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Alive!

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Reviews

Average Rating
★★★★½
(230 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • Anyone who seriously thinks this is a true “live” recording should take a look at the “Kissology” DVD’s to hear what they really sounded like. They were limited by two key factors: 1) the outlandish outfits they wore, and 2) Ace Frehley’s well documented excessive drinking. Under the cricumstances, it was inevitable that their live performances would sometimes suffer. (Gene also occasionally forgot his lyrics, distracted no doubt by his compulsory tongue-waggling and his lewd designs on the female fans). Watch “Shout It Out Loud” from the bonus disc on Kissology Vol. 1 for all the proof you need. (Gene repeats his verse, and Ace completely forgets where he is and botches the entire solo)

    In keeping with their market-driven mentality, the band knew that a pure warts-and-all live album was not what they (and Casablanca Records, which was facing bankruptcy at the time) needed to score their first big hit record. So, they did what a lot of bands have done – they cleaned up the live recordings, editing out bad notes, dropped drumsticks, missed chords, etc., cleaning up the lead and background vocals and dressing the whole thing in wash of crowd roar that borders on white noise at times.

    Dishonest? Perhaps. Effective? Absolutely. For all intents and purposes, this is a greatest hits collection from their first three albums (although I wish they’d included “Room Service”), and pretty much every version on “Alive!” blows the original away. “Rock Bottom” and “Rock And Roll All Night” really benefit from added lead guitar.

    This album put Kiss on the map for good, and it still holds up as a great party album and a great rock and roll album more than thirty years later. 5 stars

    Posted on December 7, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This is my favorite recording of all-time. Period!

    There aren’t many bands that cause such a “love ‘em or hate ‘em” mentality as does Kiss. Suffice to say, I don’t care about any reviews from people who hate the band anyway! And trust me…you are as transparent as a hooker at a nurse’s convention. So..if you hate Kiss…we don’t need your opinions. It isn’t like we haven’t dealt with people hating the band in the past!

    So let’s talk about this recording. Let’s get to the heart of the complaints from others.

    1) The album is full of overdubs – OMG really? Call the police! Thin Lizzy’s “Live and Dangerous” (considered by many as one of the greatest live recordings of all-time) is full of overdubs. I don’t hear anyone slamming that recording. I would much rather hear mistakes corrected then listen to a recording (many Led Zeppelin bootlegs come to mind) with horrible vocals and sloppy playing.
    Also, who did the overdubs? KISS DID!! So it was them anyway.

    2)They aren’t musicians. I love this one. Then what are they? The Monkees? Hum..that was really Peter on drums…Ace on Lead…Gene on bass…and Paul on vocals and guitar. No wait…they were pretending to backing tracks recorded by studio cats. That would explain it!

    Just because something is simple and direct doesn’t mean it sucks or that they are bad musicians. I have heard dozens of Kiss tribute bands and almost done of them get it close to sounding correct. How can that be? Doesn’t Kiss suck at their instruments? Hummm maybe it isn’t as easy as you think and they might, just might..know what they are doing and can actually play?

    3) The crowd was piped in and made louder then normal. Well this is the dumbest reason to hate this album I have ever heard. Have you ever even been to a Kiss show back then? The crowd WAS that loud. I know, I was there! Eddie Kramer just made it louder in the mix is all…so what!!! So…this excuse just blows!

    4) Other bands are better..Deep Purple…Led Zeppelin..etc. Well, surprise, I love ALL those bands and everyone offers something amazing and unique. Deep Purple’s “MADE IN JAPAN” is my second favorite recording of all-time. They are an amazing band and the musicianship is first rate..Hell I even named my oldest boy Ian…after Ian Paice. But I also love Kiss…how can that be? Hum…having an open mind helps!

    So…now the best stuff! The sound of this recording is second to none. Not so much the indivdual instruments, although I do love that, it is a collective thing. Never before or since has a band as a whole projected as much raw power and energy as on “Alive”. You do actually “feel” the band’s sweat and volume in each song! It is incredible. When I first put on “Deuce” I was floored! It just went from strength to strength. There isn’t one bad moment in this! Not one! Even all these years later, if I am having a bad day, all I have to do is put on “100,000 Years” and listen to Paul Stanley’s intense vocals and I feel like I can take on the world.

    And isn’t this the real point here? That is the essence of Kiss..the ability to lift one up..to empower..to create an emotional wall of sound that is bigger then the song itself and even larger then the band itself! It has never be captured by any other band in history.

    So…go ahead and hate it if you want. We don’t care. Bad mouth it..we don’t care! We fans all know that it is the ultimate in emotion, power, energy and raw rock n roll! So if you don’t like it…TOO DARN BAD!

    Posted on December 7, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • THE BAND: Gene Simmons (bass), Paul Stanley (guitars), Ace Frehley (guitars), Peter Criss (drums & percussion).

    THE DISC(S): (1975) Recorded during the ‘75 tour. 16 total songs on 2 discs clocking in at just under 79 minutes (35+ minutes on disc-1, 42+ minutes on disc-2). Classic album cover photo. Originally released on Casablanca Records in 1975; this remastered edition was released in 1997 on Mercury’s label. Much improved sound in my book (deeper bass guitars and crisper highs). Included with the discs is a 10-page booklet with all original artwork and photos, song titles, writing credits and times. Underneath the disc on the inside cover, there’s an informative 4 paragraph history of what the band was going through at the time.

    COMMENTS: Start your KISS collection with “Alive!”. Classic album – electrifying live show(s) captured. Classic songs. Even the lesser played tunes like “Parasite”, “C’mon And Love Me”, “Got to Choose”, “Cold Gin” and one of my personal favorites “Watchin’ You” sound brilliant. KISS’ first 3 studio albums had a very raw sound and each suffered from extremely flat production. Seven songs from their debut made it this live album; five songs taken from “Hotter Than Hell”; and four songs taken from “Dressed To Kill”. Along comes “Alive!” and these songs simply jump to life. Gene, Paul, Ace & Peter were on top of their game during these recordings. To me, KISS was never really known for their great muscial prowness… but, they were known for delivering a grandiose show – they were performers, they were entertainers. This live album established Ace Frehley as a guitar God (check out his blistering solo’s on “Parasite”, “Cold Gin” and “Let Me Go, Rock And Roll”). The sound production is great considering it was done in the mid 1970’s. Any rock & roll fan can turn this up loud and feel the emotion, energy and excitment that KISS brings to a concert (anyone who has seen this band LIVE knows the feeling). Several great ‘live’ albums were released by classic bands in the 1970’s (Frampton, UFO, Deep Purple, etc) and KISS’ “Alive!” is easily set on the same lofty perch as all of them. One of the great live rock concerts captured on tape during the 1970’s! An absolute classic album (5 stars).

    Posted on December 7, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Having released 3 poorly produced studio records and one step away from the poor house…Kiss went into the studio to enhance (overdub) some recently recorded live performances. Kiss’s first three albums contained some of the best rocks songs ever written, unfortunately the albums failed to capture the energy Kiss was able to produce on stage. Kiss’s entire existence was riding on the sales of a double vinyl “live” album….. The result? Kiss’s best album and arguably one of the best rock records ever released. An album that vaulted Kiss into the Pantheon of hard rock music forever. The songs recorded on Kiss’s first 3 studio albums pale by comparison to the power, punch and sonic impact to the versions recorded on “Alive!”. “Deuce” & “Strutter” begin the assault and there is no let up whatsoever. The best of it all? Ace Frehley’s guitar. There is not one song here without a memorable solo or classic riffage. I could go on, but take my word for it…I bought this album over 25 years ago on vinyl and it still holds up to repeated listenings today in 2003. I would give this album 100 stars if I could. With the remastering, these songs have never sounded better. ADD TO CART NOW! “Ace Frehly lead guitar!”

    Posted on December 7, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I received this LP as my 9th birthday present when it had just come out, and recently bought a used copy of the remaster of it.

    All the complaints about how artificially-enhanced this album is are spurious, as if 3/4 of the “live albums” in history aren’t re-constructed and optimized for maximum effect in the post-production. Eddie Kramer did an amazing job, and his role was central in making this one of the ear-splatteringest, heaviest records of all time. I listened to the remaster in headphones on 11 and afterwards I had to lie down it was so head-crushingly loud.

    The versions of the tunes on this make their studio counterparts sound like “Alvin and the Chipmunks Play Kiss”. Every song just completely obliterates its corresponding appearance on the first 3 albums that preceded it, as if their studio records were just a run-through and the live one was meant to be “here’s our songs played by Satan on steroids” by comparison.

    What’s telling is that there are no visuals, and despite this band’s reliance on the poly-pyrotechnic stage show and all the criticism about how the theatrics were there to conceal the crappy music, the tunes stand up just fine. The truth is that without good tunes nobody would have cared that the drumkit was levitating or that the bass player was breathing fire. Someone said that in the ’70s even the bad music was great, and the very worst twaddle on this album is like Vivaldi compared with the crap that passes for music today. Jessica Simpson couldn’t write songs this good, even if she were to receive Brian Wilson’s brain in a transplant… that’s how hopeless things have gotten.

    This record just roars and blows your head off from start to finish, every song just builds and builds the momentum… let’s just say it’s worth a Deuce, even if it does put yet more money into the misogynistic, greedy hands of Gene Simmons.

    Posted on December 7, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now