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Cover Art Kiss
Alive II
[Mercury Remasters Series]
Rating: 7.0

Alive is a tough act to follow, and just sticking a "II" at the end of the same title doesn't insure a perfect successor to the throne. Alas, when you put out a concert album that features your biggest hit ("Beth") being mangled by a laryngitical cokehead, it's tough to grab the brass ring. No, not that everything on here is weak -- far from it. The first few songs ("Detroit Rock City" and "Ladies Room", to name a couple) capture Kiss at their best, and "Shout It Out Loud" is a perfect singalong finale. And the studio tracks tacked on the end? Well, a lot of people consider "Rocket Ride" one of the best Kiss songs. (I'm not one of those.) But the straight- faced, blatent Led Zeppelin ripoff "Larger Than Life" is pretty cool.

This just didn't grab me as hard as Alive did. Not a bad album, but definitely not essential.

-Jason Josephes

10.0: Essential
9.5-9.9: Spectacular
9.0-9.4: Amazing
8.5-8.9: Exceptional; will likely rank among writer's top ten albums of the year
8.0-8.4: Very good
7.5-7.9: Above average; enjoyable
7.0-7.4: Not brilliant, but nice enough
6.0-6.9: Has its moments, but isn't strong
5.0-5.9: Mediocre; not good, but not awful
4.0-4.9: Just below average; bad outweighs good by just a little bit
3.0-3.9: Definitely below average, but a few redeeming qualities
2.0-2.9: Heard worse, but still pretty bad
1.0-1.9: Awful; not a single pleasant track
0.0-0.9: Breaks new ground for terrible