Home Read Classic Album Review: KISS | Symphony: Alive IV

Classic Album Review: KISS | Symphony: Alive IV

Rock ’n’ roll's ultimate carnie hucksters rope you in yet again with this live outing.


This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


You know why critics hate KISS? I’ll tell you why. And why not.

It’s not because they haven’t written a good song in 100,000 years. It’s not because they’ve degenerated into shameless, money-grubbing hucksters who sell everything from condoms to caskets and see their fans only as sheep to be fleeced. It’s not because they’ve had more farewell tours than The Who. It’s not because they keep coming up with new ways — live albums, box sets, greatest-hits discs — to make you buy the same songs again and again. It’s not because their latest hunk o’product — a two-disc live set recorded with a symphony — makes use of a gimmick that’s been done to death by everyone from Metallica to Procol Harum. And it’s not even because they’ve replaced guitarist Ace Frehley on this disc by sticking his old outfits and makeup on one of their employees.

No, critics hate KISS because despite all of their unforgivable sins, they still manage to suck you in every time. And on the stylish and surprisingly entertaining Symphony: Alive IV, they do it with all the grace and skill of the consummate carnies they are. This energetic, hit-laden set finds the gods of thunder making impressive use of the Melbourne Symphony, drawing on their grandeur and power to add new sonic depth and dimension to chestnuts like Detroit Rock City, Do You Love Me?, Shout it Out Loud and even Rock and Roll All Nite. So just when you thought they were finally down for the count, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley pull the fat out of the fire one more time and go laughing all the way back to the bank in their gold-plated limos. Damn them all to hell.


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