KISS – Asylum [Remastered] (1997, Mercury Records)
Original Release: 1985, Mercury Records
1. “King Of The Mountain” … 4:19
2. “Any Way You Slice It” … 4:03
3. “Who Wants To Be Lonely” … 4:02
4. “Trial By Fire” … 3:26
5. “I’m Alive” … 3:46
6. “Love’s A Deadly Weapon” … 3:31
7. “Tears Are Falling” … 3:55
8. “Secretly Cruel” … 3:44
9. “Radar For Love” … 4:01
10. “Uh! All Night” … 4:03
Paul Stanley – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Bass (“Tears Are Falling”)
Gene Simmons – Lead Vocals, Bass, Rhythm Guitar (“Any Way You Slice It”, “Trial by Fire”)
Bruce Kulick – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Eric Carr – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Jean Beauvoir – Bass guitar (“Uh! All Night”)
Producer: Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons
Bruce Kulick’s first album with KISS was the last KISS album I needed to complete my collection. It was always on my wishlist, but what really pushed me over the edge to buy it was buying and watching their Exposed video on DVD, which featured the music videos for “Who Wants To Be Lonely”, “Tears Are Falling” and “Uh! All Night”.
As with most of KISS ’80s output, the Gene songs are hit and miss. Despite getting a producer credit on this album, his focus was on Hollywood at the time and most of his songs during that decade were simply filler. Paul on the other hand is in his element with this pop-metal album. Paul is one of the true forerunners to the ’80s pop metal scene and despite downplaying the band’s work during this time (Gene & Paul have especially mentioned a dislike for this album), he really seemed to be enjoying his work. Even to this day, there’s an ’80s pop-metal vibe to virtually every song he writes.
“Tears Are Falling” was the only somewhat successful single from the album, and it’s a great ’80s KISS rocker. Another shining moment for Paul. Not many songs from this album were album played live, but in 2004 on their Rock the Nation, the band briefly brought “Tears Are Falling” back into the set list in an attempt to not be so predictable. I was really excited because I had bought tickets to see them on that tour in Pensacola, Florida, but only a handful of shows into the tour, the dropped the song from the set. Didn’t really matter though, because my show ended up getting canceled anyway! At least I got to see them play on the Rock the Nation DVD!
During this time, many people said KISS were following the bands that they themselves had inspired. And while that’s true to an extent, I’ve seen it pointed out in some reviews that the album cover was an “obvious” ripoff of Poison’s Look What the Cat Dragged In. Um… No. It is “obvious” this is an ’80s version of the Dynasty cover. Never mind the fact that Look What the Cat Dragged In came out a year AFTER Asylum! So Poison either ripped off Dynasty or Asylum, you pick.
This isn’t a heavy album, but it is a great balance of pop-metal and hard rock before they released Crazy Nights and went even softer. Essential KISS? Debatable. Essential ’80s KISS? Yes.
Highlights: “King Of The Mountain”, “Who Wants To Be Lonely”, “Trial By Fire”, “I’m Alive”, “Tears Are Falling”, “Uh! All Night”