Kissin’ Dynamite – Ecstasy (Metal Blade Records)Wednesday, 11th July 2018
Determined to establish their brand of melodic metal/hard rock to every market possible, Kissin’ Dynamite starts anew with Metal Blade for most territories (Sony Music for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) for their sixth studio album Ecstasy. Long-timers have watched the five-piece who have stayed the course since their teenage years without a lineup change – a rarity in today’s ever-changing work/life/career see-saw landscape – develop from more metallic roots on say efforts like Addicted to Metal and Money, Sex & Power to a definite pop/hook side to the songwriting as of late on Megalomania and their last studio platter Generation Goodbye. It shouldn’t be surprising then that these 13 songs shift even more to that commercial side of things, while hopefully not dissuading those already converted to stay along.
Big, larger-than-life chorus hooks and equally catchy guitar refrains take command – a la Def Leppard or the Sunset Strip era – making it hard pressed not to sing along to “You’re Not Alone” or “One More Time”. Exit Eden’s Anna Brunner lends her aggressive rock range to a spirited, up-tempo title track that adds this Doro/Leather Leone edge for vocalist Hannes Braun to volley and thrust about, a sure-fire anthem that hopefully becomes a standard for KD in live sets to follow. There are numbers where the guitar action gets a bit heavier to remind people that the band can still bring the metal when they want – check out “Superhuman” and the U.D.O.-oriented “Breaking the Silence” in this regard. Proper understanding of dynamics keeps interest on high from first song to last – it’s the subtle shifts in say a talk box, tempo shuffle for “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” or the layering of acoustic guitars against bluesy lead electric work during the ballad “Heart of Stone” that never make Ecstasy stagnant or monotonous. Instead of using computer-enhanced graphics for the cover, the band choose to just keep things simple with a young lady in a seductive pose.
While this style of metal fell off the US landscape when grunge infiltrated MTV in 1991-1995, Europe and other parts of the world still love it. And there’s no reason why this market can’t again feel good about melodic metal – as Kissin’ Dynamite represent one of the best young bands returning to that 80’s stadium mentality by executing new songs and solid performances.