Various Artists Kiss of Death: A Sikk Tribute To Kiss
Released: 1999, Dwell Records
A death metal tribute to KISS, what a cool fuckin' concept! I knew it would get done someday and, as it turns out, that day was about a year ago! I don't know how this album got past me, but I have it now and that's that. This album comes to us from the good folks down at Dwell Records. Yes, the same bunch who brought us A Call to Irons (1 and 2) and a host of other fine tribute albums! Tribute albums have become big business in this overly nostalgic era of ours and I'm split as to whether or not they are a good thing or not. It's cool to hear different interpretations of classic songs and to get a feel for the wide range of influence a certain band has had, but then again, the shear number of tribute albums being cranked out these days is really getting to be kind of annoying (for example: does Hall and Oates really need a tribute album?).
I have a certain philosophy about tribute albums and it goes a little something like this: a good tribute song should be different from the original, but should (at its very core) retain the original's essence. Simply put, we don't need to hear an exact copy of the original, because what would be the point? I can go and listen to the original, you know? Sometimes, however, bands will warp the original so far out of whack that it will bear absolutely no resemblance to the source material. I think that a good tribute song should retain a few choice characteristics of the original, because, yet again, what would be the point in it not? I want to recognize the song on some level! Fortunately, pretty much all of the songs on this album cohere to my philosophy nicely and strike a healthy balance between the two extremes. After all, these are KISS songs and I can guarantee you that death metal bands ain't gonna play 'em exactly like you find 'em on your old records!
Almost all of the bands on Kiss of Death gave classic KISS songs a HEAVY make over and, as to be expected, some of the original songs withstood this conversion better than others, including: "Deuce" (Hostile Intent), "Going Blind" (Hate Theory), "War Machine" (Acheron) and "The Oath" (Equinox) [Note: Equinox¹s take on "The Oath" pummeled me the first time I heard it! This track is total fuckin' metal!!!]. Even if you hate KISS (for whatever dumb reason), you're gonna have to give KISS credit for writing some amazing songs! And, even though I feel that these songs (in their natural state) are quite heavy, you will be amazed at how UNBELIEVABLY HEAVY some of these songs can be (death metal style)!
There really isn't a horrible song in the bunch. However, as always, there is strong material amongst a few, semi-weak tracks. I'm not a huge stoner rock kind of guy, but even the two or three stoner rock cuts do justice to their respective counterparts (but, yes, these would be the weaker ones). KISS fans should definitely check this sucker out [Note: if you're a KISS fan and a death metal fan, you MUST check it out...NOW!!!].