By JASON PRICE
There are very few bands in the world who that have the longevity and global success as KISS. KISS is more than just a band: The Demon, The Star Child, The Space Ace and The Cat Man are living legends, pop culture icons, and the undisputed heavyweight champs of Rock n’ Roll. IKONS, a 4-CD collector’s package features a total of 56 tracks with a disc dedicated solely to each iconic persona.
Any KISS fan knows that there is no shortage of KISS material on the market. There have already been several greatest hits packages geared toward the band’s fans over the past several years. What sets IKONS apart from the previous attempts to bottle the magic of KISS, is that Ace Frehley and Peter Criss share equal billing with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. In my opinion, this is truly a strong point of this compilation. All politicking aside, the greatest part about this set is that once you pop this set into your stereo and hit play, you will be taken on a wild ride with a fantastic sampling of the entire KISS library that is every bit as good today as the first time you heard it!
Disc 1 is entitled “The Demon” and features the works of everyone’s favorite blood spewing, fire-breathing bass player: Gene Simmons. “God Of Thunder” kicks off the set and really showcases the larger than life sound that KISS is known for. There is no shortage of hits here, with classics such as “Calling Dr. Love,” “Deuce,” and “Rock N’ Roll All Nite.” Those tunes would be expected on any compilation and rightly so. A real treat is the inclusion of such lesser known songs, such as “Ladies Room,” “Charisma,” and “Larger Than Life.”
Disc 2 is entitled “The Star Child” and features the best of Paul Stanley, a true gold standard when it comes to charismatic frontmen. All of Paul’s expected classics are here as well. “Detroit Rock City,” “Love Gun”, “Strutter” and the classic roller rink anthem “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” make this disc alone a must for any collection. Lesser known but equally quality jams from Paul Stanley include “All American Man,” “Mr. Speed,” and “Wouldn’t You Like To Know Me?.”
Disc 3 is entitled “The Space Ace” and features the power and fury of Ace Frehley. This is a solid and complete representation of Frehley’s work with the band. The disc opens up with the undeniable, head bobbing vibe of “New York Groove” and moves onto classics like “Shock Me” and “Into The Void.”
Disc 4 is entitled “The Cat Man” and features the KISS classics brought to life by Peter Criss. It features almost every song Criss contributed to the band’s catalog. The killer cuts include “Hard Luck Woman,” “Beth,” and “Black Diamond.” It is nice to finally see The Space Ace and The Cat Man get their share of kudos in this format. After all, they certainly played key roles in making KISS the powerhouse it has been for over 30 years.
The packaging for IKONS is definitely as eye catching as the members themselves. The outside sleeve is jet-black and features the iconic KISS logo and the member “Ikons” beautifully rendered in all their metallic glory. Inside the package is a very cool 24-page booklet filled with classic KISS photos and a brief yet wonderfully written history of the band. This set truly is one of the best on the market in regards to price and content. There is no doubt that you get plenty of bang for your buck with IKONS. In an era where the youth of the nation is being exposed to “classic rock n’ roll” via Guitar Hero and Rock Band, this compilation is timely and serves as a terrific jumping off point for fans just discovering the rich history of the band.
THE VERDICT: 5/5
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.