Unholy (song)

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Single by Kiss
from the album Revenge
ReleasedMay 4, 1992
GenreHeavy metal
Songwriter(s)Gene Simmons, Vinnie Vincent
Producer(s)Bob Ezrin
Kiss singles chronology
""God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II" / "Junior's Gone Wild" (performed by King's X)"
"Domino" (radio edit) / "Carr Jam 1981"
Music video
"Unholy" on YouTube

"Unholy" is a song by the American hard rock band Kiss, written by Gene Simmons and Vinnie Vincent. Featured on their 1992 album Revenge, the song is one of the three Vincent co-writes to appear on the album despite the fact that he had been fired from the band 8 years earlier.[1] The release of "Unholy" signaled the return to a heavier sound for Kiss and was their first single to feature a lead vocal by bassist Gene Simmons since "I Love It Loud" in 1982 (a song also co-written by Vincent). The song was played live during the Revenge Tour and was included on the 1993 live album Alive III, but did not return to the live Kiss set list until 2004's Rock the Nation Tour.[2]

Composition and Recording[edit]

"Unholy" was co-written by Gene Simmons and Vinnie Vincent, although Vincent was fired in 1984. Simmons stated in his book Kiss and Make-Up:
"Vinnie Vincent came up to me and apologized for causing the band all the grief while he was a member. He wanted to patch things up and wondered if I would consider writing some songs with him. 'Sure', I said. I wanted to let bygones be bygones. I called Paul and told him that Vinnie had apparently changed. Paul wrote songs with him as well. But before the album was released, Vinnie was up to his old tricks again. He reneged on a signed deal we had made and decided that he wanted to renegotiate. He eventually sued us and lost. As far as I was concerned, he was persona non grata forever."[3]

Two other songs which appear on the album, "I Just Wanna" and "Heart of Chrome", were also co-written by Vincent. The song is, according to Simmons, based on a Wicked Lester song "Keep Me Waiting" which appears on the album The Original Wicked Lester Sessions. Vincent suggested a number of changes, mostly lyrical changes which as Simmons said, made the song even better.

"Unholy" was the first single in 10 years to feature Simmons on lead vocals since I Love It Loud and is considered one of the heaviest songs in the band's catalog.[4] The song features Jesse Damon from Silent Rage, who sang backing vocals on the track. He also sang backing vocals on "Thou Shalt Not" (which he even co-wrote), "Take It Off", "Tough Love", "Heart of Chrome" and "I Just Wanna".


As a single, "Unholy" was released in the United States as a promotional single, but it broke the Top-30 in five countries, reaching its highest in Norway, number 2, which was the highest of all singles from Revenge. The B-side was God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II, a reworking of the Argent song God Gave Rock and Roll to You.

Music video[edit]

A music video was filmed at Southern Bay Studios in Carson, California and was directed by Paul Rachman. The video did not receive regular rotation airplay, as it showed children dancing on pentagrams and "Damien"- (Omen-)like twins casting demonic shadows, which would in turn cause mass protests at MTV from the Christian conservatives, but did feature on MTV's Headbangers Ball program, airing regularly there.


'Unholy' was voted by fans as the 37th best Kiss song in a 2014 feature for Classic Rock magazine.[5]


Single by Black Veil Brides (featuring Zakk Wylde)
from the album Rebels
ReleasedDecember, 2011
FormatEP, single
GenreHard rock, alternative metal, glam metal
LabelLava Records, Universal Republic Records
Songwriter(s)Gene Simmons, Vinnie Vincent
Black Veil Brides (featuring Zakk Wylde) singles chronology
"Rebel Love Song"
"In the End"

In 2008, the song was parodied on the Kiss tribute album KISS MY ANKH: A Tribute To Vinnie Vincent, written and performed by rock & roll comic C.C. Banana. The parody is called "Ted Poley" and was inspired by a real life encounter between Danger Danger vocalist Ted Poley and Kiss frontman Paul Stanley, while the two bands were on tour together in 1992.[6] The other cover found on the album was recorded by Curse God and Die.[6]
German band Die Ärzte, who supported Kiss in 1996, recorded a German version of the song in 1994 for the tribute album Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved.[7]
American rock band Black Veil Brides did a cover of the song on their EP Rebels which was released on December 23, 2011. Ozzy Osbourne/Black Label Society guitarist, Zakk Wylde is featured on this version, playing the guitar solo[8] The song was revealed to the public on YouTube on December 14, 2011.[9] Black Veil Brides has cited Kiss (along with Mötley Crüe) as their biggest influences image-wise.[10]


"Unholy" has appeared on following Kiss albums:

Track listing[edit]


  1. "Unholy" (Gene Simmons, Vinnie Vincent) - 3:40
  2. "God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II" (Russ Ballard, Paul Stanley, Simmons, Bob Ezrin) - 5:23
  3. "Deuce" (Demo) (Simmons) - 3:25
  4. "Strutter" (Demo) (Stanley, Simmons) - 4:58

Limited Special Edition - CD-Single[edit]

CD-Single 1[edit]

  1. "Unholy" (Gene Simmons, Vinnie Vincent) - 3:40
  2. "God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II" (Russ Ballard, Paul Stanley, Simmons, Bob Ezrin) - 5:23
  3. "Deuce" (Demo) (Simmons) - 3:25
  4. "Strutter" (Demo) (Stanley, Simmons) - 4:58

CD-Single 2[edit]

  1. Kiss - Fifteen Years On (Interview)



  • Jesse Damon - backing vocals


Chart (1992) Peak
UK Singles Chart 26[11]
Norwegian Singles Chart 2[12]
Swedish Singles Chart 19[13]
Dutch Singles Chart 26[14]
German Singles Chart 26[15]


  1. ^ "Discography listing at official Kiss website". Kiss Online. Archived from the original on 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2008-09-19.
  2. ^ "Kiss tour dates and set lists". Kiss FAQ. Archived from the original on January 3, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
  3. ^ Simmons, Gene (2001). Kiss and Make-Up. Arrow Books. ISBN 978-0-09-943614-0 (Page 220 lines 18-27)
  4. ^ Sputnikmusic Review - Revenge Retrieved December 17, 2011
  5. ^ Classic Rock, issue 196, May 2014, p. 54.
  6. ^ a b "KISS MY ANKH: A Tribute To Vinnie Vincent". SplitScreen Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2008-08-31. Retrieved 2008-09-19.
  7. ^ Kiss related recordings. Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved album. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
  8. ^ Black Veil Brides Rebels details Archived 2012-09-12 at Archive.today. Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  9. ^ Black Veil Brides - Unholy (feat. Zakk Wylde). Dailymotion. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  10. ^ Black Veil Brides on KISS Influence. Dailymotion. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  11. ^ UK Albums Chart Albums and singles chart history-Kiss December 17, 2011.
  12. ^ VG-lista Albums and singles chart history-Kiss Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  13. ^ Sverigetopplistan Albums and singles chart history-Kiss December 17, 2011.
  14. ^ MegaCharts Albums and singles chart history-Kiss Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  15. ^ Media Control Charts Albums and singles chart history-Kiss December 17, 2011.

External links[edit]