Although Kiss' self-titled debut performed respectably on the charts, it was not the blockbuster they had hoped for. With the album fading on the charts in the summer of 1974, Kiss was summoned back into the studio to work on a follow-up. Producers Richie Wise and Kenny Kerner were onboard again, and even though the sonics are muddier (and more filler is present in the compositions), Hotter Than Hell is another quintessential Kiss release. Many of the songs have been forgotten over the years (few have been featured in concert after the '70s), but there are still more than a few gems to be found. It's unclear if the members of Kiss were having problems with their personal relationships at the time, but it's a common thread that runs through the songs. The plodding "Got to Choose" and the rapid-fire "Parasite" deal with love gone bad; the title track is about unobtainable love, while "Goin' Blind" is a disturbing tale of a 93-year-old having an affair with a 16-year-old. Also included are the early favorites "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll" and "Watchin' You," as well as the original electric version of "Comin' Home" (an acoustic version was the opener of 1996's MTV Unplugged) and "Strange Ways," which contains one of Ace Frehley's best guitar solos. Even though Hotter Than Hell actually fared worse on the charts than the debut, it has become a revered album among Kiss fans over the years -- and rightfully so.
Hotter Than Hell Review
by Greg Prato