Kiss - 1985 Asylum

edited July 2020 in year-1985


ALBUM: Asylum
LABEL: Mercury
SERIAL: 826 099-1 M-1
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 1998, Mercury, 558 660-2


LINEUP: Paul Stanley - vocals, guitars * Gene Simmons - bass, vocals * Bruce Kulick - guitars * Eric Carr - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 King Of The Mountain * 02 Any Way You Slice It * 03 Who Wants To Be Lonely * 04 Trial By Love * 05 I'm Alive * 06 Love's A Deadly Weapon * 07 Tears Are Falling * 08 Secretly Cruel * 09 Radar For Love * 10 UH! All Night



Often dismissed in the Kiss canon of works, 'Asylum' appeared during a prolific period for the band following the removal of their makeup in 1983, despite shuffles in the guitar dept.

Kulick made his first appearance in the studio, having replaced Mark St John on the 'Animalize' tour and would prove to be long lasting by Kiss standards, over a decade.

'Asylum' followed the excellence of 'Animalize', heavy and hook laden hard rock with some definite nods to speed driven metal. Simmons has said he wasn't totally committed to the band at the time due to his acting career, but his songs all work and the album was another significant seller.

The Songs

Kiss were veterans by this point, but still able to hang easily with the likes of Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, W.A.S.P etc and to most extents top them. Kulick added a raw edge to the guitar work here, evident on opener 'King Of The Mountain', an indication of the heights of perfection Kiss could take anthems to.

'Any Way You Slice It' is even more infectious, try not singing along to that chorus for instance! Most importantly it retains the heaviness of the 1982-84 period, which would not be retained in later years.

The bombastic ballad styled 'Who Wants To Be Lonely' was a marginal hit and is slick AOR, although with more rawness than anything off 'Crazy Nights'.

Simmons 'Trial By Fire' is the weakest track melodically, but quickly forgotten by the speed metal rampage of 'I'm Alive', which is among the fastest Kiss tracks ever, pure metal with brutal axe work. In the same vein is 'Love's A Deadly Weapon', an aggressive Simmons' composition, really sealing this albums reputation as a classic.

'Tears Are Falling' is the most remembered track, another hit ballad of sorts. 'Uh! All Night' begins with Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Day' riff and works into a special slice of Kiss raunch, another singalong frenzy.

In Summary

This was the end of an era for the band in my opinion, as no new studio album appeared in 1986 and 'Crazy Nights', despite being a brilliant AOR effort from 1987, saw the metal quotient disappear that had been so prevalent on the last four albums, which started with 1981's 'The Elder'.

Future albums never recaptured the spirit of the makeup-free years and once the original lineup reformed, Kiss were for all purposes done as a recording band, save for one flop in 1998.

'Asylum' often gets lost in the shuffle but I often wonder why as it's as polished and accomplished musically as anything they had ever done, remaining one of my favourite albums of the band to this day.


Tears Are Falling

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    DaveTDaveT Buenos Aires, Argentina
    For me, the most consistent album of the unmasked era. Liveliness, some catchy songs and some heavy ones as well, and a top notch guitar solo on 'Tears Are Falling'.
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    I'm a sucker for the Vinnie Vincent era of KISS so to me Lick It Up stands proud as the best unmasked album, but, with the exception of Animalize, which has never really done it for me, the other albums from this era all stand up really well.

    Asylum was the first album I bought on release after I'd 'discovered' them and therefore holds a strong place in my heart but even putting that aside the songs on this record are really strong - King Of The Mountain, Radar For Love, Uh All Night!, Tears Are Falling, Secretly Cruel, Anyway You Slice It and Who Wants To Be Lonely all being pretty fantastic!
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    DaveTDaveT Buenos Aires, Argentina
    edited July 2020
    I agree with it, Steven, Lick It Up is for me the best album of the unmasked era as well. Vinnie Vincent was the reason I picked up the guitar back then.

    Asylum holds a special place in my heart, the band sounds so focused. 'Radar For Love' is Zeppelin's spirit in the 80's, what an album track.

    I love 80's Kiss and I don't know why so many fans and the band themselves (Gene & Paul) overlook this era. Maybe because they do not think it's cool, or bashing the 80's is a trend. Anyway, there's the music as proof, they really delivered.
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    CandymanCandyman Australia
    I'm all in on this album from Eric Carr kicking off King of The Mountain through to the classy finish of Uh All Night! I like this better than Animalise that had a few songs that didnt do it for me.
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    PatrickHemmingPatrickHemming Tampa Florida
    edited July 2020
    As a died in the wool KISS fan I think this is a darn good album. Far better than Animalize & the difference maker, besides ‘Tears Are Falling’, are Gene’s songs. This time he brought the goods.

    My favorite unmasked album is Lick It Up followed closely by Crazy Nights. While Asylum follows Nights, I wouldn’t want to have to live on the difference between them.

    Special mention goes to ‘Radar For Love’. I dig it when Paul is in Led Zeppelin mode and this ranks as one of his best. Right up there with ‘Malin’ Love’ in my book.
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    My ranking of the non-make-up albums:
    1. Lick it up (the perfect successor to COTN, stunning guitar work from VV, a great album)
    2. Asylum (very melodic and still pretty heavy, awesome)
    3. Crazy nights (underrated, Kiss going in the AOR direction, I like it)
    4. Revenge (a bit overrated, but a good, heavy album nonetheless)
    5. Animalize (some good tracks, some filler, a mixed bag)
    6. Hot in the shade (too long, way too much filler, no stand out tracks, only 'Forever' comes close)
    7. Carnival of souls (good playing, but I don't like Kiss doing grunge)
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    CandymanCandyman Australia
    I agree with this rankings all the way through. Can't say I listen to Carnival of Souls much and Hot in the Shade has heaps of tracks I could do without.
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    Hot in the Shade and Revenge were both mediocre. I’d take Carnival of Souls over both of them.
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    Revenge is anything but mediocre. Great tracks from start to finish. Both Paul and Gene turned up too. HITS has some great tracks but in the early era of CD suffered from the same fate as a lot of album.s Rather than have 10-12 great songs it has something like 17 and too many are there just to fill space. That it is also, in effect, tarted up demos doesn't help either.

    I do like Carnival Of Souls, but it was a move that KISS didn't really need to make, good though most of it is.
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    CandymanCandyman Australia
    Sounds like I need to listen to Carnival of Souls again.

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    ExplorerExplorer England
    edited July 2020
    A bit late to this thread, but for what it`s worth I think Asylum is a great album. Crazy Nights not so much. Revenge, damn fine record, and Carnival of Souls and HITS both bang average and bordering on awful really.
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