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Carnival Of Souls: The Final Sessions
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:$5.98+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on February 18, 2016
This is a review for the 2014 vinyl release of "Carnival Of Souls". This needed to be pressed on 2 LP's! There is way too much music to squeeze onto one slab! It becomes more apparent on Side 2 when the last 3 songs, In The Mirror", "I Confess" and Kulick's "I Walk Alone....all long songs are squeezed into LP bands about 1/8 of an inch a piece. If you have a non-audiophile turntable, these tracks will sound distorted. Such a shame because of all the Non Make-up years, this is the darkest and most interesting! "There's no, "Tears Are Falling, "Lick It Up" or "Heaven's On Fire"
on this collection! Every song sounds like they were written in the bowels of hell! People downgrade this album saying KISS was trying to be grunge...or it sounds like they fell asleep listening to "Nine Inch Nail's"! I disagree! Don't get me wrong, I love grunge and NIN, but this is pure KISS at it's darkest. I feel Paul & Gene finally let the "governor" control off Bruce's playing and it's STELLAR! Eric carr sounds like he belongs in this band. What he is doing now is a waste of talent! Favorite tracks, "Hate"(Simmons), "Rain" (Stanley), "Jungle" (Stanley), "I Confess" (Simmons) ...and my favorite is Simmons' "Childhood's End". The lyrics alone gave me goosebumps! The music is just as good...It is a story (real or not) about a friend of Gene's he reads in the New York Times, "Blew His Brains Out" with a smile! It has Kurdt Cobain overtones of the story fed to the public (My views remain my own). There was enough material recorded for this album to make it a 3 record set! It's a shame, it almost never got released, the entire album won't see the light of day and that it was just released without The KISS marketing machine! Almost as if KISS released it, with the subtitle "The Final Sessions", as a way to beat the massive amount of bootlegs floating around! "Revenge" KISS' previous non-make up album was a good starter for this one! Again,I am an original fan. The first KISS record I bout was a 45 of "Rock & Roll All Nite". Then, the massive "ALIVE" LP! I have enjoyed my journey with KISS! There is no "Perfect band"! There have been massive pot holes with names like "Burn, Bitch Burn", The "Crazy Night's album minus maybe 2 songs and all but 4 songs off "Hot In The Shade" But "Carnival Of Souls" or (COS) for me was a real great attack at Rock and the final released album, I love! The vinyl LP maay be for the collector only due to it's restrictions, but by all means, get the CD!
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on February 3, 2016
This review is (in part) a copy of my response to the 2-star review written by Empty & Sweating on 01/22/16...

While Carnival of Souls does have a Seattle sound to it, it is Seattle Metal not Grunge. Anyone calling this album Grunge does not know what Grunge is, nor do they know the state of Metal in the early 1990's. This is KISS meets Alice in Chains, not Nirvana.

KISS has been bandwagon jumping since the release of the Dynasty album which contains I Was Made for Lovin' You and other disco/pop infused tracks. From Disco and Pop to Concept Rock, Hair Metal, Synth-Rock, etc, etc, they've tried to be everyone from KC and the Sunshine Band to Pink Floyd to Bon Jovi to Foreigner. What Carnival of Souls represents is the most appropriate trend they have ever followed. I've been a fan of KISS since 1975 and can safely say this album returns us to the KISS of the first three albums (Kiss, Hotter than Hell and Dressed to Kill), in that it is raw, heavy and dark. No pretty-boy hair metal, no pop or disco... Just gritty rock and roll with lyrics that finally show some maturity & depth from what at the time was a nearly 25 year old band. Carnival of Souls is what KISS should have been for the 20 years preceding it's release. Very few KISS albums reach the heights or depth of Carnival of Souls... In all honesty, none do.

My only gripe is with the production, which is somewhat muddy and in desperate need of a remaster. You've got to remember that this album was initially scrapped and only reached store shelves because so many bootleg copies were floating around. Had it received the proper mastering and care that any full blown release would normally get, it would be nothing short of KISS' crowning glory.
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Throughout their career, Kiss would occasionally update their sound to reflect the sounds of the day as they flirted with disco on Dynasty, pop music on Unmasked, and pop/metal on Crazy Nights. In the mid-90's, grunge was all the craze and the band attempted to mimic that sound on Carnival of Souls. Unlike their previous experiments, this is a pretty successful one. No, this isn't one of their best albums ala Destroyer or their self-titled debut nor is it on the level of Nirvana's Nevermind or Soundgarden's Superunknown but it's still pretty good. This style suited Gene Simmons well as his songs were traditionally the heavier ones while Paul Stanley (who was the backbone of the band) sounds a bit out of sorts but still delivers the goods. As for the songs, "Hate" is Kiss at their most wicked and Gene's vocals most resemble the "Demon" character he portrayed. "Master of Slave" has a killer riff that repeats throughout as Paul's voice shows a lot of drama. "Jungle" is a strong tune with a sick groove that got some radio airplay while "I Will Be There" is one in a long line of good "ballads" from Stanley. Bruce Kulick's playing here is his best ever as a Kiss member and he really shines on "Seduction of the Innocent", the catchy "In the Mirror" and his own "I Walk Alone". The remaining songs ("Rain", "Childhood's End", "In My Head", etc) are all good and the band certainly do the "Seattle sound" justice. While there are no classic Kiss tracks here, nothing is bad either and Carnival of Souls is worth checking out if you're a fan of the grunge sound that dominated much of the `90s.
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on February 29, 2016
I liked this one.I thought it was a good follow up to REVENGE. The direction that the group was going in as a long time kiss fan I would not have been to upset and would have gave it two thumbs up.
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on March 7, 2018
couple good tunes ..ok
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on August 1, 2017
Not one of my favorites. But had to have vinyl.
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on January 17, 2018
excelent super faster
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on December 9, 2016
Album sucks but needed it for my collection.
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on June 15, 2012
How anyone could say that this is NOT a grunge style album is beyond me. "Rain" and "Hate" are so reminiscent of Alice in Chains type music (even down to the song titles). So is "In My Head." So Kiss was trying to match a musical style of the moment. Take out Gene and Paul's voice, and the music is DEFINITELY grunge in style (of the heavier Alice in Chains mold). Throw some Danzig in there, too (like on "Master & Slave")... granted, not grunge. Say dark bluesy metal... but that's also Alice in Chains corner of grunge. There's nothing wrong with Kiss being influence by these styles. At the time, other older artists were dabbling, too. For example, David Bowie with Outside, with obvious NIN influences.

So again... maybe saying "grunge" is too broad. But Kiss' take on Alice in Chains? That nails it. And to be honest, it's pretty interesting to hear.
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on July 31, 2008
Sometimes a band cannot walk away from their past work no matter what and KISS is not the first group to grapple with fans and concert promoters demanding classic rock over new creativity.

From November 1995 to February 1996, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer recorded grunge-inspired numbers, with an album slated for release in 1996. But the project was shelved when a reunion tour of the original band members was announced in April, kicked-off in June, with the year-long spectacle grossing nearly $144 million.

But the sessions for the unreleased album still drew fan interest due to bootlegs turning up, hence the 12 songs (clocking in at a little over one hour) were officially issued in October 1997. Stanley takes the lead vocals on six numbers, with Simmons on five and Kulick on one, I Walk Alone.

The album reached number 27 on the 1997 Billboard 200 chart and shows the band comfortably finding a Seattle groove. It would have been great to hear them build upon the new direction in future releases and bring the music to Detroit Rock City, but any plans stalled once the reunion tour became the primary focus.

It is impossible to definitively predict the future of the group if the album was released as planned with a tour to support it. But this is an excellent reminder of the tug-of-war established rock superstars have with past fame and future ideas.
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