Hotter than Hell (album)

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Hotter Than Hell
Cover hth large.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 22, 1974
RecordedAugust 1974
StudioThe Village Recorder Studios, Los Angeles
GenreHeavy metal, hard rock
Length33:02
LabelCasablanca
ProducerKenny Kerner, Richie Wise
Kiss chronology
Kiss
(1974)
Hotter Than Hell
(1974)
Dressed to Kill
(1975)
Singles from Hotter Than Hell
  1. "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll"
    Released: October 22, 1974
  2. "Hotter Than Hell"
    Released: October 1974

Hotter Than Hell is the second studio album by American hard rock band Kiss, released on October 22, 1974 by Casablanca Records. It was certified gold on June 23, 1977, having shipped 500,000 copies.[1] The album was re-released in 1997 in a remastered version. It peaked on the Billboard 200 charts at No. 100,[2] without the benefit of a hit single. Many of the album's songs are live staples for the band, including “Parasite", "Hotter Than Hell", "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll" and "Watchin' You".

Album information[edit]

The production team of Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise, who had produced the group's first album, was again chosen for the follow-up. The pair had just relocated to Los Angeles, and Kiss made the trek to the west coast to commence recording, the first the band had done outside New York. The band members, all hailing from New York City, immediately developed a dislike for their new surroundings. Paul Stanley's guitar was stolen on his first day in Los Angeles. The working title for the album was The Harder They Come.[3] Although the album featured three songs composed by lead guitarist Ace Frehley, he did not sing on any of them; his lack of confidence in his singing abilities at that time led to Frehley delegating lead vocal duties to other members of the band, with "Parasite" and "Strange Ways" going to Gene Simmons and Peter Criss, respectively. Frehley's guitar solo on "Strange Ways" has been referred to as one of his best.[4]

The album is well known for its striking cover. The front featured Japanese manga-influenced artwork, and the back cover showed individual band shots taken by Norman Seeff at a wild party, and a composite of all four band members' makeup designs.

The Japanese character on the bottom of the album cover (力) is chikara, which means "power". It would later be used on various forms of Kiss material during the 1970s and 1980s, most prominently on Eric Carr's drum kit. The Japanese characters on the top-right corner of the album cover (地獄 の さけび) are jigoku no sakebi, which means "hell's shout" or "the shout of hell". The Japanese characters used for Frehley's name are mispronounced. The characters are エイス フューリ (eisu fyuuri), which would translate to "Ace Fury". The characters should have been エースフレーリー (esu fureri).[citation needed]

Every shot of Frehley has his makeup airbrushed into the photo, as he had injuries to one side of his face after a vehicle accident, making it difficult for him to actually wear the makeup.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[4]
Vista Records4.5/5 stars[5]
Rolling Stone2/5 stars[6]
Blender3/5 stars[7]
Metal Nightfall4/5 stars[8]
Pitchfork(5.3/10)[9]

Despite the intense touring schedule Kiss maintained in 1974, Hotter Than Hell failed to outperform the band's first album and fared considerably worse. This was due partly to the fact that Casablanca's distribution deal with Warner Bros. Records had ended. The publicity push behind the album was not nearly as strong as it had been for the debut album. One notable exception was a television commercial aired to promote the album. The only single released from the album, "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll", was distributed in low numbers and failed to chart. Four months after the album was released, Kiss were pulled off tour and called back into the studio to record a follow-up.[4] Hotter Than Hell was certified gold on June 23, 1977.[1]

Musically, Hotter Than Hell is darker than the band's first album.[4] This is partly due to the murkier production values, but also the lyrical content of some of the songs. "Goin' Blind", which details a doomed romance between a 93-year-old and an underage girl, was a song written by Simmons and Stephen Coronel during their days with Wicked Lester. The original title was "Little Lady". Hotter Than Hell featured many more overdubs than the first album. While Kerner and Wise wanted to produce a record that captured Kiss as a live act, they decided to take advantage of the experience the band had gained as recording artists.

In an interview with Songfacts' Greg Prato in 2013, Richie Wise shouldered the blame for the album's sub-par sonics. "For whatever reason, moving to California, my head wasn't in the right place. It was more of a chore than it was out of love, that album. And my heart and soul didn't get there. I don't remember having any breathing time. It was just too much exhale. It wasn't enough inhale/exhale. Not enough give and take. I was going through a bunch of changes at that time. I moved from New York to California. I'd never moved like that in my life, made a big move. It was just a big time for me, and Hotter Than Hell took a back seat. And I apologize for that."[10]

Track listing[edit]

Side one[4]
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Got to Choose"Paul StanleyStanley3:54
2."Parasite"Ace FrehleyGene Simmons3:01
3."Goin' Blind"Simmons, Stephen CoronelSimmons3:36
4."Hotter Than Hell"StanleyStanley3:31
5."Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll"Simmons, StanleySimmons2:14
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
6."All the Way"SimmonsSimmons3:18
7."Watchin' You"SimmonsSimmons3:43
8."Mainline"StanleyPeter Criss3:50
9."Comin' Home"Frehley, StanleyStanley2:37
10."Strange Ways"FrehleyCriss3:18

Cover versions[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Kiss
Production

Charts[edit]

Chart (1974) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart[11] 98
Canadian Albums Chart[12] 91
Japanese Albums Chart[13] 46
US Billboard Pop Albums[14] 100

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[1] Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "American album certifications – Kiss – Hotter Than Hell". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  2. ^ "Hotter Than Hell: Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums" at AllMusic. Retrieved January 24, 2009.
  3. ^ "Hotter Than Hell". KISS Discography 1971–1975. members.shaw.ca/amazingone. Interesting Facts. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e Prato, Greg. "Kiss: 'Hotter Than Hell > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved March 6, 2011.
  5. ^ Rupp, Erik (August 16, 2009). "KISS – Hotter Than Hell (1974)". vistarecords.proboards.com.
  6. ^ "Kiss: Album Guide". rollingstone.com. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  7. ^ Blender review[dead link]
  8. ^ powersylv (December 17, 2006). "KISS – Hotter Than Hell (1974)" (in French). metal.nightfall.fr.
  9. ^ Josephes, Jason. "Kiss: 'Hotter Than Hell". Archived from the original on February 19, 2003.
  10. ^ Songfacts. "Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust) : Songwriter Interviews". www.songfacts.com. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  11. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  12. ^ "Search - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  13. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  14. ^ "Kiss Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums" at AllMusic. Retrieved February 11, 2010.