"A low- wattage washout, as if recorded by an Ace imposter": Ace Frehley fails to spark on 10,000 Volts

Ace Frehley's eighth solo album 10,000 Volts in a word: Shocking

Ace Frehley - 10,000 Volts cover art
(Image: © MNRK Music Group)

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Ace Frehley claims 10,000 Volts channels the hyper-commercial hard-rock spirit of his former band Kiss's 1976 album Rock And Roll Over. Truth is, it's a low- wattage washout.

The guitarist co-wrote most of the tracks with Steve Brown from Trixter, which is likely where the problem lies. (We ain't exactly talkin' Desmond Child here.) Frehley's goofiness is muted and past glories merely hinted at. Tracks such as Walkin' On The Moon and Fightin' For Life should be jaunty and incisive, but end up flat and uninspiring, as if they've been recorded by an Ace imposter. 

The bubblegummy Cherry Medicine includes a notable lyrical retread: "You make me feel better when you're in your black leather." There's an almost identical passage in Shock Me, from Kiss's 77 album Love Gun, renowned for being Frehley's first stab at lead vocals.

Sparks fly belatedly on the final couple of tracks. Up In The Sky has that klutzy, half-crazed vibe that Ace aficionados demand: "It boggles the mind," the Spaceman gasps, as he ponders the existence of UFOs. The instrumental Stratosphere provides an appropriately otherworldly closure.

Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.