Kiss

Kiss Symphony: The Single Disc

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The two-disc version of Kiss Symphony: Alive IV gets cut down to a single disc, making the overlong and underrehearsed live recording only a little bit easier to take. The one-off show with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra seems like a great idea, but a muddy mix, unoriginal orchestration, and an especially bad night for Gene Simmons' vocal chords make for an unwieldy listen even with half the muck removed. Without the quirky contributions of Ace Frehley, the band sounds more pompous and bloated than ever (he's replaced by Black 'n' Blue guitarist Tommy Thayer, who sacrilegiously assumes the role of the Spaceman). Track selections seem based on song popularity rather than performance quality since the stumbling embarrassment of "Goin' Blind" is included while a more inspired "Sure Know Something" isn't. Just to make sure die-hard fans don't pass it up, a rather thin studio version of the Ramones' "Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio" that wasn't on the double disc gets stuck on as a bonus track. It's from the more appealing We're a Happy Family: A Tribute to the Ramones, and seeing how the rest of the album is better served by the visual spectacle of the DVD, there's no real reason to pick this up.

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