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