- Vinyl (October 14, 2014)
- Original Release Date: 2014
- Number of Discs: 1
Creatures of the Night is the tenth studio album by Kiss. It is the band's last for Casablanca Records, the only label for which Kiss had recorded up to this point. The album was dedicated to the memory of Casablanca founder and early Kiss supporter Neil Bogart, who had died of cancer during the recording sessions. It is also the band's last album recorded with Ace Frehley credited as an official member (until 1998's Psycho Circus), and its first album with Vinnie Vincent as the initially uncredited lead guitarist (Vincent would later be credited, but not featured pictorially on the cover, or 1985's reissue of the album).
The album represented a conscious effort by Kiss to return to the hard rock style that had helped them achieve commercial success with Destroyer and Love Gun. Their pop-oriented albums, Dynasty and Unmasked, had started a decline in popularity that reached rock bottom with 1981's Music from "The Elder". By 1982 Kiss knew it needed to deliver on their earlier 1980-81 promise of a heavy record, which they had failed to deliver.
The first key ingredient was songwriter/guitarist Vinnie Vincent, who was soon to replace Ace Frehley as the band's new lead guitarist after being introduced to the band by album co-writer, Adam Mitchell. Frehley did not play at all on Creatures of the Night even though his face (for contractual and commercial reasons) was still featured on the album cover. On the tour, Vincent was introduced with his Egyptian Ankh makeup, designed in a hurry by Paul Stanley. In 1985, Kiss re-released the album in their non-makeup state with a cover featuring Gene Simmons, Stanley, Eric Carr and then-current guitarist Bruce Kulick even though Kulick did not play on the album and Vinnie Vincent had long since departed the band by 1985.
By 1982, Kiss's popularity in the US had plummeted due to changing music tastes and their near-abandonment of hard rock. 1979's Dynasty, while commercially successful, alienated many fans with the disco-flavored track "I Was Made For Lovin' You". 1980's Unmasked fell further into pop music and was Kiss's first album not to achieve platinum status since 1975's Dressed to Kill. The band did not even tour the US for Unmasked, and it was also soon faced with its first lineup change - founding member Peter Criss, who had not participated in any of the Unmasked recording sessions, officially left Kiss in 1980. He was replaced by Eric Carr.
Fan hopes were raised in late 1980 when Kiss announced that they were going to record their heaviest record yet. Instead, the band released Music from "The Elder" in late 1981, a concept album originally intended to complement a film called The Elder that was ultimately never filmed. The album was storyline-based and had ballads, a short orchestral piece, and different lyrical themes. The album failed to achieve gold status, and having cancelled their US Unmasked tour just a short time before, the band then called off the planned tour for Elder. Frehley soon left the band, angered over their turn towards commercial pop music and began to drift into alcoholism.
Kiss' label situation had changed as well. Casablanca Records founder Neil Bogart had sold the label to its distributor PolyGram, and went on to briefly form The Boardwalk Recording Company before being diagnosed with and later succumbing to cancer. Using a clause in their Casablanca contract that gave the band an option to leave the label if Bogart did, Kiss became free agents and signed a multi-million-dollar deal with Mercury Records. Mercury, a label also owned by PolyGram, reverted the band back to their "old" label, though in name only.
Early in the year, Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen was embroiled in creative disputes with frontman David Lee Roth and threatened to quit the band. He then offered his services to Kiss, but Gene Simmons quickly rejected the idea as it went against his philosophy of hiring relative unknowns in part to preserve their "mystique" and also because he did not want to have a strong personality that would challenge his and Paul Stanley's creative control of the band. Eddie Van Halen's brother, drummer Alex Van Halen, also convinced him to stay put. When recording sessions for Creatures of the Night began in July 1982, Kiss was essentially a trio. Frehley still made appearances with the band but had nearly ended his musical involvement with Kiss. Frehley looked completely out of sorts in promotional appearances for the album — in cases where the band was lip synching to recorded tracks, it is obvious that he did not know the material. It was only after the album was released and a short promotional tour of Europe was completed that Frehley officially left Kiss. The lead guitar replacement for Frehley for the Creatures tour in the US was Vinnie Vincent, who adopted the "Ankh Warrior" makeup.
Musically, the progressive rock stylings of Music From "The Elder" and the pop of Dynasty and Unmasked were completely absent from Creatures of the Night, making it the heaviest album the group had made at that point. "I Still Love You", the only ballad on Creatures, was still heavier and darker than any ballad Kiss had released in earlier years. Also contributing to the heavy sound was Carr's drumming style, which was more similar to John Bonham's style of drumming than to Criss', a jazz influenced drummer. Some of the earliest pressings of the album mistakenly contained one full side of John Cougar's American Fool. Both Kiss and Cougar were under the umbrella of Mercury Records at the time. Today, those albums are highly sought after by Kiss collectors.
Creatures of the Night is the first Kiss album to have all lead vocal duties handled by either Simmons or Stanley exclusively. All previous studio releases by the group contained at least one song with lead vocals by another band member. The band released a video for "I Love It Loud", which received moderate airplay on MTV. In it was a stage setup that featured Carr's drum kit as a giant metallic tank with an exploding turret. Flames and explosions were also in abundance, as Kiss attempted to produce a video that reflected the music on Creatures of the Night. Frehley did appear in the video as the rhythm guitarist, with Stanley shown playing the seven-note solo.
Though Kiss had used "ghost players" on previous albums, most notably Bob Kulick and Dick Wagner, Vinnie Vincent handled most of the lead guitar as a session player and co-writer before being added as the fulltime replacement for Frehley though like Carr, as an employee and not a full member. Blues guitarist (and friend of album producer Michael James Jackson) Robben Ford, contributed two solos in what he described as one of his weirdest gigs. Mr Mister guitarist Steve Farris (who was considered as a replacement for Frehley but was thought to not have "the right look") provided the solo and lead fills to the title track. Co-writer, Adam Mitchell, also contributed guitar work to the title track. Though often given credit for playing the solos on "Keep Me Comin" and "Danger", Bob Kulick admitted in a 2011 interview that none of the studio work he did on Creatures made it to the album. 
Three different covers of the album exist: the 1982 original issue, the 1985 reissue (featuring Bruce Kulick, who was not a member of the band for Creatures of the Night, and the rest of the band without makeup), and the 1997 remastered version (same photo as the original, but with minor variations in the logo and lettering). On the 1985 non-make up release, the song "Creatures of the Night" is remixed, and "Saint and Sinner" and "Killer" are interchanged from side to side with each other. The bootlegged Vinnie Vincent cover has not been released on CD, but an extra rare Vincent cover has been called "Hiding from Tomorrow". There is also a bootlegged LP which shows up on eBay from time to time which states to be a Brazilian promo version with Vincent in makeup airbrushed over Frehley. Initially this copy fetched upwards of several thousands of dollars but it is nothing more than a common bootleg.
Creatures of the Night was certified gold by the RIAA on May 9, 1994. In Brazil it was certified gold in 1983 for sales of 100,000 copies. Despite positive reviews, the album did not return the band to the commercial success they had held five years previous, and despite charting higher than The Elder (#45 compared to The Elder's #75), Creatures of the Night would not attain gold status until 1994. The album would receive critical recognition years later with both Kerrang! and Guitar World magazines placing the album at #5 on their lists of best hard rock albums in 1982. Carr noted in an interview that Creatures is his favorite Kiss record that he played on.Simmons and Stanley, who have generally been dismissive of the band's post-1977 albums, considered Creatures to be one of their stronger efforts.
The album tour began shortly after Christmas and spanned the first five months of 1983, with the band's itinerary focused entirely on North America (three concerts were also played in Brazil) in an attempt to rebuild their diminished US fanbase. Unfortunately, the Creatures Tour was no more successful than the last North American tour in 1979 with numerous half-empty arenas and shows cancelled due to insufficient ticket sales.
|1.||"Creatures of the Night"||Paul Stanley, Adam Mitchell||Stanley||4:02|
|2.||"Saint and Sinner"||Gene Simmons, Mikel Japp||Simmons||4:50|
|3.||"Keep Me Comin'"||Stanley, Mitchell||Stanley||3:55|
|4.||"Rock and Roll Hell"||Simmons, Bryan Adams, Jim Vallance||Simmons||4:11|
|6.||"I Love It Loud"||Simmons, Vinnie Vincent||Simmons||4:15|
|7.||"I Still Love You"||Stanley, Vincent||Stanley||6:06|
|9.||"War Machine"||Simmons, Adams, Vallance||Simmons||4:14|
- Note: On the 1985 re-release of the album track 2 and 8 were switched. Also, for the 1985 reissue producer Dave Wittman remixed three tracks: "Creatures of the Night", "I Love It Loud" and "War Machine".
- Paul Stanley – rhythm guitar, vocals
- Ace Frehley – lead guitar (credits only; not featured on the album)
- Gene Simmons – bass guitar, vocals, rhythm guitar on "Killer" and "War Machine"
- Eric Carr – drums, percussion, backing vocals, bass guitar on "I Still Love You"
- Vinnie Vincent – lead guitar and backing vocals on "Saint and Sinner", "Keep Me Comin", "Danger", "I Love It Loud", "Killer", and "War Machine"
- Robben Ford – lead guitar on "Rock and Roll Hell" and "I Still Love You"
- Steve Farris – lead guitar on "Creatures of the Night"
- Mike Porcaro – bass guitar on "Creatures of the Night"
- Jimmy Haslip – bass guitar on "Danger"
- Adam Mitchell - rhythm guitar and outro lick on "Creatures of the Night"
- Vinnie Vincent - lead guitar
- Casablanca NBLP-7270 (October 13, 1982): LP
- Casablanca NBLS-7270 (October 13, 1982): Cassette
- Casablanca NBL8-7270 (October 13, 1982): 8-track
|Australian Albums Chart||33|
|Dutch Albums Chart||34|
|German Albums Chart||42|
|Italian Albums Chart||25|
|Norwegian Albums Chart||31|
|Swedish Albums Chart||22|
|UK Albums Chart||22|
|US Billboard Pop Albums||45|
|1983||"I Love It Loud"||Mainstream Rock Tracks||22|
Singles - Austrian charts (Austria)
|1982||"I Love It Loud"||Pop Singles||76|
Singles - UK Albums Chart (United Kingdom)
|1982||"Creatures of the Night"||Pop Singles||34|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||500,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
After not wanting to pay $70+ for an original copy, I went with the re-released vinyl edition. The 180 gram LP is sturdy and less flimsy, the sound is incredible, and it makes an old album sound new!