Looking like a bunch of Walt Disney rejects, Kiss is the kind of band you love to hate. Drenched in garish makeup, clothed in outfits Alice Cooper wouldn’t touch and generally exuding obnoxiousness, this brash young New Yawk foursome seems determined to visually divert their audience’s attention from their special brand of kamikaze rock. A slick brand of music that, as found on their second LP, Hotter Than Hell, does not sound as bad as the band looks. With twin guitars hammering out catchy mondo-distorto riffs and bass and drums amiably bringing up the rear, Kiss spews forth a deceptively controlled type of thunderous hysteria closely akin to the sound once popularized by the German panzer tank division.
Hotter Than Hell cooks from start to finish with the boys in the band sounding tighter and more lethal than in the past. This time around, Kiss even manages to make allowances in their riff-rock antics for the inclusion of hummable vocal lines in both the blitzkrieg rockers (“Got to Choose,” “Strange Ways”) and John Philip Sousa ballads (“Goin’ Blind”). The lyrics, however, aren’t going to make Dylan worry; with such bon mots as “I’m 93, you’re 16” being dropped regularly.
Despite its flaws, Kiss does succeed in churning out quite a bit of high-energy instrumentation and cheerful, nonsensical vocalizing.