Psycho Circus – Kiss Album #18

No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. Psycho Circus Paul Stanley, Curtis Cuomo Stanley 5:30
2. Within Gene Simmons Simmons 5:10
3. I Pledge Allegiance to the State of Rock & Roll Stanley, Cuomo, Holly Knight Stanley 3:32
4. Into the Void Ace Frehley, Karl Cochran Frehley 4:22
5. We Are One Simmons Simmons 4:41
6. You Wanted the Best Simmons Simmons, Stanley, Peter Criss, Frehley 4:15
7. Raise Your Glasses Stanley, Knight Stanley 4:14
8. I Finally Found My Way Stanley, Bob Ezrin Criss 3:40
9. Dreamin‘” Stanley, Bruce Kulick Stanley 4:12
10. Journey of 1,000 Years Simmons Simmons 4:47

Psycho Circus is the 18th studio album of the American hard-rock band Kiss. It was recorded in 1998, after the band had achieved considerable tour results in 1996 with their reunion. The LP reached the top ten in several countries and received the gold status. However, it contains only one title, which was actually recorded by the four original members of the group, namely the song written by Ace Frehley Into the Void.

The previous album Carnival of Souls was indeed recorded in 1995/1996, but appeared only in 1997 – five years after the previous album. Due to the reunion of the original band occupation of the record company the time for the release of the album did not look cheap. Because the band was not heard at Carnival of Souls in the reunited original line up. Accordingly, the reactions of the followers and the buyer were correspondingly restrained. On this album, Kiss experimented with grunge and a gritty hard rock / heavy metal melange. The album sounds more modern and songwriting constructive and follows a contemporary style concept in the semi-hard mid-tempo area. Both the vocals and the instrumental music are overall comparatively slow, long-winded, deep-toned and sometimes melancholy. Carnival of Souls was the last album of the unmasked era.

Kiss was even more productive in the previous decades. In the 1970s they recorded two albums a year. The frequency slowed down to a one-year or two-year cycle in the 1980s and slowed further in the 1990s to a distance of up to five years. Eleven years have passed between Psycho Circus and the follow-up album Sonic Boom, released in 2009.

The original cast first broke up in 1980 through the progress of drummer Peter Criss. 1982 followed lead guitarist Ace Frehley, who also left the band. In the years 1983 to 1995 appearances were exclusively without masking. Likewise, the CDs showed the band only without make-up. Due to an MTV unplugged broadcast in August 1995, in which also the old band members Criss and Frehley appeared, the band decided to perform both in the Urformation and make-up. 1996 followed therefore the extremely successful Kiss Alive / Worldwide Tour. The album Psycho Circus was produced in this way in the time of the joint concerts. The collaboration ended in 2001, when Criss left the band. He was followed by Ace Frehley in 2002 due to internal disputes.

Paul Stanley commented on the album’s result: “I think it’s a sensational album. ‘Psycho Circus’ is one of our best albums, but it also contains some parts that I do not like so much. On the whole, however, I am very satisfied with it and with what I have contributed to it. […] I think a lot of things just went wrong with the album. But I did everything to ensure that the album was not lost even the last bit of integrity. ”

Gene Simmons said, “Most of the tracks on the album clearly show that the band has achieved something. I think it’s one of our better discs. ”

Ace Frehley was pleased with the result, but not with the creation of the LP: “I think it was a good album; What I did not find that cool though was that Peter and I did not really play on the album. I would very much like to have recorded all my parts myself. ”

Technician Mike Plotnikoff said: “The fact that Ace and Peter did not play Psycho Circus on their own was based on a decision by Bruce (Fairbairn). Although Gene and Paul wanted the original members to be heard on the album, Bruce found, as he heard Ace and Peter playing the pre-production of the album, that their playing style did not match the kind of album he had in mind. ”

Producer Bruce Fairbairn: “Albums are like snapshots, because they represent a very specific period in the musical development of the band. For me, ‘Psycho Circus’ is a successful snapshot that shows exactly what musical level the band is at the time was. ”

Danny Goldberg, director of record label Mercury Records, was critical of the album’s sale: “I thought ‘Psycho Circus’ was a really good album, but it was not very successful. These are two very different worlds: On tour, for example, one lives off nostalgia. The fans want to hear ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’, spit Gene Simmons fire and see Paul jump around on stage. They want to say they saw Kiss. On the other hand, there are also twenty-five or thirty albums to buy from them containing all the songs. To sell a new album well, you need a hit; that’s how easy it is. “