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Sonic Boom Review

I've been fortunate enough to have Sonic Boom in my possession for the past week and believe me, it's been on in the car and iPod constantly since it arrived. So is it the return of Classic KISS as promised by Paul Stanley some months ago? Well almost certainly yes it is, this is a fantastic album that does not fail to deliver. Don't get caught up thinking this is a return to the 70's though, as although some of the songs sound like they could have come from Rock & Roll Over, there are also glimpses of the best parts of 80's and 90's KISS in here too. Produced by Paul Stanley this is quite simply in my opinion the greatest KISS album since Revenge (okay so there haven't exactly been many others since then but those of you who know me will know just how much I love Revenge). 

Released in several packages, Sonic Boom either comes with the album alone, with a live DVD and copy of the re-recordings that came out in Japan last year and another complete with, er, a coaster.

The album starts very strongly with the first single to be released - Modern Day Delilah. This is a great opener from Paul and sets the standard for the whole album album, with some great drumming and guitar work from Eric and Tommy. It's not my favourite song on the album but certainly show how serious they were at producing a kick ass return to form album, it's be great to hear this get some radio play over here. From here on Paul's contribution to this album is clear throughout, brilliant riffs and choruses as we've come to love him for. Vocally he sounds fantastic, a little strained at times (eg towards the end of MDD) but his songs are definitely the highlight of the album for me.

Gene's makes his mark on the album with Russian Roulette, a fantastic song that really kicks some ass with a great catchy chorus. I wouldn't put this one in the "classic" category though, that would go to both 'Yes I Know' and 'Hot And Cold' - think along the lines of Love 'Em and Leave 'Em and Calling Dr Love. In fact if someone had told me that these were demos from Rock & Roll Over I would have believed them - Gene's vocals really do sound as good as they did back then.

Okay then, so are there any stadium anthems KISS are famous for? Of course there are, the first being Stand. Whilst I admit this has the cheese factor, it's a great song with Paul and Gene sharing the lyrics and some very nice harmonies from all 4 of them (think along the lines of the harmonies in GGRARTY2). The chorus is of course very catchy and will lend itself brilliantly to a live show - it will be a crime if this doesn't make it into the setlist.

The second stadium anthem has been left until the very end of the album. Traditionally KISS don't leave "A-list" songs to the end of the album, however Say Yeah changes all that - this has to be the greatest song to ever close a KISS album. Again a very catchy chorus and slightly 80's but it just works, again another one that it would be a crime to leave out of the live setlist. Believe me both the songs mentioned above will be running around your head for days after just hearing them once! 

Eric and Tommy get their chance to put their vocal stamp on this album too - Eric sings lead on All For The Glory, again a great catchy tune with his raspy vocals fitting in perfectly. This song also includes a great solo from Tommy, very much in the style of early Ace (much like a lot of his work on this album). In fact the solo reminds me somewhat of the demo version of Strutter from '74. Tommy also gets his chance to sings leads on When Lightning Strikes, again another great song, to me this wouldn't sound out of place on Hot In The Shade (not in a bad way though!). 

Okay then so does anything on this album disappoint? Well if I really had to choose something (this would have to be with a gun to my head) it would be Dangerous, purely because the lyrics feel like they were written for something from around the time of Crazy Nights, especially the chorus "Danger You, Danger Me, Danger Us".... 

Overall this is a fantastic album and has been every bit as good as the hype, perhaps Paul Stanley should have tried his hand at producing 11 years ago because he sure as hell hasn't failed to deliver with this album. It really does feel like a team effort with some of the best songs on the album being penned jointly by Paul and Gene. It certainly does not have the disjointed feeling of Psycho Circus. Eric's drumming really shines through as does Tommy's brilliant guitar work, they too must be commended for such a great album. You Wanted The Best? Buy this album and you'll get it!