"I've seen them and loved every over-the-top minute of it... but this album just doesn’t cut it": Alive II by Kiss - Album Of The Week Club review

One thing we can all agree on, surely: that inner gatefold is one of the great photographs in rock'n'roll

Kiss: Alive II cover art
(Image: © Casablanca)

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Kiss - Alive II

Kiss: Alive II cover art

(Image credit: Casablanca)

Detroit Rock City
King of the Night Time World
Ladies Room
Makin' Love
Love Gun
Calling Dr. Love
Christine Sixteen
Shock Me
Hard Luck Woman
Tomorrow and Tonight
I Stole Your Love
God of Thunder
I Want You
Shout It Out Loud
All American Man
Rockin' in the U.S.A.
Larger Than Life
Rocket Ride
Any Way You Want It

Kiss made their big breakthrough with Alive! Two years later came the sequel, and it was another blockbuster. Recorded on the Love Gun tour, Alive II reached No.7 on the US chart, two places higher than Alive! It was also a better representation of the Kiss live experience. 

The band sounded more powerful on tracks such as I Stole Your LoveShout It Out Loud and Makin’ Love. The audiences were more hysterical. And the original vinyl-issue gatefold cover opened to reveal the full OTT splendour of Kiss on stage. And it was the entire package that would inspire a generation of younger musicians. 

"It’s not necessarily the greatest," Slipknot's Mick Thompson told us, "but the artwork on Alive II with Gene’s sweat running, the blood coming from his face and the make-up running had a profound influence on me. You only have to look at my own band to see how much so.”

"I could only dream to be at one of these concerts, because I grew up in São Paulo, Brazil," says Sepultura's Andreas Kisser. "It was really, really rare to get concerts! My neighbour had Alive II and put it onto a cassette tape. It was very powerful listening to Kiss’s performance. I love the fourth side, as well: the studio side. They’re great songs, which unfortunately they ignore. It’s really rare to see them play them."

"I was 12 when Alive II came out," says Ginger Wildheart, "and when I saw it in a record shop, and opened up the gatefold sleeve and saw that photo of them live with the fire and smoke I was like, 'Oh man, this is my favourite album ever!' I couldn’t possibly have disliked this album when I actually got it home and played it, they were already my new favourite band based on the photo alone." 

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Every week, Album of the Week Club listens to and discusses the album in question, votes on how good it is, and publishes our findings, with the aim of giving people reliable reviews and the wider rock community the chance to contribute. 

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Other albums released in October 1977

  • The Runaways - Waitin' for the Night
  • Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers - L.A.M.F.
  • Electric Light Orchestra - Out of the Blue
  • The Charlie Daniels Band - Midnight Wind 
  • Kansas - Point of Know Return
  • UFO - Lights Out
  • David Bowie - "Heroes"
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd - Street Survivors
  • Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell
  • Genesis - Seconds Out
  • Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
  • Neil Young - Decade
  • Queen - News of the World
  • Sweet - The Golden Greats  
  • Barclay James Harvest - Gone to Earth
  • Sparks - Introducing Sparks
  • Levon Helm - Levon Helm & the RCO All-Stars
  • Santana - Moonflower
  • Sammy Hagar - Musical Chairs
  • Nils Lofgren Live - Night After Night
  • Utopia - Oops! Wrong Planet
  • Dead Boys - Young Loud and Snotty


What they said...

"Every hipster claims to adore Alive!, but this sequel captures Kiss at the height of their kabuki powers, incinerating Detroit Rock City and Calling Dr. Love like dinosaurs from the planet Lovetron. Hirsute frontman Paul Stanley has said that this double LP is 'as live as it needs to be,' which probably means 'not very.' But who digs Kiss for their integrity?" (Spin)

"Alive II shows that Kiss was still an exciting live band despite all the hype. Adrenaline-charged versions of Detroit Rock City, Love Gun, Calling Dr. Love, Shock Me, God of Thunder, I Want You and Shout It Out Loud are all highlights. On the fourth side, Ace Frehley only plays on a single song (his self-penned classic Rocket Ride) for reasons unknown, while session guitarist Bob Kulick filled in for the AWOL Frehley." (AllMusic)

"Alive is a tough act to follow, and just sticking a "II" at the end of the same title doesn't insure a perfect successor to the throne. Alas, when you put out a concert album that features your biggest hit (Beth) being mangled by a laryngitical cokehead, it's tough to grab the brass ring. No, not that everything on here is weak – far from it. The first few songs (Detroit Rock City and Ladies Room, to name a couple) capture Kiss at their best, and Shout It Out Loud is a perfect singalong finale." (Pitchfork)


What you said...

Gino Sigismondi: Since I was too young to buy records when this came out, I joined the Kiss Army when Animalize came out. And even though I was onboard for '80s Kiss, Alive II represented the embodiment of what I really wanted out of Kiss. 

Oh, how I longed to add this to my budding vinyl collection! By 1985, copies were hard to come by, but luckily I had a friend who was willing to dub me a cassette copy. However, due to the limitations of the format, the "studio" side was left off, and it wasn't until I finally acquired a used copy a few years ago that I learned... I wasn't really missing much. But back then, the live sides were all I needed. And kudos to Kiss for limiting the track list to only tunes from the last three records, instead of new versions of songs already included the first Alive just two years prior. 

One of the great things about Alive II is the consistency of sound. After embracing the larger-than-life cinematic soundscapes of Bob Ezrin on Destroyer, the band stripped things back on the Eddie Kramer-produced Rock And Roll Over and Love Gun. Especially when tracks from those three are played back to back on the following year's Double Platinum, the difference in sound in jarring. So Alive II gives you the best of the best from Kiss's imperial period, with levels cranked to 11, and if it took a little extra studio embellishment to sand down the rough edges, well, they aren't the only ones guilty of that. 

Couple that with the most epic live gatefold photo in rock and roll history, and Alive II became the perfect capstone to Kiss's first era. Not long after, they'd meet the Phantom of the Park, and it was all downhill from there. And despite several attempts to repair my dubbed cassette with the pencil trick, alas, it did not survive... 

And one more thing regarding the studio side: Ace's Rocket Ride serves as the only standout, a trend that continued for every album until his departure post- The Elder.

Alex Blowers: I like the deceptive intro to Christine, Sixteen (the lyrics not so much, obviously) and Ace Frehley's sleazy vocal and entertaining solo on Shock Me.

Mark Herrington: Kiss weren’t on my rock radar in the mid 70s, as the essentially British glam rock scene was starting to fade, and Kiss seemed associated with that, on this side of the pond. Borrowing/listening to your mates' albums was one of the main ways we acquired our rock loyalties, and I don’t recall many of my circle with Kiss albums. This album got to number 60 in the UK charts, amidst the feeding frenzy of punk rock, and it wasn’t until the 80s that their albums broke the top ten in the UK.

So, I welcomed the chance to listen to earlier material than my start point of Dynasty, which is an album I still enjoy.

There’s a good time vibe across Kiss Alive II, with a straightforward riff rock atmosphere throughout. Their live shows were spectacular and full of comic book fun, which certainly adds another dimension to their music.

Probably not one I’d listen to a lot, but a reasonable score from me.

Uli Hassinger: This was one of the first albums I bought which could be classified as hard rock. It had a huge impression on me, especially the inner sleeve stage photo. Nowadays I prefer the first Alive record with its straighter rock and stronger songs.

I think the production of the album is lousy. Everything too much, over the top, so it ends up in some kind of noise pollution, especially the guitars. This fact attracts attention even more because they came up with the strange idea, to include a side of studio songs, were the production is much better. With Destroyer it was pretty much the same. Totally overproduced.

The best songs are the fist three, starting literally with a bang with the mighty Detroit Rock City. Love Gun, Shock Me and Tomorrow and Tonight are outstanding too. The other songs are at best average. From the studio songs the first two are quite good. Overall, from the prospective of my older me, it's a 6/10.

Mike Canoe: "You wanted the best, you got the best!" That phrase alone is enough to drive Kiss fans crazy - and enough to send their detractors running for the exits. 

Alive II is the album that I would use to introduce someone to Kiss, probably because that's how I was introduced to Kiss. Their music, anyway. Because as a kid I was already familiar with their image through posters, their Marvel comic book, even dolls (this was before "action figures”). I actually had both the Destroyer and Love Gun album covers as jigsaw puzzles.

So Alive II was the first time I actually heard Kiss, and they were kinda underwhelming. Sure, Detroit Rock City was awesome - with a level of nihilism I had never heard in music before, even if I didn't actually know what nihilism was - but a lyric like "I got to laugh because I know I'm gonna die. Why?" really burned into my young mind. God of Thunder was monster movie fun (and though I didn't know to appreciate it yet, the drum solo was short) and Ace Frehley's Shock Me was the epitome of bad boy cool. 

But, overall, there seemed to a lopsided ratio of cool songs like that to songs about gross sex - like Makin' Love, Calling Dr. Love, I Want You, or Ladies Room. Remember, I was only 10 or 11 at the time. And, apparently, Frehley was the most subtle lyricist in the band because I didn't realise Shock Me was about sex too.

Eventually I grew to enjoy the rest of the album too - like Love Gun, Tomorrow And Tonight, Shout It Out Loud or I Stole Your Love. And I liked the studio side too, even the rewarmed leftovers of Dave Clark's Anyway You Want It.

Listening to it now, it conveys the rush and spirit of a Kiss show, even if a lot of the album was manufactured in the studio.

At the same time the album always makes me feel a little sad. The band would never hit this commercial peak on record again. More importantly, I now know that the classic lineup was already in trouble. Ace had no involvement in any of the studio tracks - though he was credited for them - except for the excellent Rocket Ride. And Peter Criss, my second favourite singer in Kiss after Paul Stanley, and the voice on rockers like Baby Driver and Getaway seemed happy singing ballads like Hard Luck Woman and Beth. Which is fair because he's still probably living off royalties from Beth, but now that Ace Frehley was singing too (my third favourite singer in Kiss) there was one less slot for Peter Criss.

Yet I still think Gene Simmons succeeded in his goal of creating a "hard rock Beatles." The classic lineup was made up of four easily identifiable individuals united as one juggernaut and they all sang and/or wrote songs. And those songs were fun to sing along to too.

Jon Peacock: I recall looking at the cover of this album in awe of its image of live enormity, thinking they must be the heaviest loudest band on the planet, until I bought the album and found the music didn’t stand up to the image.

I have never liked the production, feels like it’s been made to sound live with all the crowd screaming etc, but the whole things sounds poor, and a flat disappointment it doesn’t come close to other well known live rock albums of the same era, plus it just loses its way mid way through, light and middling songs that shouldn’t be here, and Beth is so overrated as a song, always one to skip.

Live is where I always felt Kiss were at their best, I’ve seen them and loved every over the top minute of it, and do like them as a band, but this album just doesn’t cut it.

Eric Walker: Got this for Christmas in '77. I had been eyeing it since it came out, but hard to pool together the dough as a 10 year old.

Just remember opening that gatefold to see the epic shot of them on the risers surrounded by flames. Ran up to my room and put it on my record player while the rest of the family were downstairs. My excitement level was off the chart.

Probably thought it was a masterpiece back then, but eventually as I started getting heavy in Rush, Kansas, Van Halen, etc., Kiss sort of slid down my depth chart. I still think it's a damn good "live" album (got to use quotes when discussing Kiss live albums), but nowhere near Alive for me. Would prefer to have Mr. Speed included, and the studio tracks (minus Any Way You Want It) are really good, but the fact Frehley is absent on all but Rocket Ride and Bob Kulick handled his parts marked the beginning of the cracks in the machine.

Nowadays, I'll put it on as a fond nostalgia and it always takes me back to that Christmas Day. Still think the demonic cover shot of Simmons is pretty badass. Probably a 6.5 out of 10 for me.

Andrew Cumming: By no means perfect but when it’s good it’s really really good. Side one is a great example. Probably the best 20 mins of Kiss available anywhere. Detroit Rock City, King of the Night Time World, Ladies Room, Makin Love, Love Gun. All killer versions. Never bettered. Ok a couple of tracks later on are from sound checks - but that’s ok right? Makes it interesting and I really like the fact they didn’t duplicate anything off Alive

But it has got Beth on it. Which is a problem. Because it’s a terrible song. Seriously I'd rather listen to the whole of The Elder on repeat. But other than that blip there’s just great track after great track and the atmosphere and sound are incredible. Side four is five new studio tracks which I really like. All American Man, Rocket Ride especially. It’s a (nearly) great album and stands shoulder to shoulder with the first. Highly recommended.

Ken Doyle: As a kid I got into Kiss around Anamalize. Started going back and obviously Alive II had all the plaudits. And I got the record (second hand - there were always lots of them available). I liked it though the studio side was ok but not great.

Not heard it in decades, so a good opportunity to listen to it. God, it ain’t aged well. Detroit Rock City and Love Gun are still great and I was surprised at King of the Night Time World in the way it nearly falls apart but hangs on like a Stones live swagger. But the rest sometimes is mediocre at best. And the crowd noises to compensate an average riff. This was incredibly poor to me. If that was the Imperial phase, it says more about the rest. In saying that I think Creatures Of The Night to Animalize could have had a great live album (based on the three studio albums, one live album concept).

All style over substance for me and not one to dig out again. Ever.

Brian Carr: “Rollin’ numbers, rock and rollin’, got my Kiss records out!”

I honestly don’t know if I can do a subjective review of the mighty Kiss Alive II. I’ve known and loved these tunes for roughly 90% of my life. I never went through a period where I “grew out of Kiss.” And though my adult self can absolutely understand why detractors despise them, their music resonates with me just fine, thank you.

For this review, I did my due diligence and went back to my review of Music From The Elder (four years ago?!?) to make sure I kept from repeating my thoughts (and was rewarded with a review from the sorely missed James Praesto - his reviews were required reading).

So one thing that always struck me about Kiss is that in my observation, besides the Beatles and Van Halen, what other artist inspired as many fledgling musicians to pick up instruments and start bands? So many musicians that later made it big love Kiss, even if they are the musical equivalent of McDonalds (or Taco Bell) compared to filet mignon of others.

Kiss isn’t high brow music, but for me, their songs have riffs and hooks galore and to a sufficient degree to overcome their lack of sophistication. And given their influence, I’m not alone. They had a mission to bring circus-level entertainment into the world of rock. But as Alice Cooper said, that only works if you have good songs to back it up. Alive II has two albums worth of killer tracks to get you shouting out loud.

Andrew Bramah: The production on Alive II is very grating. Not as clear as I but then again I is a studio album. Allegedly.

II marks the end of the Kiss "golden era". The studio songs are ok but nothing spectacular. Still a huge live draw, Kiss started to rehash the formula and it just got very "samey".

Peter Cronemyr: I always preferred the studio albums to Alive II. But I preferred Alive! to the first albums. Now I love them all.

Gary Claydon: People will often tell you that Kiss are a band you either love or you hate. For me, though, it's neither. They are what they are. On the negative side, Kiss are a classic case of style over substance. Except they possess precious little of the former and not much more of the latter. Cynical and superficial, as much a business as a rock band. 

The positives? Kiss are the ultimate good-time-rock'n'roll band. A 'leave your brain at the door and just go with the flow' gig experience if ever there was one and there ain't nothing wrong with that in my book.

Alive II sums them up. Overdubbed and embellished? You betcha, but I've always believed that people get far too hung up on the whole 'is it really live?' thing. Live albums are 'best of 'til now' affairs with a taste of what the band can do on stage thrown in. Bands aren't going to release something that makes them sound bad. The mistakes that barely get noticed during the gig don't sound quite so acceptable on record. So touch it up a bit, no problem. 

Nothing on Alive II is earth shattering. If you're a Kiss fan this is manna from heaven, if not, this and Alive! are all you really need to hear. That gatefold sleeve photo is worth an extra mark all by itself but even that isn't quite what it seems. Purposely staged during a soundcheck by setting off the entire arsenal of pyrotechnics all at once, it undoubtedly captures the essence of a Kiss Koncert while, at the same time, being a sight you'd never actually see. Something of a white lie then, a bit like a Kiss live album.

Chris Elliott: The problem for Kiss is the music never reached the same level as the branding. Kiss were never played on UK radio (I was 11 in 1977) but their logo was on school books. As I got older Kiss was on the back of everyone's denim jacket - although no one actually owned any records. But Kiss Alive was apparently amazing.

When I finally heard this I was probably 17 and expecting the earth to move. Unfortunately the record didn't come with pyros and I was left thinking, 'is that it?'.

By the time I heard Kiss we'd had punk/new wave, NWOBHM and post punk/UK indie was beginning to get interesting. This sounded dated and in context not that heavy - not that catchy. The reality is Motley Crue and Twisted Sister sounded more like what I'd hoped for (I was 17). I can get why people loved Kiss - if I'd been 14 at the time I'd probably be too.

Now? It's fine. It's not raw enough to be garage. It's not that heavy, and whilst there's a few moments/hooks it's not that catchy.

Philip Qvist: Can't say I'm a huge fan of Kiss; but even if they won't set the rock world alight with new innovations, they do know how to entertain the crowd - and that is something that they do very well.

Alive II, Destroyer and Love Gun were my first introductions to Kiss, courtesy of a couple of class mates, and if I'm being honest this is probably as good as it gets for me.

Overdubs aside, and there are plenty here - not to mention backing tapes galore for the likes of Beth - it is a decent album, even if it doesn't fit on my list of all time great live albums.

My one complaint is that I'm sure they could have filled side four with more live tracks, instead of some average studio tracks.

The centre gatefold was great - and at the end of the day it is a harmless live rock album that doesn't pretend to tax the mind. And sometimes we needed that in the 70s.

I will say this though: this is probably when Kiss peaked as a band. Nothing after that really excited me, even if Dynasty had its good moments. A decent 7 for me.

Alex Hayes: Regarded locally as a bit of a classic rock nerd, I am occasionally asked something along the lines of the following question by exasperated acquaintances - 'Bloody hell. are there any bands that you aren't a fan of?'. Plenty of them actually, but in classic rock circles one name is usually the first that springs to mind, Kiss.

I have owned the grand total of one Kiss record in my entire life, and it was a single to boot. The band scored an unlikely Top 5 hit here in the UK with Crazy Crazy Nights in 1987, and I was one of the punters that helped it get there. I've never heard the attendant album though. In fact, my familiarity with Kiss albums in general is very low. I think I may have heard Destroyer a couple of times back in the day, possibly Love Gun too. I'm honestly not sure. I'd certainly never listened to Alive II (or indeed any of the other Alive albums) before earlier today.

I feel obligated to point out here that I certainly don't hate Kiss either. Many of their songs are obviously stalwarts of classic rock radio, and I'm always happy to listen to them when they get an airing. The likes of Detroit Rock City, Strutter, Creatures Of The Night and Rock And Roll All Nite (I could go on) were all custom built to be blasted out over the airwaves. Kiss have always specialised in relatively simple, catchy, feel good, rock 'n' roll anthems. It's great for FM frequencies, but also lacking the necessary substance to tempt me into investigating further.

With that in mind, Alive II was a pretty enjoyable listen, as I was already familiar with much of the material here from radio. As for the 'live' tracks that I wasn't up to speed on, well, they all sounded much of a likeness to be honest. After the first handful of songs, everything here seemed to just blend into one giant bombastic, but generally pleasurable, assault on the eardrums. Speaking as one of the unconverted, this is music that probably works best with all that face paint, pyrotechnics and other bells and whistles attached. As for those studio tracks... erm, yeah, they're all decent enough.

So, I can't really weigh in on any kind of Kiss love/hate debate, as I feel neither emotion for the band. I will say that they have always come across as a little too superficial for my liking, more of a brand than a band. As purveyors of pure, straight up, rock'n'roll fun however, they take some beating. Alive II ultimately rocked, albeit in a way that was a little shallow and predictable. Good stuff.

Brian Cotter: My first Kiss album. Side four always stood out to me.

Wade Babineau: Alive I had overdubs for sure, and the group even admitted it. Alive II is what a Kiss concert in 78 sounded like. The shrill of the fans cheering was like when the Beatles played live. I Stole Your Love was recorded during a souncheck and crowd noise added in. The studio tracks were solid songs. Ace comes up with a gem in Rocket Ride. Bruce Kulick's brother Bob doing workmanlike service on three of the tracks. Solid live album from the band and captures the three albums at the time, Destroyer, Rock N Roll Over and Love Gun. Haven't listened to this in some time. 

Terje Rognli: This is a magic record to me. A friend blasted this on his parents' stereo. The whole neighbourhood got to hear God of Thunder. The first time I ever got to listen to hard rock. Made me a Kiss fanatic for 4-5 years.

I Stole Your Love is still today the most enjoyable live cut I 'll listen to.

Kristopher Bordine: My second favorite “Alive” (III is my favourite. Love that lineup). On the whole I prefer most of the songs on this to the ones on the first one. Wish they could have filled out the album with more live tracks (how is Take Me not on there!) instead of the studio side four. The gatefold is one of the most iconic rock photographs of all time.

Rick Epolite: Who cares if it was live or remixed in the studio. It’s horrible music and they suck.

Jim Husk: As a Kiss fan, it is impossible not to love this album. Yes there are overdubs, yes there are songs we would love to have on this album that are not there, yes we would have loved four sides of live, but, this is Kiss captured at its 70s best. We all spent hours staying at the gatefold and reading the liner notes, and listening to it again brings me right back to 1978 and the joy I had listening to guitar rock'n'roll.

James Last: The second most essential Kiss album after the original Alive! record. Much like its predecessor it serves more or less like a live "best of" from The second trilogy of albums released by the original Kiss lineup and doesn't repeat any songs already covered on the previous live record. One area where I think it does improve on Alive! is atmosphere, the audience are much louder this time around.

It dips a bit for me on the fourth side with the (then) brand new studio tracks. Rocket Ride I always thought was pretty good, All American Man has a cool riff, while the others, well, to be honest I can't remember how Rockin' in the USA or Larger Than Life even went now! But it's the live album portion that counts and its definitely a perfect companion piece to Alive I. 8/10.

Richard Cardenas: It’s a great record. The first Alive! will always be dear to my heart but this round of songs are much stronger.

Troy Masters: Not just a classic Kiss album but a classic album.

Pete Delgado: Not as good as the first Alive, but still a solid effort. Still much better than their studio output.

Craig Little: I like Alive! more but Alive II is great too, including side four.

Keith Daniels: Thin Lizzy and Cheap Trick also did studio overdubs on their live albums. It's not like that's some unforgivable sin. What matters is the final result, and unfortunately that's Kiss songs. God of Thunder and Detroit Rock City are dumb fun though.

Chris McGlyn: Whatever other opinions there are, this album changed my life before I heard a note of the music. Aged 14 I opened that gatefold sleeve and saw that photograph and I was sold! "This is what rock'n'roll looks like", thought I. And when I bought it, from the opening "You wanted the best and you got the best...." I was onboard the Kiss train! For me, this is a classic album, 'live' or not.

Greg Schwepe: By the time this album was released I had gone AWOL from the Kiss Army. Having started with Alive! (what kid my age didn't go nuts over the live version of Rock and Roll All Nite?) right when it was released and then bought all they put out up to Rock and Roll Over, I had moved on by that point. No reason to buy. Plus, 'musical peer pressure' is a big deal in high school when Kiss is not one of the bands that a ton of kids listened to. Lots of rock and metal, just not Kiss.

No more Kiss purchases until I went on a Kiss CD buying spree many, many years later when stuff from the Revenge album (and later Alive III) started being played on the radio where I lived. “What? New Kiss actually being played on FM rock radio?” And I fessed up to myself “you know you still like them, buy all the CDs you missed over the years!” But even with Alive II in that batch of backlogged Kiss CDs, I never really gave it the time.

I’m a sucker for live albums. Usually a "best of"-type setlist with faster and harder versions of the songs in some cases. And no matter the album, there’s always that discussion about how “live” it is. Overdubs? Fixed later? Or all “straight from the board, warts and all?” Alive II is basically a Three Sides Live-type album with studio tracks making up side four of the vinyl release.

And for the live segment here, you have some strong material from the three albums after Alive! And for me, this is material I liked before the band started getting a little cartoonish for me and I lost interest. And whether the crowd noise is from the show or added later, it just brings an excitement to songs that I really like. I mean, you open the album with Detroit Rock City.

As for the studio tracks, there’s some kick ass stuff here and not some filler to take up space on the last side of the album. Rocket Ride, All American Man and the riff-tastic Larger Than Life are my favourites here. You put together another side of songs of that caliber and you’d have another Kiss album. A decent one! 

8 out of 10 for me on this one. Good live versions of songs from that era.

Laurent Biehly: The second rock album I bought. I was naive and thought that live albums were 100% live. This said, I do not really care anymore and enjoy the end result. This album left a mark on me. I love the artwork. As a kid, it impressed me no end. I still love it today. I am a big Kiss fan (every period) so for me it is the end of nothing. I always liked the fact that the band adapted and remained relevant throughout their career.

Not every song is a masterpiece but as a whole this is a great representation of what the classic era line up was.

Tom Bridgeland: The fourth side still interests me more, always liked new songs!\

John Davidson: As with most double live albums from the period, this is a best of the last three albums presented as live rather than a warts 'n' all representation of the concert.

But so what? Live and Dangerous, Unleashed in the East and Strangers in the Night are the same (though to my ears with better songs).

As a teen I made the mistake of buying Double Platinum rather than either of their live albums. That was a mistake and confirmed my prejudice about them being a bit rubbish compared to the British heavy rock and NWOBHM that I devoured (Rush are practically British - right?)

As I've gotten older I've set aside my anti-kiss snobbery... though at the time I dismissed them as a gimmick band rather than proper metal or hard rock. So with neither nostalgia nor prejudice influencing my opinion too much, how does Alive II stand up?

Better than I expected, tbh.

Its not as good as Alive! - Alive II doesn't quite have the same attack as their previous live outing and the songs aren't quite there either.

That said, unless you are a fan, if you own Alive! and Alive II you probably have all the Kiss you'll ever need (and a bit more beside) but for a band who specialises in simple sing-a-long rock'n'roll the guitars are pretty good at times .

Are they as good as Judas Priest, UFO or Thin Lizzy ? Nah. I'd stretch to an 8 for Alive! but Alive II deserves a creditable 7.


Final score: 7.28 (256 votes cast, total score 1864)

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