The Loyal Subjects BST AXN KISS “The Starchild”

“I’m the King of the Night Time world!”

After dragging their feet for what seemed like a lifetime, Walmart finally started putting The Loyal Subjects BST AXN The Starchild figures on the shelves in my region. Why do I say my “region?” Because I had to drive three and a half hours from my home in order to find a Paul “Starchild” Stanley action figure on the shelf. To this day I still haven’t seen a Peter “Catman” Criss figure yet, but I’m hoping that one will eventually pop up in my area. It’s been over a year since my last BST AXN KISS figure review (Ace in September of 2021) and there was only a two month difference between that figure and the first KISS figure released (I reviewed Gene in July of 2021), so waiting for Paul to show up has really tested my patience.

So was the figure worth the wait? Yes and no. The sculpt is amazing and is probably the best looking of the three figures that I’ve managed to acquire. The figure’s look is based upon Paul’s 1976 Destroyer tour costume. Sticklers will notice that his boots are silver-tipped, which makes them the second pair of boots that he wore on the tour. The originals were from the previous tour and painted completely black. The costume also features what appears to be either a black feather boa or collar and two wrist pieces of similar texture. I was an infant for the Destroyer tour, so I’m not one hundred percent sure if Paul ever wore anything like this but in all of the photos I’ve seen, he doesn’t wear either the boa or the feathered wrist pieces. Sure, he has worn jackets and armbands with feathers off and on in different tours (and even had a long jacket for the Destroyer tour with feathers), but nothing like this costume suggests.

The figure comes with a BST AXN sticker, two extra pairs of hands (for a total of three pairs), a mic stand, and two of Paul’s guitars. The first guitar is the beautiful Ibanez PS10, the guitar that would be morphed over the years into numerous looks, my favorite being the PS1CM (Cracked Mirror). The second guitar is Paul’s modified Gibson Flying V. Both guitars, it should be noted, feature the correct strap (something The Loyal Subjects missed on Ace’s guitars). The mic stand is the same one offered with Gene and Ace and it appears to be to short for all of them.

The box boasts of thirty-one points of articulation but I can’t find them all. This figure is closer in accuracy to the twenty-two POA mentioned on the Ace and Gene figures. Paul’s head is severely limited due to his mass of hair. His shoulders don’t move at all which is ridiculous in my opinion. He does have swivel biceps, three POA at each elbow, upper and lower torso joints, wrist joints, hip and thigh joints, and foot and knee joints. The lack of movement at the shoulders and limited head swivel makes Paul difficult to put in anything more than basic poses. It also makes his guitar awkward looking in his hands.

The likeness is okay and both of the photos on the box are actually from the Destroyer tour. I also like the fact that Paul’s necklace is free floating on his hairy chest, so you can shift it around for poses. The interior of the box can be removed to make a cool diorama for the figure as well. I’ll most likely keep this figure boxed up like the other figures in this line, as they just don’t have the poseability that I want to display them.

Thanks for checking out my review. If and when I get my claws on a Peter Criss figure, I’ll be sure to review him as well. All three of the figures look great in their boxes and that’s most likely where they will stay. The Loyal Subjects know how to do packaging. I just with that these figures had better articulation.

See you again real soon!

Metal Lords (2022)

“Why can’t we all not fit in together?”

I like Metal Lords. The 2022 Netflix tale drops us into the lives of three teens, Hunter, Kevin, and Emily, who don’t fit at their school. Hunter dreams of being in a metal band that takes over the world. Kevin is torn between helping his best friend form a metal band and trying to be a normal high school kid. Cello player Emily has to take medication for her rage issues and feels like a misfit because of it. The three of them ultimately come together and plan to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands.

There is absolutely nothing new about this coming-of-age film. We’ve all seen films where misfits try their darnedest to fit in and eventually except who they really are and succeed at being themselves. This film is exactly like all of those other films but with metal as the “misfit” modus operandi. Hunter is a somewhat unlikable kid who pushes away his best friend and refuses (at first) to allow another outsider (Emily) join his group until he realizes that he’s been wrong about both of them. Kevin is a good guy who is average at just about everything, awkward, and loyal to a fault but finally manages to unite his friends to achieve success. Emily is the ultimate outsider. She doesn’t fit in and believes that she doesn’t deserve to fit in because of her mental health issues. She sees herself as a freak and it is up to Kevin to bring her out of her shell.

The film has other standard tropes you’d find in teen comedies. There’s Clay, the good-hearted popular guy who befriends Kevin and “steals” him from Hunter’s band. Then we have Kendall, who is a character on the periphery of popularity. She’s liked by many of the popular kids at her school but still finds herself a little on the outside of everything. There’s also a former standout at the school who pops up late in the film with an inspirational message for one of the teens. Throw in a couple of parties, a little too much drinking, bullies, and a dream sequence featuring guys that metalheads will definitely recognize and you’ve got a standard teen flick.

The film has nothing new in it, but still managed to hold my attention. There are a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments, a couple of sugary sweet interactions between Kevin and Emily, and the aforementioned dream sequence where Rob Halford (Judas Priest, Fight), Scott Ian (Anthrax), Kirk Hammett (Metallica), and Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave) give Kevin some sound relationship advice. It all adds up to a decent movie with heart, tons of great metal music, and some nice laughs.

I got a real Wayne and Garth vibe from Hunter and Kevin. Although they aren’t as dumb as Wayne and Garth, the duo interact and feed off of one another much like that duo. It also helps that Kevin wears glasses and plays the drums and Hunter plays guitar and goes off on rants at moments. Hunter is played by newcomer Adrian Greensmith. He shows a lot of heart and anger as the character. I really wish that his character’s friendship with Robbie (Christopher M. Lopes), a character with his own issues that he has no control over, would have been expanded a bit. Jaeden Martell portrays Kevin. Martell has awkward down pat. He’s an excellent character and the one that I identified with the most in the film. Isis Hainsworth plays Emily. Her character is broken emotionally and Hainsworth does a great job of revealing that in the film. Her awkward moments with Kevin were some of the best moments in the film. The cast is rounded out by Brett Gelman (Stranger Things, Fleabag), Sufe Bradshaw (Veep), Noah Urrea (Now United), Joe Manganiello (True Blood, Magic Mike), and Analesa Fisher (Pretty Little Liars, Chad).

The film is rated “R” for language, sexual references, nudity, and drug/alcohol use. The language is pretty strong in the film. The name of Hunter and Kevin’s band is Skullfucker (which Emily changes with a few supplies from the art department so that they can enter the Battle of the Bands). There are a ton of images on the walls of the teens’ rooms that some might deem inappropriate for younger viewers. A couple of the teens have sex but nothing is shown and there’s a brief bit of nudity during a skinny dipping scene where we see both male and female bottoms. The drug and alcohol use is limited to brief moments at the parties including Kevin puking after drinking too much.

The film isn’t amazing or cutting edge but it is a nice diversion for an afternoon. If you’re a fan of different types of metal as I am, you’ll definitely want to check this movie out for its soundtrack. Tom Morello was the film’s executive music producer and he definitely made sure to throw in metal from different ages and styles. He also wrote the film’s big track, Machinery Of Torment, which I highly recommend. Be on the lookout for a ton of metal references everywhere in the film as well.

I do recommend this film but I don’t expect you to be blown away by it. It’s a fun film with great music, comedic teen awkwardness, and characters that we can all identify with from different points in our lives. I hope that you watch it and I hope that you like it.

Thanks for checking out my review.

November Noise: Vixen (1988)

“I don’t need your shoulder….”

The late 1980’s found me comfortably nestled into a rock cradle. I was listening to bands like Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi, Guns n’ Roses, and more hard rock and glam acts. One of the bands that slipped into my listening queue was Vixen, one of the most successful all female rock bands in history. Their 1988 self-titled debut had two big hits on it, Edge Of A Broken Heart and Cryin’ and a third single, Love Made Me, that also performed very well.. It also featured a solid lineup of supporting tracks that proved to be more than filler.

The album is loaded with some awesome heavy hitters like I Want You To Rock Me, Hell Raisers, and Cruisin’. The album’s three singles and songs like Charmed Life all had radio-ready production and sing along choruses. In fact, the entire album was slickly produced and sounded amazing. That should be a good thing but it was actually detrimental to the band’s image.

As Vixen’s popularity began to grow, so did the ire of their critics. Being an all female band, they were often written off as a gimmick. They were accused of not being able to play their instruments even though the entire band were more than capable of performing all of their songs live. Founder and lead guitarist Jan Kuehnemund has some lethal solos on this album and on later releases by the band. Janet Gardner’s vocals were both emotional and powerful. Bassist Share Pedersen (eventually Share Ross) and drummer Roxy Petrucci provide a rhythm section that could easily hold its own against many of their contemporaries. Still, critics were relentless and tried to credit the album’s producers and songwriters which included Richard Marx, Spencer Proffer, and David Cole, for doing most of the work and for making the “girls” sound excellent. This unwarranted criticism would push the band to write almost all of the songs for their follow up album, 1990’s Rev It Up, and the band scored Top 100 tracks with How Much Love, Love Is A Killer, and Not A Minute Too Soon.

I loved Vixen and still listen to it to this day. The band split up in 1992 and would reappear in different configurations throughout the rest of the decade and well into the 2000’s. Share Pedersen wouldn’t return until a VH-1stint in 2004 and the eventual reunion of the classic lineup in 2012. Kuehnemund carried the flag for the band throughout most of the years following 1992. She joined back up with Petrucci and Gardner in the late 90’s and then continued the band with different members after that. When the classic lineup did finally reunite seriously in 2012, the group was put on hold when it was announced that Kuehnemund had cancer. She would pass away in 2013. The rest of the classic lineup decided to continue on with Gina Stile on lead guitar. Eventually Stile would be replaced by former Jaded guitarist Britt Lightning. Gardner would leave the band on good terms in 2019 and would be replaced by current singer and former Femme Fatale frontwoman, Lorraine Lewis.

Vixen’s current lineup, L to R: Ross, Lewis, Petrucci, Lightning.

I really love Vixen and can’t wait for them to release new music with Lewis and Lightning. The entire band is very active on social media, especially Britt Lightning, and I highly recommend following them. Their debut album was amazing and so were their later releases including their most recent one, Live Fire, which I’ve reviewed on this blog when it was released. I hope to see them play live in the near future as well. They are one of the few bands that I want to see live that I haven’t seen yet.

Thanks for reading my post. Oh, I had a mad crush on Share Ross from day one. I still do.

November Noise: Too Fast For Love, Mötley Crüe, 1981

“Cuz I’m alive……”

Mötley Crüe was the first “bad” band that I ever listened to as a kid. With their Satanic imagery, lyrics about rock staples such as sex, drugs, alcohol, and doing pretty much whatever you wanted to do as a youngster in the 1980’s, I was forbidden to listen to them. Because of this, I didn’t actually hear them until the mid 1980’s when I would go to my friend’s house and listen to them on cassette. I had a few bootleg tapes that I would make at my friend’s house. When I discovered music clubs like BMG and Columbia House, I was able to purchase my very own copies of the band’s albums and since my parents rarely checked what cassettes and CDs I purchased, I quickly amassed the band’s entire catalogue with the exception of one album, Too Fast For Love.

The original release of Too Fast For Love on Leathür Records.

Mötley Crüe quickly became my favorite band. I listened to their music nonstop. I learned the lyrics for all of their songs and would regularly try to imitate Vince Neil’s vocals. I wanted to look as cool as Mick Mars, rock out like Tommy Lee, and write lyrics and music like Nikki Sixx. It wasn’t until I got into college that I picked up a copy of Too Fast For Love. I immediately fell in love with it. As cool as Shout At The Devil and Dr. Feelgood sounded, Too Fast For Love sounded cooler. It didn’t have the polished sound that Theatre of Pain and Girls, Girls, Girls had. Instead, it was raw, trampy, dirty rock and I loved it.

Elektra release cover.

The entire album has that raw sound that just screams out that a bunch of young and hungry punks put it together. Almost all of the tracks are punchy, in-your-face, and make you want to scream along with them. Some of the tracks pound on you like a high school bully. Those tracks include “Live Wire” and “Piece of Your Action.” Other tracks are slower paced but just as brutal like “Merry Go Round” and “Come On And Dance.” There’s also one reflective track on the album, “On With The Show,” which looks at the death of “Frankie” and the rise of Nikki Sixx. The title track is a pounding anthemic rocker and my favorite tune, “Starry Eyes,” is a perfect blend of poppy ballad and violent rock.

It should be noted that the original release of the album and the Elektra release had a few differences. “Stick To Your Guns” was completely removed from the Elektra release and the song order was altered as well. Also, there’s an intro found on the Leathür Records release of the title track that is omitted from the Elektra release. The original Leathür album is still out there but very hard to find. Luckily it was also released as part of the Music To Crash Your Car To Volume One collection in 2003.

I highly recommend this album to fans of hard rock, heavy metal, and glam. It’s raw and simply amazing. I’ll have another album review next Friday. Thanks for reading!

Throwback Thursday: KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park (1978)

“Ack!!!”

Friends, family, and regular readers of this blog are aware that I am a huge KISS fan. I’ve heard pretty much every track that they’ve released, watched all of their videos, and spent countless hours watching and listening documentaries, interviews, etc. with the band. The one thing that I haven’t done is watch KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park. That fact changed a couple of weekends ago. I finally sat down and watched the film, known mainly for its bad acting, wonky special effects, and overall cheesiness. That’s pretty much what the film is and I won’t argue with anyone about that but I did find a few redeeming things about it.

Briefly, the film’s plot is that an amusement park engineer attempts to use his animatronic creations to ruin the KISS concert at the park and to ruin the amusement park in general. The engineer, named Abner Devereaux (Anthony Zerbe), doesn’t seem to have any other plans other than getting revenge on the park’s manager for cutting funding to his animatronic projects and KISS for being paid money out of his pot to perform at the park. He doesn’t even seem to want to take over the world. It’s a somewhat odd plot but it does give Ace, Peter, Gene, and Paul just enough of a situation to use their magical powers granted to them by four talismans.

The acting is pretty bad. Even Zerbe, who has given many excellent performances over his career (Papillon, Star Trek: Insurrection, Matrix films, and The Young Riders), delivers a rigid and lifeless performance. Out of the four members of KISS, Gene and Peter appear to just be going through the motions (Peter’s voice was dubbed by Michael Bell). Paul looks like he is trying really, really hard to be a serious actor and not doing a very good job of it. Ace seems to be having a blast and not really caring if he looks good or bad on camera.

The special effects were pretty lame. You could see cabling in some of the scenes where members of the band or their adversaries were flying or jumping extreme distances. The lasers and flames also looked pretty cheesy. Stunt doubles were easily seen in many parts of the film as well.

Produced by Hanna-Barbera, fans of that company’s cartoons (and sharp-eared fans of Star Trek) will recognize many of the sound effects used in the movie. Each member of the band was given special powers. Gene blew fire and had super strength. He also had a very annoying reverberating voice. Paul had a star-laser that emitted from his eye and he could read thoughts as well. Ace could also shoot lasers and had a power punch. I’m not exactly sure what Peter’s special powers were except possibly that he had super strength and was (by Hanna-Barbera standards) a brilliant hand-to-hand combatant.

Not Ace.

Despite all of these misfires, the show did have a couple of things going for it. Number one, KISS was on top of the world at the time and their concert performances (even though they were lip-synched) in the film were great. Even when the band poses as the animatronic doubles that Devereaux makes of them to sing an alternate version of Hotter Than Hell entitled Rip & Destroy, the track still sounds pretty awesome. Secondly, seeing Ace laughing it up, Paul being very serious and sincere with his performance, and Gene and Peter chewing their way through the film gives the movie a certain charm. It should be noted that there was a lot of trouble going on within the band itself despite their popularity, part of which was evident in the release of the band’s iconic four solo albums just one month prior to the film’s release. If nothing else, the film proves to be a harbinger for the fallout that was to come after albums like Dynasty and Unmasked.

I’m not going to tell anybody to watch this film. It’s a personal decision that’s based mainly on just how much of an interest you have in KISS. I love the band, love the film despite all of its shortcomings, and will probably watch it a few more times. It’s nothing amazing, but it’s still very fun.

Thanks for heading down memory lane with me today. I’ll see you again real soon.

November Noise

Who wants to rock?

With Thirty-One Days O’Horror officially done for 2021, I’ve decided to dial things back a bit for the month of November. I’m going to have a few action figure reviews, film reviews, and other general genre related posts, but each Friday during November I’ll be highlighting one album from some of the bands that I listened to as a kid with my Tunes feature. This Friday I’ll be taking a look at one of Mötley Crüe’s classic albums, Too Fast For Love. I haven’t decided which other bands that I’ll be reviewing for the rest of the month, but rest assured that I’ll be looking at some of the newer releases from bands as well.

My Throwback Thursday posts for November are going to be music related as well, focusing on everything from films centered around music and/or bands to classic album art and all sorts of other things. I hope that November Noise proves to be just as popular as Thirty-One Days O’Horror. If it is, I’ll do it again next year.

Oh, and speaking of next year, one of the things that I’m finally committing to post about is all of KISS’ studio albums. I haven’t decided when I’ll post them, but I’ll let you know as soon as I do. I’ll probably review two of them each month since they released twenty studio albums and the four solo studio albums. This is going to be a massive undertaking for me as I haven’t sat down and listened to all of the studio albums track for track in a long time.

Thank you for supporting my blog over the years. In late December I’ll be doing my normal yearly roundup. I don’t have anything specific lined up for December just yet, but I might highlight a few Christmas movies like I’ve done in the past. I have really big plans for my blog next year…….if a few things fall in the right order. Until then, thanks for your continued support.

The Loyal Subjects BST AXN KISS “The Spaceman”

“Don’t let’em tell you that there’s too much noise….”

I’ve been impatiently waiting for the release of The Loyal Subjects’ BEST AXN KISS The Spaceman. I liked the Demon figure released earlier this year despite having a few hangups about it and, in all honesty, I have a few hangups about the Spaceman figure as well.

For those of you who aren’t aware, the Spaceman is based off of the look of Ace “Space Ace” Frehley from KISS’ 1976 Destroyer Tour. The figure comes with two sets of hands, a microphone with stand, a BST AXN sticker, and two of Ace’s iconic guitars, his Tobacco Burst Les Paul and his Ibanez Destroyer 2459. It also features twenty-two points of articulation.

The figure’s mold is pretty good with decent paint applications. Unfortunately the knees and feet are somewhat hindered and don’t allow the figure to be posed in one of Ace’s most memorable positions, arched back on his knees while shredding a solo. The paint on the Les Paul guitar is also a bit of a letdown but it’s passable enough. The strap also lacks the star field pattern from the tour. Other than those gripes, however, the figure is pretty solid.

The packaging is excellent. Unlike the Demon figure which features a photo from the Reunion Tour, this packaging features photos of Ace from the Destroyer Tour. I’m hoping that we get a Paul Stanley and a Peter Criss figure soon. Unfortunately I received information directly from The Loyal Subjects saying that an Eric Carr figure will not happen due to legal issues with the family. Hopefully we’ll get an Eric Singer, Tommy Thayer, and a Vinnie Vincent figure in this line as well.

Should you get this figure? If you’re an Ace Frehley or KISS fan, definitely snag this figure if you see it in the wild. I’ll probably end up placing this figure back into its packaging and leave it on display in its box as posing this figure and the Gene Simmons “Demon” figure is a tad awkward.

Thanks for checking out my post. I have TWO special Masters of the Universe figure reviews coming up this week. I also have a surprise McFarlane figure review on the way as well. If I’m lucky, I’ll get to see Shang-Chi later this week and review it as well.

A&E Biography: KISSTORY

“Two sides of the coin…..”

A&E recently released their two-part Biography documentary KISSTORY that covers the career of the iconic band KISS and its nearly fifty year history. Being a massive fan of the group in all of its incarnations over the years, I was hoping to see something that hadn’t been revealed before in books, previous documentaries, or interviews from the past. While I really enjoyed the documentary and a few cool bits and pieces that I somehow missed, there weren’t very many new things revealed by the band or A&E.

While I appreciated the recognition of people such as producer and choreographer Sean Delaney, who was crucial to the early successes of the band, I felt like the documentary as a whole glazed over the important contributions of band members like Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr. Almost nothing was said about Vinnie Vincent, who stopped the band’s spiral into irrelevance in the early 80’s. Mark St. John was mentioned, but not much was said about his brief time in the group.

As was expected, the bulk of the documentary focused on the band’s rise to success in the 1970’s, the departures of both Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, and the band’s 90’s reunion. It should be noted that neither Frehley nor Criss, both co-founders of the original group, agreed to appear in any new interviews for the documentary. They only allowed archival footage of themselves to be used and, as a result, we got a one-sided view of the band’s rise, fall, and resurrection. Some might even argue that Ace and Peter were viewed in an almost entirely negative light and, too a degree, that might be true. Ace and Peter’s strained relationship with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley is well known, but the truth will probably never come to light.

The band’s “unmasked” era in the 1980’s and early 1990’s is mentioned but almost entirely skipped over. I can somewhat understand this as that particular era is the least favorite of Gene and Paul. I can also imagine how difficult it was for the producers and editors to cram over forty years of a band’s life into a three hour program. That being said, I really wish that someone would produce a documentary focusing solely on the band’s “unmasked” era, as there were some solid tunes produced during that time and Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr and eventually Kulick and Eric Singer, proved to be the most talented members of the band in my opinion.

Not mentioned in the documentary were session players such as Bob Kulick, Anton Fig, and Dick Wagner, among others, who recorded parts of or played entire songs on many of the band’s albums. I’m especially shocked at the absence of Fig and Bob Kulick, as both of them proved to be essential session players.

“Biography: KISStory” runs at 9 p.m. Sunday and Monday, June 27-28, on A&E. Photo by Ken Settle

The documentary is far from perfect and definitely suffers from the lack of Ace and Peter. There’s a vein of bitterness over the entire production any time that Ace or Peter are brought up and they are brought up a lot. I’m not saying that Ace and Peter were angels, but I do believe that Gene and Paul laid it on pretty thick a few times too many in the documentary. I also believe that the band’s failures were misrepresented at times. The failure of albums such as Unmasked and Creatures of the Night were attributed to the fans being tired of the band’s infighting when, at least in my opinion, it was due to the fact that Dynasty, Unmasked, and Music From The Elder all failed to deliver what the fans wanted. Creatures eventually found its audience and has since become a favorite album of many KISS fans, but I believe it suffered because of the pop direction and the complete misfire of Elder.

Ultimately, KISSTORY is a somewhat bitter-tasting love letter and farewell to fans. It’s actually a pretty good starting point for new and potential fans of the band, but you’ll only get a real taste of KISS by reading their books, watching other documentaries and interviews, and especially listening to their music.

Thanks for checking out my review. I hope that you enjoyed it.

The Loyal Subjects KISS BST AXN “The Demon”

“You’ve Got Great Expectations…..

Yep, you’ve got great expectations, but does the recent The Demon 5″ action figure from The Loyal Subjects meet those expectations? Yes…..and no. I really do like the figure overall, but there are a few things about it that have me scratching my head.

Before we get to the negative stuff, let’s talk about the positive aspects of this figure. For starters, the design of the figure is pretty cool. No, it’s not an exact duplicate of Gene Simmons (that’s not the point of BST AXN figures), but it has decent paint apps. The figure’s design is based off of Gene’s 1976 Destroyer Tour suit. It comes with removable wings and some nice accessories. The accessories include two of Gene’s guitars, the beautiful black Punisher bass and the iconic Axe bass. It also features a mic and mic stand and an alternate set of hands. There’s also a BST AXN sticker included.

Despite having twenty two points of articulation, the figure has posing issues. The wings get in the way of posing Gene and they easily pop off of the figure. The wings also prevent posing Gene in his iconic “bass straight up and down” pose. On the Destroyer tour, Gene had fabric wings that could be disconnected at the wrist. I honestly believe that detachable soft goods wings would have been a better option for this figure. Perhaps it would have affected the price point which currently sits around fifteen bucks, but the hard plastic detachable wings on this figure really bother me. Also, the legs are pretty stiff as are the arms. This is a good thing if you plan on posing the figure once and leaving him as is, but I plan on changing up his look once I get my hands on some of the upcoming figures in this line. One final complaint, and it’s minor but noteworthy, is the fact that the photo on the box appears to be of Gene from the Reunion tour and not a photo from the original Destroyer tour. I’m being nit-picky here, but I thought that I should bring it up for hardcore KISS collectors.

I’ve ultimately decided to box this figure back up until I can find the Ace Frehley/Space Ace figure that’s soon to be released. The Demon figure was said to have been released in Walmart in late October of last year, but I am only now seeing the figure on pegs. It is also supposed to be available now at Target and Hot Topic, but I have yet to see one in the wild at either location. This might be a stocking issue with the stores or a shipping issue due to COVID-19 or something else. I’m merely speculating on this and hopefully I’ll see Ace on a peg sooner than later.

I definitely recommend this figure to KISS fans. If you’re a member of the KISS Army like myself, you’re probably staring at this figure on the shelf as you’re reading this post. Despite the wing issues, it’s a pretty cool figure to add to any KISS collection. If you’re a fan of hard rock in general, there are other figures in this line including Slash from Guns n’ Roses and Angus Young of AC/DC that I have seen on the peg. More figures are on the way.

As a huge KISS fan, I’m probably critiquing this figure a bit harder than other figures, but I do believe that my complaints are justified. The packaging looks awesome despite the wrong photo on the front and I really love the bass guitars and Gene’s overall look. Keep that in mind while deciding on whether or not to snag this figure. As soon as the Ace figure hits shelves I will be getting it, so be on the lookout for that review in the future.

KISS was born to be action figures, so seeing these guys in an affordable and easy to collect line of figures is great. Hopefully we will see the Starchild and the Cat added to the line in the near future. If you’re a dreamer like me, nothing would warm your heart more than to see the Fox and the Ankh Warrior added to this line as well but I don’t think that that is going to happen. Heck, it would be really cool if The Loyal Subjects gave us a Paul Stanley Bandit action figure!

Thanks for checking out my review. I hope that you enjoyed it. If you have this figure or any other figure that I’ve reviewed, let me know what you like and dislike about them in the comments. Feel free to share this post on social media as well.

Tunes: KISS 40

Decades of Decibels

KISS has been around for over forty years as of this writing. Over the New Year holiday, they performed live in Dubai at Atlantis in what they dubbed the KISS 2020 Goodbye Concert. In true KISS fashion, they went over the top with the pyrotechnics and managed to break two Guinness World Records in the process. They are now the proud owners of the records for Highest Flame Projection and Most Flame Projections Launched Simultaneously, both in a live concert. With that in mind, I thought that now would be a good time to take a look at the band’s 2014 compilation album, KISS 40 Years: Decades of Decibels.

KISS releasing compilation albums and greatest hits packages is nothing new, but this particular compilation rises above the pack with not only its unique track listing, but with its selection of songs in general. To start, the album features one track from every album, both studio and live, ever released by the band. It also features tracks from the Instant Live albums, other compilations, and one previously unreleased song called Reputation. The Japanese release of the album also features a live version of Hell Or Hallelujah.

What I love most about this compilation is the fact that gives both longtime fans and newcomers something to listen to by providing primarily live versions of their biggest hits and deeper studio cuts that a casual listener might not recognize. Let’s be honest, how many casual fans can say that they know and/or remember the songs “Nothin’ To Lose,” “Jungle,” and “You Matter To Me” prior to hearing them on this compilation? Fans of the original lineup or the No Makeup era might not be familiar with some of KISS’ later tunes like “Hell Or Hallelujah” and “Modern Day Delilah.”

All of the band’s past and present members are recognized on the album, from the original four of Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, and Peter Criss, to later members such as Eric Carr, Vinnie Vincent, Bruce Kulick, Eric Singer, and Tommy Thayer. Even oft forgotten guitarist Mark St. John, who only appeared on the Animalize album (1984) and only appeared at two full live concerts, is given a nod with Heaven’s On Fire.

My favorite tracks on the album include live versions of Crazy, Crazy Nights, Detroit Rock City, Shout It Out Loud, and Rock And Roll All Nite, a demo of God Of Thunder featuring Paul Stanley on vocals, and multiple tracks from the band produced throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, a time mostly forgotten on other KISS compilations.

Of course, being a massive fan of KISS, I own most of the albums that these tracks are on, the only exceptions being the Instant Live release and Sonic Boom Over Europe. That being said, it’s great to just grab this album, toss it in the old CD player (or stream the digital download from my phone), and rock out to it without having to worry about switching out albums. I could listen to the other compilations and greatest hits albums that I own, but they aren’t as loaded as this album is in my opinion.

The album also serves as a great timeline for the band’s sound over the years. You can hear the influence of newcomers such as Vincent and Kulick on the guitars and the massive sound that Eric Carr brought to the band when Peter Criss exited. You can also hear KISS’ style change from hard rock to glam to heavy metal and then back to their classic sound (with a short-lived romp with grunge thrown in for good measure) while listening to the album. It’s a great little trip through the career of one of the biggest bands of all time.

As a KISS completionist, I was going to buy this album regardless of what tracks were on it, but it’s nice to know that KISS put some thought into this collection instead of just slapping in the standard hits. I consider this album to be a great way to introduce new and/or casual fans to a bigger range of KISS’ music. Many other fans and critics disagree with my opinion of the album, but I proudly stand by my statement.

If you’re looking for a one-album collection of KISS tunes, I definitely recommend KISS 40. It has most of their biggest hits in live versions, deeper cuts and demos than other similar collections, and a great run of tracks from the 80’s and 90’s that don’t get as much attention as the classics.

Thanks for checking out my post. Let me know what you think of this album or any other KISS album in the comments!