"Hotter Than Hell" Reviews, 1974

Winnipeg Free Press (Andy Mellen, 12/74) Hotter Than Hell, Kiss's second album, is pretty well what might be expected from this hard-rocking New York outfit -- punchy, highly amplified guitar riffing forms the framework for 10 basic, uncompromising rock and roll tunes. Beneath all the costuming and garish makeup beat the hearts of four bonafide rock and rollers ready to serve up exactly what their public expects from them, no more, no less. Ace Frehley has developed into a highly serviceable guitarist capable of holding his own among most of his contemporaries, copping licks with the best of them. Kiss may not set the world on fire but it serves its purpose as well as most of its contemporaries.

Rock Music (Bennington Banner, 12/74) Kiss is a band with such a visual impact that no photograph -- and no mere record album --could hope to do it justice. Stanley, along with bassist Gene Simmons, lead guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss, have taken rock 'n' roll another full step down the road begun by the likes of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis.

With their bizarre, Kabuki-like makeup, their studded black leather costumes and their arsenal of on-stage firepower -- both musical and literal -- they represent the most extreme form of hard rock in 1974. Because of their elaborate theatrics, many folks are surprised that the members of Kiss can actually play; they tend to assume that all the flash is Just a cover for bad musicianship. Actually, Kiss' theater is merely an extra thick layer of icing on a cake palatable all by itself.

They are masters of the hard rock "riff" -- the repetitive rhythm pattern that forms the basis on which vocals and lead lines are built. Inventive riffs are the key to good rock 'n' roll and Kiss has some of the best. Their new album, "Hotter Than Hell" (Casablanca NBLP 7006), is just that. Nonstop power raunch from the start it finishes with "Strange Ways," a tune during which Ace swears Jimi Hendrix's spirit temporarily occupied his body for a genuinely inspired solo.

Like Kiss itself, the dust jacket on "Hotter Than Hell" must be seen to be believed; suffice it to note that it is bilingual -- English and Japanese. Kiss won't advance the cause of fine art very much, but it just might bring back a lot of real fun to rock to'roll.