Am I the only one that is tired of not only Ace Frehley, but all members of Kiss past and present? Since they were nominated for the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF CORPORATE, it has been a steady stream of nonsense, bickering, anger, hurt feelings and now emotional trauma. It's over already. Get over it. It's 2014. Kiss is Gene, Paul, Tommy and Eric. It's not Gene, Paul, Ace and Peter, no matter how much you want it to be. Gene Simmons is the owner and ruler of Kiss, and as far as he's concerned, those of you that are still whining for a reunion can jump off the same bridge as those 20 year olds from Seattle that are depressed and threatening to end their lives. That said, Frehley has returned with SPACE INVADER, his first release the the below average ANOMALY from 2009. While not expecting much, SPACE INVADER has done well to surprise me. This is a damn good release, arguably the best Ace has done solo or with his other projects (ie: Frehley's Comet).
In a lot of the press, Frehley has said that he "out-Kissed Kiss" with SPACE INVADER. That's an interesting take. I will say this, he's created a release full of strong Ace songs that would have fit well on the albums of the past. These are very strong songs for Ace where his playing is stronger than it's been in decades. Listening to a song like "Gimme A Feelin'", it's clear that Frehley is channelling the glory days of the first decade of Kisstory. In fact, his guitar solo on this tune is very influenced by some of his best stuff of the past. Other stuff, like "I Wanna Hold You" is heavily influenced by what would have been considered heavy metal in the 70s, with a strong vibe seemingly ripped from bands like The Sweet. Throughout it all, Frehley's guitar playing is as strong as he's played in a very long time. Maybe it's ego, or maybe he's just decided to take things in a heavier direction, but whatever it is, Frehley is playing decidedly heavier than on anything he's ever done here. I'm talking a LOT heavier. Songs like "Change" are almost Black Sabbath-like heavy, something new and refreshing for the Spaceman.
Vocally, Frehley has always had a voice that you either like or you don't. For me, I don't and have always found him to sound like he's a little bit drunk. That said, that's just always been my take on his laid back, somewhat sloppy vocal presentation. I know for others, they generally love it. For better or worse, Ace's vocals are pure Ace. He belts it out on the fun "What Every Girl Wants", which definitely lives up to his claim of "out-Kissing Kiss". This is a song he should have brought to PSYCHO CIRCUS 16 years ago (wow, has it REALLY been that long?). While no one will ever claim SPACE INVADER as a lyrical masterpiece (listen to the title track for all the proof of that you'll need), it's a strong release that most Kiss fans will like.
PITRIFF RATING - 86/100 - Without question, this is the best Ace Frehley release of his career. It's not even a close competition, really. The lyrics are a touch dumb, but the presentation is great and the guitars are the best he's ever done outside of Kiss. To quote the man himself, "Ace is back and he told you so". Indeed.