Creatures of the Night is the 10th studio album from U.S. band Kiss. It is the band's 10th studio album and the last for Casablanca Records, the only label the group had ever recorded for up to that point. The album was also dedicated to the memory of Casablanca founder and early Kiss supporter Neil Bogart, who had died of cancer during the recording sessions.
The album represented a conscious effort on Kiss's part to return to the style of hard rock that had helped them achieve commercial success with Destroyer and Love Gun given that 1979's disco-inspired album Dynasty had started a sharp decline that bottomed out with 1981's Music from the Elder. By 1982 Kiss knew it needed to deliver on their earlier 1980-81 promise of a heavy record, which they had failed to deliver, if they were to continue as a band.
The first key ingredient was songwriter/guitarist Vincent Cusano, with whom the band had recently begun writing and recording, and was soon to replace Ace Frehley as the band's new lead guitarist. Frehley didn't perform on Creatures even though his face (for contractual reasons) was still featured on the album cover; thus this was Vinnie Vincent's first album with the band. On the tour, Vincent was introduced with Ankh warrior makeup. (The band later re-released the album in their non-makeup era with a cover featuring Gene Simmons, Eric Carr, Paul Stanley, and their then current guitarist Bruce Kulick.)
Some of the earliest pressings of the album mistakenly contained one full side of John Cougar's American Fool. Both Kiss and Cougar were under the umbrella of Mercury Records at the time. Today, those mistake albums are highly sought after by Kiss collectors.
Kiss eventually incorporated "I Love It Loud", "Creatures of the Night", "I Still Love You", and "War Machine" into permanent rotation on their various tours, particularly during the tour for Revenge in 1992 out of which came Alive III.
By 1982, Kiss' popularity in the U.S. had plummeted. This was due partly to the changing landscape of popular music, but also due to the fact that Kiss had strayed from the hard rock style that had made them popular in the first place. 1979's Dynasty, while commercially successful, alienated many fans with the disco-flavored track "I Was Made For Lovin' You". 1980's Unmasked fell still further into the 'pop' category and was their first not to achieve platinum status since 1975's Dressed to Kill. The band did not even tour the US behind the album, and was soon faced with its first lineup change - founding member Peter Criss, who had not participated in any of the Unmasked recording sessions, officially left Kiss in 1980. He was replaced by Eric Carr, a drummer much more in the mold of John Bonham than Criss.
Fan hopes were raised in late 1980 when Kiss announced that they were going to record their heaviest record yet. Instead, however, the band released Music From "The Elder" in late 1981, a concept album originally intended to complement a movie called The Elder that was ultimately never filmed. The album was storyline-based and had ballads, a short orchestral piece, and lyrical themes more in common with bands like Rush and Yes than with Kiss. The album failed to achieve gold status and, having cancelled their United States Unmasked tour just a short time before, the band cancelled their planned tour for Elder. Furthermore, original member Ace Frehley soon left the band, expressing his displeasure over the path the band had chosen and having begun to drift into heavy alcoholism.
Kiss' label situation had changed as well. Casablanca Records founder Neil Bogart had sold the label to its distributor, PolyGram, and went on to briefly form The Boardwalk Recording Company before being diagnosed with (and later succumbing to) cancer. Using a clause in their Casablanca contract that gave the band an option to leave the label if Bogart did, Kiss became free agents and signed a multi-million-dollar deal with Mercury Records. Ironically, Mercury - a label also owned by PolyGram - reverted the band back to their "old" label, though in name only.
Before working on the album, Eddie Van Halen, who by then was not getting along with his bandmate in Van Halen, David Lee Roth, wanted to join the band, replacing Frehley on guitar. Simmons and Alex Van Halen persuaded Eddie to remain in Van Halen.
When recording sessions for Creatures of the Night began in July 1982, Kiss was essentially a trio. Frehley still made appearances with the band but had ended his musical involvement with Kiss. Frehley looked completely out of sorts in promotional appearances for the album — in cases where the band was lip synching to recorded tracks, it is obvious that he did not know the material. It was only after the album was released and a short tour of Europe was completed that Frehley officially left Kiss. The lead-guitar replacement for Frehley for the Creatures tour in the U.S. was Cusano, who by then had taken the stage name of Vinnie Vincent and adopted "Ankh Warrior" makeup.
Musically, Creatures of the Night was the band's heaviest recording since Love Gun in 1977, and was matched later only by Revenge in 1992 and Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions in 1997. The progressive rock stylings of Music From "The Elder" and the pop of Dynasty and Unmasked were completely absent from Creatures of the Night – which was, of course, the point. "I Still Love You", the only ballad on Creatures, was still heavier and darker than any ballad Kiss had released in earlier years. The production values contributed to the heaviness - in particular, the drum sound was louder and heavier than on any previous Kiss album.
Creatures of the Night is the first Kiss album to have all lead vocal duties handled by either Gene Simmons or Paul Stanley exclusively. All previous studio releases, solo albums notwithstanding, contained at least one song with lead vocals by another band member.
The band released a video for "I Love It Loud", which received moderate airplay on MTV. In it was a stage setup that featured Eric Carr's drum kit as a giant, metallic tank (with an exploding turret). Flames and explosions were also in abundance, as Kiss attempted to produce a video that reflected the music on Creatures of the Night. Although Frehley had not played on the album, he did appear in the video as the rhythm guitarist, with Stanley shown playing the seven-note solo.
Despite positive reviews, Creatures of the Night did not return the band to the commercial standing they had held five years previous. Although the album charted higher than The Elder (#45 compared to The Elders #75), it would not attain 'Gold' status until 1994. Even more dramatically, the US tour that followed, the band's first since Dynasty, was essentially a flop – cancelled shows and, at-best, half-full arenas were the rule, not the exception. In later years, Kiss fans and researchers have come to regard Creatures of the Night as one of the band's best albums, matched only by 1976's Destroyer. However, it is clear that multiple shifts in the band's lineup, image and musical styles from 1979 through 1981 had done severe damage. As a result, though musically rich, Creatures of the Night is still one of the major commercial disappointments for Kiss.
Three different covers of this album exist: the 1982 original issue, the 1985 reissue (featuring Bruce Kulick, who was not a member of the band for 'Creatures of the night' and the rest of the band without makeup), and the 1997 remastered version (same photo as the original, but with minor variations in the logo and lettering). However the differences do not end there. The ending of the song Creatures of the Night is more abrupt on the 1985 non-make up release and two songs are interchanged from side to side, Saint and Sinner and Killer.
There is also a bootlegged LP which shows up on ebay from time to time which states to be a Brazilian Promo version with Vinnie Vincent in makeup airbrushed over Ace Frehley. Initially this copy fetched upwards of several thousands dollars but it is nothing more than a common bootleg and people should be wary of spending outlandish amounts on it.
|1982||UK Albums Chart||22|
Singles - Austrian charts (Austria)
|1982||"I Love It Loud"||Pop Singles||76|
Singles - UK Albums Chart (United Kingdom)
|1982||"Creatures of the Night"||Pop Singles||34|