Various Artists A Tribute To the Creatures Of The Night (KISS)
Released: 2003, Nuclear Blast
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Kiss’ influence on metal and hard rock is undeniable. There are countless guitarists who have made it almost a cliché to say “Ace Frehley is who made me want to play guitar.” The band’s stage show is legendary, their makeup instantly recognizable around the world. They have stretched their career over 30 years and counting and still managed to be among the top-grossing tour of 2003 with Aerosmith.
Never known as the most humble of bands, Kiss released their own tribute album, KISS MY ASS, in 1994. Since then, there have been several other excellent tribute compilations hit the market, but the latest comes from Nuclear Blast and is called A TRIBUTE TO THE CREATURES OF THE NIGHT. The label has combined some heavy hitters on this disc including Hammerfall, Anthrax, Hypocrisy, Helloween, Iced Earth, Six Feet Under, Doro, Overkill, Bathory and others. Most of these songs have been previously released as international bonus tracks and on E.P.s, so they aren’t exactly easy to get. Having them all here in one place is a nice treat for the rabid Kiss fan.
Tribute albums are a tricky thing to review, especially when the reviewer is a big fan of the band being covered. Separating the familiarity of the originals from an artist’s reworking of a “classic” can be difficult. To be safe, some bands do a note-for-note rendition while in other cases, the cover is just plain bad. As with any compilation, the results here are mixed. On the good side, there is Anthrax’s version of “Parasite,” Helloween’s attempt at “I Stole Your Love,” Hammerfall’s kick at “Detroit Rock City” and Hypocrisy’s obscure choice, “Strange Ways.” Iced Earth’s version of “Creatures of the Night” very nearly surpasses the 1982 original! Pretty Maids have electrified the sappy ballad, “Hard Luck Woman” and The Melvins have provided the most interesting track with “Goin’ Blind.” On the bad side is Overkill’s turn at “Deuce.” Blitz’s vocals are absolutely horrendous and do not do this track justice, however his scream at the end is excellent. Maryslim, who I have never heard of, butcher “Comin’ Home” and I canm’t say much for Six Feet Under’s “War Machine” either. Doro lends her awesome voice to “Only You” and Galactic Cowboys remake “I Want You” into a nice thrasher. Bathory’s version of “Black Diamond” features Quorthon’s trademark dreadful voice, but the spot-on guitar solo more than makes up for it.
Needless to say, this is a very disjointed release, which is not an uncommon plague for these types of things. As a 20+ year Kiss fan, some of these versions are utter blasphemy to my ears, while others put a surprisingly strong foot forward. None of these bands need to worry about challenging the legacy of their heroes, but if you’re a Kiss fan, you owe it to yourself to pick this release up.
1. Detroit Rock City (Hammerfall)
2. C'mon And Love Me (Skid Row)
3. I Stole Your Love (Helloween)
4. Hard Luck Woman (Pretty Maids)
5. Parasite (Anthrax)
6. I Want You (Galactic Cowboys)
7. War machine (Six Feet Under)
8. Strange Ways (Hypocrisy)
9. Only You (Doro)
10. Comin' Home (Maryslim)
11. Goin' Blind (The Melvins)
12. Creatures Of The Night (Iced Earth)
13. Deuce (Overkill)
14. Black Diamond (Bathory)