10,000 Volts

MNRK Heavy
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. 10,000 Volts
02. Walkin' On The Moon
03. Cosmic Heart
04. Cherry Medicine
05. Back Into My Arms Again
06. Fightin' for Life
07. Blinded
08. Constantly Cute
09. Life of a Stranger
10. Up in the Sky
11. Stratosphere

It is said that the greatest revenge is living well, and Ace Frehley appears to have taken that to heart. Not that the former KISS legend isn't still subject to occasional slings and arrows from his estranged former bandmates. But since GENE SIMMONS's mouth is open so much that it's a surprise no one has found a family of sparrows nesting in it, it seems pointless to continually traverse old ground by listening to the old devil. "10,000 Volts" is a big, joyful hard rock record with plenty of energy and some absolutely massive tunes, and Frehley sounds magnificently unbothered about what anyone else is saying or doing. Instead, he's having fun and killing it on the guitar, just as fans have come to expect since his most recent renaissance.

If 2020's "Origins Vol.2" was a feisty if predictable covers set, "10,000 Volts" sounds like a purposeful reclaiming of the bombastic, arena rock sound that Frehley did so much to help create. The title track is an absolute riot: constructed around one of the guitarist's trademark simple-but-lethal riffs and graced with a brain-infecting chorus. Frehley's voice, weathered by the years, is bullish, assured and bolstered by smart harmonies that bring a power-pop sparkle to the whole joyous enterprise. "Walkin' on the Moon" is similarly great: a loping, laconic thing with a chorus that sounds big enough for mainstream radio, but without troubling Sting's lawyers.

Our hero gets his metal on for "Cosmic Heart", with a riff that sounds half LED ZEPPELIN and half JACK WHITE, and a dark, swaggering chorus that rocks like JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS gone gothic. Despite a chorus that owes something, however accidental, to OASIS, "Cherry Medicine" is a gritty, rock gem with endearingly goofy lyrics that verge on DANKO JONES levels of lasciviousness: "You make me feel better when you're in your black leather!" deadpans Frehley. It's brilliant.

It's rare to find a veteran rock artist who doesn't crave the critical approval that more adventurous music could potentially bring. Ace Frehley is sticking to his strengths here, but rather than coming across as pedestrian or predictable, "10,000 Volts" has so much spirit that even occasional detours into over-egged pomp rock ("Back Into My Arms Again") and overwrought blues balladry ("Life of a Stranger") convey the same sense of heartfelt pride and joy.

And when it rocks, it rocks. "Fightin' for Life" is a big, bad sleaze metal stomper with a fantastic solo from the man himself; "Blinded" has a creepy edge and a strong '80s ALICE COOPER vibe, as Frehley curses "technology with no empathy" with a curled lip; on the wonderfully laidback "Constantly Cute", he touches upon something close to earthy, radio rock perfection.

Concluding with the strutting STONES-isms and rough-knuckled punk vibes of "Up in the Sky" and the instrumental crescendos of "Stratosphere", "10,000 Volts" says it all about how The Spaceman rolls in 2024. Big rock, delivered with a flourish and with no holograms required. His solo album was always the best of the four anyway.

Author: Dom Lawson
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).