Music From the Elder: A Kiss Album That's Better Than You've Been Told

Updated on November 11, 2017
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Sharing a passion for vintage progressive rock and jazz music.

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Not Nearly as Bad as You Thought

Back in the day, when the make-up was getting stale for Kiss, and the disco-hyped Dynasty album fizzled critically, Kiss dared to venture outside the box by attempting to appease the critics and fan base who were growing weary of the pseudo disco pop drivel they were churning out.

Fan boy, especially those Kiss trading-card flipping kids who looked at Kiss Meets The Phantom of The Park as the second coming of Citizen Kane couldn't grasp 1980's Music From the Elder. They would sit in class drawing Kiss caricatures inside their text books, along with other unmentionables, they just couldn't deal with such a departure.

Yeah, those stale music lovers who didn't want pop styling, didn't want any musical growth from Kiss either.

That's always a problem with a devout fan base, many times the Band leaves them behind, and that fan base can't make the leap.

Read on to find out why I like the album so much.

"Heroes"

Why Music From the Elder Blew Me Away

Music From the Elder was a pleasant surprise to my ears. For years I wouldn't touch this album because I was told by fan-boy, that The Elder was garbage. Turns out that Kiss actually created a darned near progressive rock masterpiece, and one of their finest efforts.

Believe me, it's not a perfect album at all; but the overall spirit of the album is tastefully arranged, and sounds very fresh to my ears, it really shocked me.

I wonder where Kiss could have gone had they continued in this direction? Of course we likely would have missed hedonistic masterpieces like "Let's Put the X in Sex" and "You Make me Rock Hard". I say that with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

Music From the Elder is so foreign to everything else they ever did, it is hard to believe it's Kiss. I happen to think the album's outside the box thinking should be applauded, it should have been seen as a period of growth for the band, and not deemed the disaster as it is by the general public.

"The Oath"

Check out Music From The Elder For Yourself

First album officially without drummer Peter Criss

Music From the Elder was the first album after the official departure of Peter Criss, and the first album with the late Eric Carr (1950-1991) on drums. Anton Fig played the drums on unmasked, after Criss was unable to fulfill his duties.

The Elder is a concept album where a boy is recruited by a group called the "Council of the Rose", he is destined to be a hero for a world badly in need of heroes. Now, It's a bit far-fetched I know, but as a fantasy rock opera of sorts, it works well.

The lone single from The Elder is "A World Without Heroes" and it's hard not to like this crooning ballad coming out of the mouth of Gene Simmons. "Heroes" was co-written with Lou Reed and it is a particularly honest song in my opinion. Simmons' "Mr. Blackwell" is another heavy track with some unorthodox sounds and styles mixed in.

The neo-metal track "The Oath" has a galloping single string riff that reminds me of Iron Maiden a bit. Paul Stanley does a wonderful job here, and truthfully he never sounded better.

Ace Frehley's lone vocal "Dark Light", is one of the weaker tracks, but even it has grown on me after repeated listens. The simple riff is very catchy, the vocals are just Ace, charming, if not stellar. I like that every man quality about Ace though.

Is Music From the Elder one of the greatest rock albums of all-time, no of course not. Is it one of Kiss' best, well, I say yes, and I am certainly glad I finally checked it out after all these years.

What's your opinion of The Elder

Is Music From the Elder Underrated?

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35 Years Later the Cliched Hating of the Elder Goes On

Thankfully since I pride myself on independent thought, and have learned over the years that just because the critics hate something, it doesn't mean I will automatically hate it.

I've come to realize that many times opinions are based on a tired cliche, negative and positive reviews seem to chase themselves down the rabbit hole. Piling on sometimes where it isn't always justified.

If loudwire.com hates The Elder, then I should right? Never mind that many of the championed bands and albums on sites like that are overblown re-hashes of Metallica and Slayer souped up with a sprinkling of pretentious "progressive" sounds. I'll judge for myself.

I listened to The Elder as just a lover of music, without the mind numbing fandom of a Kiss connoisseur. I didn't judge it based on Destroyer or Love Gun.

I make no apologies for liking Music From the Elder, I think it's one of Kiss' best, and not nearly the hitting bottom that so many "in the know" claim it to be.

Questions & Answers

    © 2016 GodsOfRock

    What are Your Thoughts About Music From the Elder

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      • profile image

        Scoon 

        3 months ago

        Well, its not that great, but def not that bad.. just that fan boys couldnt handle something different back in the days.. Only You-Under The Rose couple are among the top Kiss songs

      • profile image

        CCM 

        4 months ago

        I love the album, because I look at it as an exploration into Paul and Gene's talent.... areas never heard... and I love Paul and Gene (and Ace, Peter and Eric). I think Bob Ezrin really dropped the ball...many parts of the album are lacking in energy, and have empty spots.. also some arrangements are just too non-conventional for people to swallow. On Ezrins previous success, "The Wall," nearly all the songs were still... well... good songs with pretty conventional arrangements...."I" is the only one mastered good on the remastered version. on nearly all songs, Gene's bass sounds like it was plugged directly in the board with no production at all... many times the drums are completely burried, and sound very weak/low energy... and sometimes the vocal lines are so frequency-intense, you have to adjust the eq. A few better arrangements, a more energetic sound, and some more guitar work and the album is a monster. I still love it

      • profile image

        12 months ago

        Agree with your post . Listen to it now and it sound like something special !!

      • profile image

        Carlos Rosado 

        12 months ago

        It certainly is a odd album. I remember really liking it when I was about 12... but these days I find it really hard to listen to without cringing. I always found it really odd that "a world without heroes" make it on to KISS unplugged... I know it was the only single of the album, but in my opinion its also one of the worst. That being said there are a couple salvageable tracks and at least the arrangements are sorta nice.

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