With two strong albums back to back (Creatures of the Night and Lick It Up), Kiss fans were confident that the band's next album would be just as good. Although 1984's Animalize was a big hit (eventually going double platinum), it was the beginning of the band's second unfocused period. Instead of leading the heavy metal pack with raw hard rock (i.e., their classic albums from the '70s), in the mid- to late '80s, Kiss seemed to be copying other successful pop-metal bands (Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, etc.), both musically and visually. Mark St. John replaced the departed Vinnie Vincent on guitar (guitarist number three in a span of three years) and proved to be a highly technical player, the complete opposite of original member Ace Frehley's straight-ahead style. Still, there were a few strong compositions on Animalize, such as the MTV hit "Heaven's on Fire" and two heavy tracks: the opener, "I've Had Enough (Into the Fire)," and "Under the Gun." But by this point, bassist Gene Simmons was more interested in pursuing an acting career than being an integral member of Kiss, so many of his compositions are either forgettable ("While the City Sleeps") or just plain embarrassing (the Spinal Tap-esque "Burn Bitch Burn"). Although a commercial success, Animalize was not nearly as strong as its two predecessors.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato