New, sealed condition.
In the Kiss universe, more is always, well, more. With this latest installment in the masked rock marauders' live franchise, they have gilded the already overweening lily even more by hiring the 60-piece Melbourne Symphony to accompany them on 10 tracks. Like those who have gone before them--from Deep Purple's coupling with the London Philharmonic Orchestra back in 1970 to Metallica's 1999 pairing with the San Francisco Symphony--Kiss's symphonic partners add a dimension and complexity hitherto absent from their hard-rock ethos. But that's not necessarily a good thing since Kiss are true American primitives, and their anthemic songs work best in their raw, unvarnished state. The addition of the orchestra muddies their trademark sound: at times Paul Stanley's bombastic in-your-face delivery is strangled by an aggressive army of strings, which also tend to totally subsume Gene Simmons's sturdy bass playing. The symphony musicians (who all performed in Kiss makeup) are best appreciated on a lumbering beast of a song like "God of Thunder," where they become an ominous presence adding menacing sound effects and a chilling dynamic as Simmons croaks out the lyrics, or on "Beth," the band's Top 10 ballad, which brandished strings in its original form. For those who aren't enamored of the pairing of black tie and black leather, Kiss has considerately included six unadorned tracks, as well as six never-before-performed-live acoustic versions of classic hits. --Jaan Uhelszki