KISS – Animalize [Japan SHM-CD Cardboard Sleeve mini LP remastered] *HQ*

KISS - Animalize [Japan SHM-CD Cardboard Sleeve mini LP remastered] *HQ* - full

With the just released ‘Off The Soundboard: Poughkeepsie, New York 1984’ KISS release featuring the only known soundboard recording with guitarist Mark St. John taped during the Animalize Tour, many of you asked for the best sounding CD pressing of the band 1984’s studio LP “Animalize“.
This Japanese SHM-CD in a vinyl-LP replica is the answer, remastered, as part of a Kiss reissue series prepared some time ago, now sold out.
”Animalize” marked the only appearance by St. John on any KISS album, and also the band’s definite move towards the mid-80s glam metal style so in vogue at the time… it was 1984.
In many ways, “‘Animalize” was Paul Stanley’s ‘child’, almost a ‘One-Man Band’ record due to Gene Simmons lack of commitment to the band and preoccupation with numerous outside projects, including acting in Hollywood, producing and managing other rock groups, and an assortment of business ventures.
And we said ‘child’, as Paul got help from talented Desmond Child in the songwriting, apart from other outside contributors such as Bruce Kulick, Jean Beauvoir, and more.

Unquestionably the kings of late-’70s arena rock, KISS had taken a number of well-documented lumps in the early ’80s — losing founding members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, and releasing two albums (1980’s disco-pop Unmasked and 1981’s bizarre medieval concept album Music From the Elder) that alienated nearly every last member of their once large and loyal fan base.
1982’s Creatures of the Night was a shockingly good return to form — perhaps their heaviest and most consistent album ever — but the public wasn’t paying attention anymore. So the band played the last remaining card in its bag of marketing tricks by removing its famous, identity-concealing facial makeup on MTV.
Their new look, and another strong album in 1983’s Lick It Up, finally turned the tide and brought the band back to the world of platinum record sales and crowded concert halls.

The quest to maintain this momentum took a big hit when Frehley’s replacement, Vinnie Vincent, left the group prior to the recording of ”Animalize”. Beyond his impressive guitar skills, Vincent had become an important part of KISS’ songwriting team, earning co-author credits on all but two Lick It Up songs.

That wasn’t the biggest loss Stanley was forced to deal with. “Gene had basically disappeared by that point,” he writes in his book Face the Music. “I felt abandoned when it came time to make ”Animalize”. After informing me without any warning or discussion that he wouldn’t be around for the album, Gene went into a studio and crapped out some demos as fast as he could. Then he was off to do a movie [the Tom Selleck-starring Runaway]. He left me with a pile of mostly unusable junk.”

Simmons has admitted several times over the years that he let his attention wander too far away from Kiss and into film, TV and production work during this era. But he also offers some compelling reasons for this change.
“Mainly what happened was that I started to get lost,” he explains in Kiss and Make-Up. “I didn’t know how I was supposed to act, because the no-makeup version of the band was an entirely new idea. Paul was in his prime. He was very comfortable being who he was.”

Regardless of the reasons, Simmons’ diminished focus left Stanley in a bind. Besides the always reliably awesome Eric Carr, now drumming on his fourth Kiss album (and earning a songwriting credit for the energetic side two opener “Under the Gun”), the former Starchild was on his own to both find a new guitarist and record the album.

The job opening was filled by Mark St. John, whom Stanley describes as a “goofy oversized guy” obsessed, like many of his peers, with the Eddie Van Halen method of guitar playing: “Everybody wanted to be fast and flashy, tapping, playing with two hands and their nose if you let them.”
But it soon became clear that St. John’s busy style — not to mention his reported inability to play the same solo twice in the studio — wasn’t a great fit for the band. Stanley recalls one telling exchange in Face the Music.
“Another time I said to him, ‘You know, sometimes it’s not about what you play — it’s about what you don’t play. Listen to Jimmy Page, listen to Paul Kossoff, listen to Eric Clapton.’
‘I can play faster than those guys,’ scoffed Mark. Houston, we have a problem … ”

Stanley ended up calling in another guitarist — one who as fate would have it, soon proved to play a much bigger role in the band — to help finish a couple of songs: Bruce Kulick.
Amid all this chaos, Stanley managed to complete the job at hand. “I fixed Gene’s songs, fixed the band situation, pulled solos out of Mark and saw through the making of the album. I also named the album, designed the album art and arranged the cover photo shoot. On top of it all, I spent big chunks of time in our office personally promoting the album, glad-handing radio people, cajoling MTV into playing the videos and doing all the things a manager would normally do.”

And he did it well, delivering one of the band’s best ’80s albums.
While in retrospect it may not stand quite as tall as Creatures or Lick It Up, it was more than good enough to maintain the band’s forward momentum. Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering how Paul was backed into a corner, he also created what just might be Kiss’ most aggressive album ever, with tracks like the opening “I’ve Had Enough (Into the Fire),” the unfortunately titled “Burn Bitch Burn” and “Under the Gun” all bordering on metal territory with their heavily distorted, uptempo attack.

Perhaps most importantly, ”Animalize” also delivered the band’s biggest hit single in years with the scorching “Heaven’s on Fire.” “I was striving for simplicity,” Stanley explained in Behind the Mask. “Desmond Child and I wrote that at his house. I did wonder if it was too simple. But I love it.”

Amid rather cheeky discussions of putting logs in fireplaces and “hitting the highway doing 69,” one of the album’s under-appreciated highlights, “Get All You Can Take,” features more serious, positive lyrics displaying the “can-do” attitude that helped Stanley claw his way to the top of the music world: “You’ve gotta get all you can take / Stop waiting for your lucky break / Stop waiting, wasting time.”
According to Creatures of the Night and Lick it Up producer Michael James Jackson, who helped work on Animalize in the early stages, it also showed off Stanley’s musical talent. “Paul is an extraordinary rhythm player. During the course of cutting tracks, I always relied on Paul for holding the groove down with the drums.”

Other inside track we consider really good is “Thrills in the Night” written by Paul and Jean Beauvoir which means he played bass on it as well (oh, and he played bass on “Under the Gun” too). The promotional video for this song actually featured Bruce since it was released and filmed in 1985. It is more glam metal song, almost pop and definitely radio-friendly. The drums were toned back and it was really focused on Paul and guitar as all 80’s had to have guitar. The song never charted though.

And the Gene /Mitch Weissman co-write “While the City Sleeps” is very cool. It is a more reserved Gene song and the playing on it is fantastic. The final track is “Murder in High Heels” which has a nice groove and is a little funky. It seems to be throwback track in style and is yet another song written by Gene and Weissman. The guitar work is masterfully handled by Bruce Kulick and shows why the band kept him around.

Many consider ”Animalize” as a mini Paul Stanley solo album as he had to be the captain and steer the ship while his First Mate lost his way and his attention was elsewhere. It’s a mid-80s US hard rock product, a good one, and a cool representation of the genre at the time.
Highly Recommended



01 – I’ve Had Enough (Into The Fire)
02 – Heaven’s On Fire
03 – Burn Bitch Burn
04 – Get All You Can Take
05 – Lonely Is The Hunter
06 – Under The Gun
07 – Thrills In The Night
08 – While The City Sleeps
09 – Murder In High Heels

Paul Stanley – vocals, guitar, bass
Gene Simmons – vocals, bass
Eric Carr – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Mark St. John – lead guitar

Additional musicians
Bruce Kulick – guitar solo on 5,9
Jean Beauvoir – bass on 4,6,7
Desmond Child − backing vocals
Allan Schwartzberg – drum overdubs
Mitch Weissman − additional guitar


sold out

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4 Responses

  1. Jayman says:

    Thnx a Bunch for this

  2. Jason says:

    Thnx 0Day, Big Kiss fan here, these do sound much better, especiall Hot In the shade is 100X better than the orginal.

  3. Jayman says:

    Would You happen to have the Asylum reaster as well, that you could put up sometime


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