Transformer Review

Bruce Kulick can be proud for a number of reasons: 1) He's the only KISS alumni releasing any original material on a regular basis; 2) He's the only KISS alumni who regularly tries something new and tries to stretch himself musically; and 3) He's still one of the nicest guys in Rock 'N Roll.

"Transformer" picks up where "Audio Dog" left off, and takes Bruce's solo material to a whole new level. Sonically, one must wonder what impact Bruce's membership of Grand Funk Railroad is having on him, with a track like the instrumental, "Jump The Shark" being pure fun with no pretensions. There's no wango-tango fret-wanking, just pure roller-coaster exhilaration. With "I Can't Breathe", one feels a blend of Gun's 'N Roses "Estranged" in parts with almost Metallica harmonics. Yet, with Bruce's vocals, he's reached a new level, and would almost seem to be a natural vocalist.

"If Love's The Answer" has a cool funky riff and guitar sound and layered with Bruce's vocals has strong Rush over-tones on the chorus. The guitar solo reminds you who's in charge with a brief taste of the Bruce! There's little over-kill within the polished presentation of Bruce's material. "Crazy", musically, is something of a departure of the sonics one would expect from Bruce with its relaxed basic feeling. With the vocals it's almost a throwback to the 1980's. Just to remind you that this is Bruce Kulick, "All That I Need" kicks back into the more traditional rock mold. With killer time changes there's an underlying restraint which makes it seem that the "Audio Dog" is trying to break his leash.

"Don't Tell Me Something" is a bass laden hybrid which almost seems reminiscent of an earlier time, though the guitars and vocals keep it firmly rooted in the present. With the rush of vocal tracks, "Inn Of The Mountain Gods", returns the album to instrumental. While not being "Zeptune" in style, the piece is more of a Pink Floyd hybrid until Bruce lets rip, and then the style is all his. This piece is the longest track on the album and keeps flowing well throughout its duration.

For those fans of Union, it's nice to see a partial reunion of that band on "It's Just My Life" which features John Corabi on vocals and, as is the case with 11 of the album's tracks, Brent Fitz on drums. One must wonder from this track what could have been had Union not been faced with the problems they had. More basic than material from the "Blue Room", John continues to have the vocal style perfectly suited to this sort of material. Bruce's guitars soar with a power reminiscent of "Jungle" in what would be a killer live track. Taking it down a notch "Do It Right" follows with a guitar sound which might be more at home on a banjo. Stylistically, the track is the most unique on the album, but it lacks something of flow and has a very strange time change.

"Beautiful To Me" brings things back on track with powerful music and a fantastic chorus. Basic rock perhaps, the song is a nice piece of craftwork. "Truth Or Dare" closes Bruce's vocals for the album. Like much of the material one can hear elements of other artists' styles, yet it comes across as being pure-Bruce. This track stands out as one of the picks on the album! "Transformer" closes with the instrumental "Against The Grain". It's a nice bit of title-borrowing from Gene Simmons. But that is all it share's with Bruce's KISS past, simply being a beautiful piece of guitar work, nice and mellow. It's a sort of audio coffee after a large meal!

Rating: 8/10 - well rounded & high quality product.

The album can be purchased, HERE...