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Album Review | ROCK

Kiss, ‘Monster’

Kiss’s 20th studio album is a steady if unremarkable outing. Founding singer, songwriter, and guitarist Paul Stanley produced “Monster,” using his 40 years of experience with the band to hold its ground with a lean, raucous sound that is true to both Kiss and classic-rock heroics. Stanley and fellow founder bassist Gene Simmons, along with guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, wrote and performed “Monster” with no outside help but for a brief piano part. While the bunker mentality is admirable, it isn’t always successful, especially when you start to notice the level of nonsense in the lyrics (“A hot mess is just what I need”). But whenever Simmons or Stanley start sounding like prattling ol’ folk, Thayer swoops in with a flashy guitar part. And Thayer’s “Outta This World” sounds most like a bit of Kiss’s grimy bubblegum of the ’70s. Stanley’s Who-flavored “Shout Mercy” is a fresh bit of swagger rock. But falling back on his demonic image, Simmons draws attention to the formulaic aspect of the Kiss package. (Out Tuesday)

ESSENTIAL “Shout Mercy”

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