VARIOUS ARTISTS - "KISS OF DEATH, A SSIK TRIBUTE TO KISS" (DWELL RECORDS)
Some tribute albums are bound to fail. Some aren't. When the original is a fairly heavy band of which the songs survive well when molded into a death metal framework, the potential is there. "Kiss of Death - a Ssik Tribute to Kiss" is one of these. Although Kiss' studio albums, especially the older ones, sound pretty tame, the music is a lot more intense when played live and the transition into death metal versions is often a more or less successful one.
As with just about all Dwell-released tribute albums, they lack well-known names on the roster. This time there's Acheron, and Tchort rings a bell somewhere, too. Other than these it's just bands like Shallows of the Mundane and Scary German Guy that try their hand at Kiss songs with wildly varying results. In fact there's only two truly atrocious songs on this tribute effort, these being Shallows of the Mundane's "Strutter" (it's barely recognizable, with hardcore vocals to boot) and the excruciatingly bad "Strange Ways" by Vile (the singer can't hold a note, and should be shot for spoiling this musically OK rendition...twice!). Via several half-way decent tracks such as Crematorium's "Cold Gin", Acheron's "War Machine" (which is inferior to Six Feet Under's cover on their recent "Maximum Violence"), Scary German Guy's "Shout it out Loud" and From the Depths' "Rocket Ride" (with pretty excellent guitar/drum ending) you can only conclude that there's one truly good track on the album: Blood Coven's "God of Thunder" (though this track could and perhaps should have been a lot heavier).
The climaxes are too few and far between. Quite a while ago there was a Kiss tribute entitled "Kiss my Ass" with artists such as Garth Brooks and Anthrax contributing. Although that, too, has its downs and ups (with these two artists, respectively), it is preferable above Dwell's superfluous product.
Written November 1999
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