are given center-stage. I’d recommend this, not only to a Kiss fan, but also to any guitar fan.
KILLER KUTS: “Jump The Shark,” “If Love’s The Answer”, “Crazy,” “Don’t Tell Me Something”
1. Jump The Shark (Instrumental)
2. I Can’t Breathe
3. If Love’s The Answer
5. All I Need
6. Don’t Tell Me Something
7. Inn Of The Mountain Gods (Instrumental)
8. It’s Just My Life
9. Do It Right
10. Beautiful To Me
11. Truth Or Dare
12. Against The Grain (Instrumental)
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