Kiss – Psycho Circus

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Reviewed: December 1998
Released: 1998, Polygram
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Pat

Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley must have split personalities. They often travel from one extreme to the other, most of the time with each album. Confused? I’ll explain.

After a laughable tailspin through most of the 80’s, KISS (then with Eric Singer and Bruce Kulick) rewarded all their faithful with Revenge and Alive 3, their 2 best releases since Creatures Of The Night almost a decade earlier.

As I should have known, KISS pissed away any momentum built with Revenge by putting out Carnival of Souls midway through the reunion tour. The music of Carnival was worthy of a garage band opening for Alice In Chains, and the new line-up lost all credibility with many.

Now that KISS is planning a second episode of their historic reunion tour, an original album with original members is released – all with a concept relating to the band’s history. It may sound tacky, but KISS again shocked me – this time by putting out a great album.

Not as dirty as Revenge, but just as memorable, Psycho Circus is the best arena-rock anthems KISS have put their names to since Love Gun. Psycho Circus sounds so much like the KISS of old that you’d almost think the release date was 1979, only the production and modern technology of the hologram cover tell you otherwise.

Having seen the first installment of the reunion tour back in early ‘97, I can envision at least 4 or 5 of these tracks mixing perfectly to their live set along side ‘Detroit Rock City’ and ‘King of the Night Time World.’ One thing for sure, hats off to KISS for exceeding expectations and doing what they do best, not what they want!


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