Warpaint Warriors: Kiss’ ‘Creatures of the Night 40th anniversary’ album review


Photo from Spotify

Mike Singer, Music Manager

Before we get started, I would like to say that since this is an anniversary release with too many songs to do an overall ranking, like the Guns N’ Roses review, there will be no rating, just a review.

On Friday, Nov. 18, the “hottest band in the world,” Kiss remastered and re-released their 1982 record titled “Creatures of the Night” for the 40th anniversary.

For some of the non-die-hard Kiss fans, you might be asking “What’s so special about this record?” Well let me set the scene for you, let’s turn back time really quickly.

The late ’70s was Kiss at the height of their powers, with juggernaut records like 1976’s “Destroyer” and “Rock and Roll Over,” 1977’s “Love Gun,’ and 1979’s “Dynasty” with rock/disco smash hit “I Was Made For Lovin’ You,” this was considered the golden age for Kiss. Put simply that no one could touch them and they seemed to have everything going for them.

Little did the fans know that during the recording sessions for “Dynasty” and the follow-up record, 1980’s “Unmasked,” that drummer Peter Criss was not showing up to recording sessions and that session musicians were recording Criss’s drum takes which resulted in guitarist Paul Stanley, bassist Gene Simmions and guitarist Ace Frehley to fire Criss prior to the European leg of the Unmasked tour.

One tour, a new drummer (Eric Carr), and a whole record later (1981’s “Music from ‘The Elder”), Ace Frehley left the band prior to 1982’s “Creatures Of The Night” despite appearing on the record cover (pictured bottom middle).

By the time it came to record and tour the record, Kiss had hired Vinny Vincent to replace Frehley. After the band took their final bow in Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 25, 1983, it would be the last time until 1996 that the band featured the legendary warpaint that made them so famous. On Sept. 18, 1983, on MTV, Kiss finally appeared in the public for the first time without their makeup in preparation for their new record titled “Lick It Up.”

So, did you follow all that? In terms of Kiss-tory (see what I did there), there was a lot to unpack to understand why this record is massive in terms of the band’s history.

As far as the music is concerned on the 40th-anniversary edition, it’s 76 songs and 5 hours and 23 minutes of rock and roll that ended the 70’s Golden Age and signaled the ’80s new wave of Kiss.

The remastered songs sound nice and crisp, it’s one of my top five Kiss records, so I think each song sounds great. I do believe that this record is more on the underrated side when compared to some of the earlier records or even some of the later records like “Revenge” or “Psycho Circus.”

With some Kiss Klassics like “War Machine,” “Creatures Of The Night,” and underrated songs like “Saint and Sinner,” you can’t go wrong with this anniversary edition.

What is very cool about this is some of the added songs that were added to the greatest hits records released during the era. 

With add-ons like “I’m A Legends Tonight,” “Down On Your Knees,” ‘Nowhere To Run,” and “Partners In Crime,” Kiss did not hold back on songs that should have made the final record.

What is neat about the anniversary edition is, like the 45th-anniversary edition for “Destroyer,” is that they added original demos, Penny Lane demos, and Gene Simmons demos to the record so fans can get a sense of what some of the Kiss songs sounded like at the very beginning before they made it to the final cut or before they got reworked into other songs.

What I found most interesting was that two demo versions for songs that were used on later records were actually started during the creature’s sessions. Songs like “Not For The Innocent,” which appears on the “Lick It Up” record, and “Betrayed” which is on the “Hot In The Shade” record were actually demoed during these recordings. “Betrayed” was actually a song sung by Paul Stanley and was written by Vinnie Vincent and him.

Another really cool feature about this anniversary record is that they added live songs from shows in Rockford, Illinois, and Sioux City, Iowa to the end of the record. I personally love when bands do this since I am such a big fan of live records so it automatically gets brownie points when I see live versions attached to the anniversary records. 

There are unfortunately some things that I am not so crazy about when it comes to this particular anniversary record.

The first one is towards the end of the record, there are different takes of the same song, specifically “I Still Love You,” “Saint and Sinner,” and “Rock And Roll Hell.” I personally don’t like them and I think that they shouldn’t be on there. It takes up room and maybe one take is cool but it does get repetitive and they could do without it.

The final thing that this anniversary set could do without is the sound effects that are at the very bottom of the record. From the “Tank Start Of Show,” or “Firehouse Siren (Tour Sound Effect)” it is just silly and unnecessary to add it to the record. It’s just random and awkward sitting at the end of the record and takes up space from potentially other music being added. All in all, I did not like this add-on to the record.

All in all, it’s a strong anniversary release that has a lot more positives than negatives.


Finally, it’s time for The Singer’s Thoughts:

  1. Like many of the anniversary releases, I love that Kiss is highlighting a rather dark and murky time period that they would probably rather forget. I know there are a lot of fans that actually enjoyed this record and like the music without any of the drama being involved so it’s great they decided to highlight this
  2. To my recollection, this is the first live material that Kiss has officially released with Eric Carr on drums so it’s great that fans can finally get to hear him play monstrous beats on the drums, I’m now hoping for an “Off The Soundboard” record with Eric on it… maybe Australia 1980?
  3. I love that Kiss acknowledges the ‘80’s period and I hope they continue to do this with some of the lesser popular records like “Asylum,” “Animalize” and “Crazy Nights,” there are legions of fans that only grew up without makeup Kiss and this era. There is a demand for releases of the non-makeup years, do it!