A favourite heavy rock album of mine is Music from “the Elder” by Kiss which
was released on November 27 1981 on Casablanca Records 6302 163/NBLP 7261(US).
It was a puzzling release for a group well known for straight ahead rock songs to issue
a concept album (for crying out loud!) based around a story.
The album was a poor seller at the time and since then has been disowned by the group as
a mistake in that period where Ace Frehley's issues were causing difficulties and they felt
they'd lost direction.
However, recently a number of Kiss fans have spoken on forums of their love for this
– the most untypical Kiss album – and why the feel a re-appraisal is due.
SH.tv discussion:KISS - (Music From) The Elder... thoughts? - SH Forums
Original Track listing (Europe/North America)
A1. The Oath (4:32) - Stanley/Ezrin/Powers
A2. Fanfare (1:22) - Ezrin/Stanley
A3. Just A Boy (2:30) - Stanley/Ezrin
A4. Dark Light (4:12) - Frehley/Fig/Reed/Simmons
A5. Only You (4:19) - Simmons
A6. Under The Rose (4:49) - Carr/Simmons
B1. A World Without Heroes (2:40) - Stanley/Ezrin/Reed/Simmons
B2. Mr. Blackwell (4:53) - Simmons/Reed
B3. Escape From The Island (2:50) - Frehley/Ezrin/Carr
B4. Odyssey (5:36) - Powers
B5. I (3:52) - Simmons/Ezrin
Paul Stanley -
Eric Carr - Drums on 1-10 / back-up vocals
Gene Simmons - Bass
Ace Frehley - Lead Guitar
Bob Ezrin - Bass on B2.
Allan Schwartzberg - Drums on B4, B5.
Produced by Bob Ezrin. Associate Producer Brian Christian. Recorded at Ace In The Hole Studio, CT, March - July 1981, A & R Studios, NYC, NY, May 1981, Record Plant Studios, NYC,NY, May, July - September 1981, Ezrin Farm Studio & Sounds Interchange, Toronto, Canada, March & May 1981, by Brian Christian, Rick Hart, Robert Hrycyna and David Brown. Additional Engineering by Rob Freeman, Corky Stasiak and Kevin Doyle. Mixed at Manta Sound Studio, Toronto, Canada.
Recently fellow bone and SH.tv member Craig and I held a internet listening session where we discussed this album.
Craig: “The Oath is definitely the best opener. “
Caroline:(referring to the revised track order on the re-mastered CD) “Can't picture it anywhere else personally but someone thought better.”
Just A Boy is a thoughtful song which revealed just how good the range on Paul Stanley's voice really was.
Caroline:”Paul's singing was never bettered “
Referring to the guitar playing, Craig said ”LOVE the guitar shimmer on this one...
This album is full of GREAT guitar solos - all short and to the point. “
Under The Rose is the cinematic side ender
Caroline:”The vocal harmonies are cool - you don't get much of that in hard rock.”
Craig:(Quoting the lyric) “in every age
in every time
a hero is born
as if by a grand design”
and the "Just A Boy" motif comes back .
Caroline:”That was a clever touch in the arrangement “.
Craig:”Love the keyboard triplet riffs on Under The Rose I remember this chorus scaring me as a kid.
Guitar solo coming up - the doubling on the second half is blissful.”
A World Without Heroes is a slow thoughtful piece that opens up what was the second side of the LP and was released in the UK and US in February 1982 as 18cm (7”) single.
Caroline: “Just imagine a World without Heroes? “
Craig: ”One of my faves ever. I played it end on end as a kid. “
Caroline: ”(Quoting the lyric)“Do what I want
I don't give a damn! “ - Very Gene!
Craig:Ya know, it's not that I don't like this song. I don't know if I like it in the context of the album - but it's better than I give credit for. “
Caroline:“It's a dark lyric but it makes sense in the context of the 'story'. It used to make me feel ill at ease at the time but I really like it now. “
Escape from the Island is unique in the Kiss catalogue being a percussion driven instrumental which made many of kiss fans aware for the first time of the late Eric Carr's true abilities. He was more than capable of playing Jazz.
Caroline:”Every beat is why I miss Eric. Damn fine playing here. “
Craig:”Agreed. And no Gene or Paul on this one. “(mimics the beat)”chugga chugga chugga “
Referring to Odyssey Craig's response was”ODYSSEY! My favourite I think. Just so epic... “
KILLER guitar solo!!! “”Love the breakdown. “
The song I concludes the original LP and shows of Paul and Gene's combined vocal abilities.
Craig:”Always loved the sharing vocals - was VERY happy to hear then do this on God Gave Rock And Roll To You II. It had been too long! “
Referring to the ending which quoted Kiss's first hit single Craig added “Sly little "I wanna rock and roll all nite" at the end! “