Before Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley reunited with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, they recorded Carnival of Souls with guitarist Bruce Kulick and drummer Eric Singer, intending to release the record either in late 1995 or early 1996. Once the reunion took off, Carnival of Souls was shelved and Kulick and Singer were unceremoniously given their walking papers, the final chapter of their history erased from public record. Unsurprisingly, the unreleased album became a hot bootleg in collector's circles, paving the way for its official release in the fall of 1997. In some ways, it should have stayed unreleased, since Carnival of Souls hardly captures Kiss at their best. None of the songs, either the predictable rockers or the by-the-book power ballads, stand out, and the music sounds canned, forced, and over-produced, with little of the self-deprecating humor that made the comeback tour a success. Only the dedicated -- who probably already own it on bootleg -- will have the patience to wade through the record to find the few minor items of worth.
Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine