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Album review: Kiss' 'Sonic Boom'

Kiss It's amazing that another rock band thought of selling its new album through a big-box retailer before Kiss did: If these greasepaint glam gods didn't invent the notion of pop-as-commodity, they definitely perfected it. Some 35 years after the band's debut album, they're back selling a fresh studio disc exclusively through Wal-Mart, where you'll presumably find "Sonic Boom" stocked near the toilet paper and the Pop-Tarts.

Perhaps there's a discount if you buy more than 10 copies at a time.

Not surprisingly, given Kiss' bigger-is-better ethos, "Sonic Boom" is actually more than just a new studio album -- it's a three-disc package that also includes a rerecorded greatest-hits set and a live DVD, all for $12. That works out to about one riff for every 10 cents, pretty reasonable, even during a recession.

The 11 new songs, Kiss' first since 1998's "Psycho Circus," hardly deviate from the band's time-proven formula. That means whoa-whoa-whoa vocal chants, thundering arena-rock grooves and many, many suggestions from Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons that the women in Kiss' audience -- that women anywhere, really -- are wearing more clothing than they need to.

Will any of these tracks make the next greatest-hits set Kiss is sure to release in a couple of years? It seems unlikely; nothing here is as catchy as "Rock & Roll All Nite" or "Detroit Rock City," both of which still sound insanely great when Kiss plays live.

See for yourself when the band hits Staples Center on Nov. 25.

-- Mikael Wood

"Sonic Boom"
Two stars
Comments () | Archives (47)

I can guarantee you this guy didn't even listen to the record.

Quite the formula KISS album review - just like all the lousy reviews they got for albums like Destroyer and Alive! in the 70s from Rolling Stone. It sounds like you were sitting next to the toilet paper when you wrote it and didn't even bother listening to the album while you were at it.

I disagree! KISS has nailed the tried and true formula on 'Sonic Boom'. I think songs such as 'Modern Day Delilah', 'When Lightning Strikes', 'Say Yeah' and 'Stand', just may end up being among several that become concert staples. I've been a fan since '76 and I've gotta congratulate the guys are delivering the goods on this one. It's the best album they've released since 'Love Gun'. Say yeah!!

Don't tell me you've never been in a Wal-Mart? The music selection there is huge. And KISS rocks.....

To quote DX...I've got two words for ya....

Got the album today and it’s pretty great. Maybe anyone expecting KISS to suddenly turn into Radiohead will be disappointed. Anyone who actually likes KISS should be quite happy.

aw come on dude seriously 2 stars I dont think so I heard the whole album and the lowest I can give it seriously is 4 stars you should seriously reconsider dude this album was a good album

Mikael Wood didn't even listen to the album. He is just another "Nay Sayer" like someone who shouts at the TV screen telling the quarter back he can do a better job, yet he is the one on the lazy boy.

Mikael Wood is exactly who everyone hated in high school, he was picked on so much that he takes it out in reviews he has never reviewed. How lame is that? This is the best KISS album in 20 years, how would Mikael Wood know that when he has only heard 2 or 3 KISS songs in his life?

How can Mikael Wood actually give a review on a studio album when he has never purchased a KISS studio album before. Critics suck, they get the job because they aren't qualified enough to even ask, Would you like fries with that? Let's face it, Critics are the most unhappy people in the world, to know that someone like Mikael Wood wakes up in the morning and his job is to criticize other people is really sad and disheartening. I feel bad for the guy, and I am sure his wife does as well.

Mikael Wood, If I were a critic, He would get a big F!
Who spells a first name like that anyway?

Like Susan said, we didn't listen to the hippies who wrote for Rolling Stone back in the 70's and I'm sure not going to listen to what anybody writing a blog for the LA Times has to say about anything, much less music. Great album.... it reminds one of the classic KISS "makeup days" sound with some of the guitar riffs and solos, even though I hear some references to some of their mid 80's albums as well, but rocks as hard as Creatures of The Night and Revenge!

After listening to this cd 3 times already it has gotten progressively worse. Unimaginative, repetitive, formulated and of course "branded".

It sounds more like a Def Leppard album, no disrespect to them however as they are an entirely different genre. I've been a fan of the original KISS lineup since their first album and can't believe that I spent money on this. Elder and Dynasty and dare I say Hot in the Shade sound better than this monopolized collection of music geared at fans (that will purchase anything with a KISS logo on it).

Shameful and distasteful. When KISS comes to Winnipeg next month I will not be there. I refuse to support a cover band that sells out arenas with guys pretending to be a 'character'.

If you want true musical genius with actual harmony, melody and rhythm in 4/4 time then go and purchase the new Ace Frehley Anomaly cd.

Sonic Boom: ** stars
Anomaly **** stars

I'm a long time KISS fan. During the 70's and , yes, even the 80's Gene and Paul commandeered a powerful, exciting, and hook-filled vehicle that was KISS. Their songs and images inspired millions to pick up guitars and aspire or at least dream about stardom in the music world. For a couple of years (77-78) they were the most popular rock and roll band on this planet earth. They deservedly should be in the R&R Hall of Fame, but they are not. Why? I, myself, opine that while Gene and Paul created this musical machine called KISS and fueled its engines with their visions, they ironically are the destroyers (no pun intended) of its credibility . If they ended when they said it would end, at the Farewell Tour in 2001, then we have a different scenario. Today, that KISS machine rolls on ad nauseum with this uninspired, almost insulting (to the fans) release of Sonic Boom which I am aptly renaming Sonic Bomb. If this album is an attempt to recapture the former glory of Rock & Roll Over and Love Gun as stated by the founders, then it must be the sounds of bathroom breaks between the tracks of I Want You and Almost Human. How dissappointing, both for the image of this once great band and their fans. Sonic Boom (Bomb)misses the mark and only exposes that Gene and Paul are hopelessly deluded to the fact that they cannot write any longer. Fans,if you want something that sounds like Love Gun, then go buy Love Gun. Paul once stated that they removed the make-up in the first place to prevent becoming a parody of themselves. Paul, you are blowing it this time. The R&R Hall of Fame may now never get here for KISS.

After "Psycho Circus" I would have bet against KISS putting out an album that neared their glory days of "Rock And Roll Over" and "Love Gun" - but who woulda thunk it - they did!

I should have learned from all the years of KISS pulling awesome surprises out of their hats.

KISS delivered! Nuff said!

I have been a Loyal Kiss Fan for well over 20 years, and to me this Album was disappointing to say The Least. There could not have possibly been much thought as they wrote these songs. To any casual Kiss Fans out there, Listen to Creatures of The Night, Destroyer, or Even Animalize and you'll understand. Sonic Boom has maybe two decent songs and the rest is crap. I can't believe this is the best they could do in eleven years since Psycho Circus. The Unmasked Album is a Masterpiece compared to this garbage. God, I hope they get back in the studio and try again. Grrrr.

Why anybody would buy another Kiss Album after Dynasty is a surprise to me.
I have been a Kiss fan ever since i saw "Rock N Roll all Nite" on back in 1976.
It gave me goosebumps. I enjoyed "Come on and Love me" and "Black Diamond"
Pretty much every song sung by Peter Chriss were all of my favorites including "Nothing to loose"
After Peter and Ace left the band Kiss in 1980 the band was gone.
What if George and Ringo would have kept the Beatles name? Would you seriously consider them as the original lineup ?
I have met Kiss including Sean Delaney (who was a hell of a nice guy) so was Gene
Paul and Peter were total jerks and Ace always seemed to be a little bit to shocked!
Face it , the Kiss we all used to love are gone, now it is all about more money to a money hungry Gene and Paul.
Don't waste your hard earned money on crap.

I'm pretty sure the reviewer hasn't listened to the record. Sonic Boom is an updated version of the ever-so-great KISS music! Other bands come and go, but KISS will always be alive and go all the way. Nearly all other album reviews are purely positive but this one, come on!

Sorry fellow KISS fans - Mikael got it right - there's really nothing here except Danger Us and I'm an Animal - the rest just Kissed up Europe style 80s sing alongs with no soul, no personality on the guitar front, and a lot of empty hype. I love KISS and will see them whenever I can but their best records are behind them for sure. And the re-records of greatest hits - why? Weak vocals compared to the originals in all cases and just no reason for it. Pull out Rock and Roll Over and Love Gun and play some air guitar and save your twelve bucks. Boom's a Bust! :)

i just want to say too ass clown who did this review you dont know anything about kiss so what gives you the right too put them down the NEW KISS ALBUM KICK ASS!!!!!and as for you can go f##k yourself!!!!

Couldn't agree more with your review. No new ground but some decent stuff. Actually, some parts of this CD made me fairly angry when I first heard it! See my review at http://bit.ly/4qamoJ for the details...

I agree, this guy didn't listen to the cd. I've been a fan since day one (yeah, I'm 47) and this cd is great. Bought it on the day it came out and have been listening to it everyday since. I'm impressed. With Gene at 60 and Paul at 57, these "aging" rockers, still have what it takes. ROCK ON KISS!

It's good to hear some good old rock and roll from the guys from KISS. I love listening to all music, but today's music is just another fad. All these "the" bands that all try to sound soo different they sound the same...let's write a song, find the hidden message in the lyrics to folksy boring guitar and drum lines. All those songs you'll forget in years...yet many KISS classics will still be around 35 years from now. Give me rock'n'roll like KISS has made for years, that makes you feel good...you can have the "the" bands.

It doesn't even sound as if Mikael Wood gave the album the review it deserved. It's obvious that he didn't listen to the full album and is insulting it just because it got released at Wal-Mart. Mikael, please listen to the full album and give it a proper review, without rating it low due to it being sold at Wal-Mart.

What is wrong with all you "Kiss Fans"? I was a fan for almost 20 years. I've seen them countless times and interviewed them all for radio a couple of times. Yet it seems that nobody has the "balls" to call a spade a spade. Nothing that Kiss has done since the late 70's has come even close to the heights they scaled in their 'hay-day'. Dressed to Kill, Hotter than Hell, Alive - all incredible rock albums that'll stand the test of time. However the show's these days are like a sad parody for what they use to be with only half cylinders firing and I'll challenge any one to find me a riff on a Kiss album post 1979 that holds a light to "Watchin' You" or "She" or "Parasite". You have to grow up and face it sooner or later. It hurts I know. It did for me. However it's over for these guys.

Ok, where was the album review? All you did was tell us what we already know about the band Kiss, how about a real review of the album?

Ok This posting by "Huey" was just hilarious I just had to post.  Your name is "Huey"?  Seriously?  I bet your glasses are an inch thick and tinted purple.  No wonder you like every Peter Criss song, your name is Huey for God's sake.
Let's start off with your question or comment "Why anybody would buy another Kiss Album after Dynasty is a surprise to me."   Well, let's see "Screwy Huey" Because most of them were in fact great albums, Creatures of the Night, Lick it up, Animalize.   awwwwwww  Im sorry "Loogy Huey"  were they too heavy for you?  I mean, I know how much you liked Peter's "Beth".  As a matter of fact as soon as you posted that you loved ever Peter Criss song out there you instantly lost all credibility.     
"I have been a Kiss fan ever since i saw "Rock N Roll all Nite" on back in 1976."
It seems to me here that you are taking credit for being a KISS fan since 76? But yet you haven't bought a KISS record since Dynasty's 1979.  So how does that make you a KISS fan "Since"?
Dude, Your a dork.
"After Peter and Ace left the band Kiss in 1980 the band was gone.
What if George and Ringo would have kept the Beatles name? Would you seriously consider them as the original lineup ?"  ------------------------------    Wow bro, Huey Luie, what ever you call yourself, this one is even better!    Well, noooooo after Ace and Peter left, the band wasn't gone.  They didn't - disappear -, maybe you have been reading to many comic books.  There was no magic formula that anyone would drink and Bamm, they were gone, there was no plane crash, there was no lazer beams making anyone disappear "Stuey Louie"   KISS in fact was still around, different members yes but still KISS,  Your comments are so ridiculous.  What if George and Ringo did keep the Beatles name Mooey Huey?  Who cares, but your point of "Would we still call it the original line up"?  Ummmm Gooey Huey, why would we?  Did they call themselves the original line up?    ummm no,  and neither did KISS ever call themselves the original lineup with Eric and Tommy.  Huey, Your just quite odd.  Here is a great comparison if that one doesn't make sense.
So I suppose since Joe Montana left The san Francisco 49rs, they are no longer the 49rs?     Are you seriously one of those people?
Marv Leavy, JIM KELLY and Thurman Thomas, no longer in the BILLS.  OMG!  The BILLS ARE NO LONGER THE BILLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Wrong Dumb ass, They are still the Bills.  Seriously, what is wrong with you.
Take ketchup off a cheeseburger, is it still a cheeseburger, God I sure hope so, otherwise what have I been eating?
You are just another bitter human being that is walking on this planet that thinks your entitled to your own opinion.  Well, sorry but when you are as dumb as you dude, lol.  Your not entitled to really anything.  You are unhappy because you never accomplished what YOU wanted to do in this life and your mommy probably no longer gives you allowance to buy this "Crap" you speak of.  awwwwwwwwwwwwww so sad.      
"Face it , the Kiss we all used to love are gone, now it is all about more money to a money hungry Gene and Paul."
Ummmmmm no they are not dude, didnt we just go through this above.  They are still there HUEY.  Your post about money hungry as well shows exactly what happened to you.  You are stuck saying "Would you like fries with that" and have no money therefore are jealous of anyone who does, including your Manager who get's his or her fries for free.
Wow, people never cease to amaze me.    
PS   Don't bother writing back and telling us you have al fulfilled your dream and are a rocket scientist.  Your post just shows your ignorance, intelligence and stupidity.
Put back on the Blue Tints and get back to downloading your porn. See you later.

My 1st kiss concert was 1977, did not follow band in 80's, jumped back on the train after cyco cirus! Have never missed a concert( in full gear) But Sonic Boom ROCKS!!! Everything they promised and more, put it on and crank it up!! see you guys in the rock & roll hall of fame!! Say Yea!!!!!

Hello, people, fans,etc... WTF! I love Kiss if you don't why bother to get on here and bitch about their new album, myob! Of course they are going to sound a little different they are much older now. True fans will still love them and not slam them due to their efforts. If you don't like them why are you buying their album and complaining? I applaud them for making a new album. I haven't bought it yet it comes out today, then I'm buying it!

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