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KISS Creatures Of The Night 40 Super Deluxe Edition

By George Dionne, Podcaster
Wednesday, January 4, 2023 @ 11:26 AM

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Creatures of The Night 40
Super Deluxe Edition

The Backstory

Let’s take the romanticism out of KISStory for a moment and put things bluntly. While KISS may have lived up to their moniker of ‘The Hottest Band in World’ for most of the 1970s, by the start of the 1980s the band and their music was an out of control dumpster fire.

Drummer Peter Criss had been ousted at the start of the decade and Ace Frehley was holding on by a thread. Musically, KISS had flirted with disco, released one commercial sounding turd after the other, Unmasked (1980) and Music From “The Elder” (1982), causing their record label to release yet another compilation with Killers (1982).

By 1982 KISS NEEDED to go back to basics. They NEEDED to go back to the Hard Rock that brought them to the table. That album was Creatures of The Night. Despite relying more on outside songwriters, musically KISS managed to take the first steps in rebuilding their dynasty on this album. Of course band member conflicts raged on.

For the 40th anniversary edition of Creatures of The Night, Ume has put together several editions and configurations that are sure to please the die hard fans as well as the casual ones. This review is for the 5 audio CDs of the Super Deluxe Edition.

Disc 1 - Creatures of The Night (original album remastered)

The mastering of the album is just as crisp and clean as the prior 40th anniversary editions KISS has released in recent years. “Creatures of The Night” has always been one of my favorite songs from the album. Catchy as all hell, and a bonding song between the band and its fans. “Saint And Sinner” takes on a darker tone, headlined by Gene Simmons on vocals.

Led by a bluesy riff and repetitive chorus, “Keep It Coming” is an enjoyable song, but far from a hit single. “Rock And Roll Hell” did not and probably will not set the world on fire, despite the help from the songwriting team of Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. Paul Stanley brings his bombastic energy to the track “Danger”.

The second half of the album was co-written with soon-to-be KISS guitarist Vinnie Vincent. Ace Frehley was credited on the album, but it was Vincent that actually played on it. “I Love It Loud” was the band’s stab at another anthem, and honestly it works. The thumping bass and singalong chorus draws you in instantly. The ending of the music video still remains creepy.

Stanley is the go-to guy when you want an emotional ballad. Though not always recognized in greatest hits packages, “I Still Love You” is one of KISS’ best ballads. “Killer” does not live up to its title. It’s fairly bland. Adams and Vallance return for “War Machine”. This track buries their previously penned track.

Disc 2 - Demos, Rarties, and Outtakes

The first four tracks on this disc were previously released on the 1982 Killers compilation as new material. Or a preview of Creatures of The Night if you will. “Nowhere To Run” is the best of the bunch, with Stanley at his vocal best. Some people like demos, others not so much. I fall into the latter category, I honestly don’t care. However, it is cool to hear different versions of the songs sometimes, but how often are you going to return to that?

Two different demos of “Deadly Weapon” are included. They say they are from different time periods, but let’s be honest, The Elder, KIllers, and Creatures of The Night were made about a year apart from each other. Five instrumentals are included, in which I’m not so sure there’s a huge demand for. Two Gene Simmons demos conclude the disc. Shoulder-shrug worthy at best.

Disc 3 - Demos, Rarities, and Outtakes

This disc kicks off with the Gene Simmons demo “Legends Never Die”, a song in which Wendy O. Williams (THE PLASMATICS) went on to record for her 1984 WOW solo album. I’d rather hear alternative takes than demos, and this disc has at least one alt take for each song on Creatures of The Night, and up to three for the same song. The disc concludes with the single edit of “I Love It Loud” and a 1985 remix of “Creatures of The Night”.

Disc 4 - Creatures Tour Live ‘82/‘83 - Part 1

The next two discs are consumed by live material. There are no continuous performances. Some songs continue from the same show date, while others are sprinkled in between. The Rockford, Illinois show in December of 1982 starts off on a lot of sour guitar notes, like it’s their first time playing it. The vocal melodies are equally as cringeworthy. This performance is as raw as it gets. No touch ups here. Purists are sure to love that.

The first song from Sioux City, Iowa, “I Love It Loud” is the night prior to the opener. A little smoother of a performance, but rough back-ups. The band is finally warmed up come time for “Cold Gin”. Three tracks from Creatures of The Night are in the set, and they are the best of the bunch. Gene’s bass solo is intense, but the visuals that usually go with it are the money shot.

Disc 5 - Creatures Tour Live ‘82/‘83 - Part 2

Stanley takes a whole two minutes and fifteen seconds to introduce “Love Gun” in Rockford, Illinois. It has its own track number on this disc. It’s not the only ridiculous track here. Included at the end of disc 5 are seven sound effects from the tour. Sound effects?! Haven’t you always wanted the sound effects from a KISS show to listen to at your leisure? Sounds like a tank, a turbine, a siren, wind, gargoyles, bells, and flames. Each with their own individual track, in case you only like singles.

The Verdict

Creatures of The Night was always an average album by KISS. Certainly not one of their classics, but also not garbage. The album shows signs of a band struggling internally and externally. Creatures of The Night was the first step toward KISS stabilizing themselves. While “Creatures of The Night” and “I Love It Loud” are standouts, most of the album is B-material. This 40th anniversary edition of the album sounds great sonically.

As far as the Super Deluxe Edition Box is concerned, I would say it’s for collector’s only. There’s a bit of desperation in trying to fill 5 discs with this release. The alternate takes, demos, and outtakes are okay for a one time listen. KISS has released much better live shows than the ones included here. Plus the majority of their live releases are continuous shows, not pieces of different shows. The memorabilia included in the box looks to be a treasure trove for die-hards.

Creatures of The Night - 3.0 Out Of 5.0
Bonus material - 2.0 Out Of 5.0

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