Album review: ACE FREHLEY – Space Invader

Ace Frehley - Space Invader

Steamhammer/SPV [Release date 18.08.14]

The former (and founder) Kiss guitarist’s (and occasional bassist) new album is long overdue and very welcome – it’s a complete blast and from the opening crash a solid breath of fresh air.

Frehley’s fifth solo album (a live set and a couple of comps aside) follows on nicely from 2009′s Anomaly and features some solid beefy production; while it’s a much heavier sound than the 80s work (Trouble Walking has always been a personal favourite), the riffs and solos are as blistering as ever, the vocals distinctive.

From the first time I ever saw Frehley live, at his one-off Hammersmith solo show in the late 80s, I’ve always thought his solo work far better than Kiss have ever done without him, and this album from the outset goes a long way to justify that belief.

The title track opens and plays on his Space Ace nickname, and features a damn fine solo too.

‘Gimme A Feelin” nods back to 70s Kiss in quite uplifting fashion, while ‘I Wanna Hold You’ is more sleazy rock’n'roll. Then ‘Change’ is slower, bigger, a big number to sing along to.  And the cover of ‘The Joker’ is guaranteed to make you smile.

Without going through every track individually, the overall feel is just WOW. Ace dips into Kiss territory, whether by riff or solo, and then escapes and lets rip, set free. The guitar work is layered and beautifully built, solid and it makes you think just how good Kiss could have been if they’d done something like this.

Proof that Frehley is one of the most underrated and influential metal guitarists around, and he’s still going strong. One of the albums of 2014. Yes, I think so.  ****1/2
 
Review by Joe Geesin


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