Gene Simmons - Bass, Vocals
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Alister (February 13, 2009)
In KISS' defense, the end of the 70's were difficult times for supergroup dinosaur bands like Aerosmith, KISS and Sabbath. New Wave and punk bands multiplied like rats with bands like The Cars and The Knack to where rockers started cutting their hair and sporting those skinny ties.
KISS made two mistakes at this point of their carreer. One - They continued riding the pop/disco/rock wave of their prior release, (Dynasty) success when disco was already in it's own death throes.
Two - They ignored their peers of the day, (Van Halen, AC/DC) who were having success simply by sticking to that good old rock n roll formula.
This record was GIGANTIC in Australia ... so big it was estimated that one out of every 14 people bought this record. It yielded one big hit there with "Shandi". America, on the other hand, virtually ignored Unmasked. Fans had already jumped ship after the solo record mess and then the "Kissco" release of Dynasty. KISS commercially over-flooded the market with toys and pop music. Simmons was dating Cher and Diana Ross, Peter Criss had left the band. This was so far away from the hard shock rock monster they'd initially created. This was indeed KISS' sinking ship record.
I still dig it out to hear Ace Frehey's 'Torpedo Girl' where Ace plays the hip bass track and all the guitars. I also have always had a soft spot for Simmons' 'Naked City' ... and not just because of the ballsy tone of the showcased bassline, but the lyrics that prove Simmons was far from clueless of the inpending doom and trouble his band was in because of his self-chosen road of over hype, bad decisions, pop and hollywood. Still, for his selfish bad judgement, it was difficult to feel an ounce of pity.
Unmasked is something for Australia and die hard KISS Army fans. If you're not a fan but would like to hear real KISS, pass this one up and get Destroyer or ALIVE!
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