METALLICA's HAMMETT: 'KISS Was Never The Most Original Band In The World'

August 4, 2003

Michael D. Clark of the Houston Chronicle writes in his review of KISS' "Kiss Symphony: Alive IV" that he recently asked METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett if he was miffed that KISS' latest live collection ripped off the hybrid of heavy metal with symphony accompaniment his band mined four years ago on "S&M".

"Let's just say that KISS was never the most original band in the world," Hammett reportedly replied.

"To the loyal and aging KISS Army these are fighting words, caustic enough to launch a counteroffensive of guitar-rattling chords and pyrotechnic confetti bombs in a bid for heavy-metal hegemony," continues Clark.

"It's also a bit ungrateful on the part of Hammett, who probably grew up with KISS posters on his wall. Unfortunately, Captain Kirk is right on the money.

"The 21-song, two-disc set recorded with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is a slight twist on KISS' four other performance albums, but — even with a 100-person ensemble backing them — it's not distinctive enough.

"The 'Alive!' concert album in 1975 was perhaps the group's finest power-chord-ripping, grotesque party moment. 'MTV Unplugged' in 1996 was a memorable reunion of the original band — vocalist Paul Stanley, bassist Gene Simmons, drummer Peter Criss and guitarist Ace Frehley — whose intimacy and bare-bones production was the anti-'Alive!'

" 'Symphony' joins 'Alive II' and 'III' at a mediocre way station. Frehley is gone (replaced by Tommy Thayer),which immediately diminishes the album's value. And there are few cuts here that aren't recorded better somewhere else in the KISS catalog." Read the rest of the review here.

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