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| 22 February 2024 | Reply

Label: MNRK Heavy

Release Date: February 23, 2024

Rating: 95%

Reviewer: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

It’s no secret to ANYONE who knows me that I am a huge KISS fan.  There isn’t much the band does that I don’t dig, and this carries to former lead guitarist Ace Frehley who is releasing his 10th solo album featuring a bunch of new great songs and even an older demo that he finally polished and released.  Disc opener and title track “10,000 Volts” comes at you from the moment it starts and features the vocals we have all come to know over the decades of listening to Ace since he debuted his recorded lead vocals in 1977.  The guitar work is a cool modern twist on classic Frehley and features a solo on the bridge that harkens back to the days of his classic riffs and leads.  “Walkin’ On The Moon” follows and gives us a one-two punch of 2024 Ace and his sound.  There are some hints of co-writers and band members on the song, but the vibe of the track is classic Frehley, especially the solo and fret work (not to mention the astral reference in the title).  This pairs well with any track on the disc.  “Cherry Medicine” is easily my favorite track on the disc.  The vocals and guitars swirl perfectly together in the mix and are balanced by the bottom end.  The vocal is classic Ace featuring his Bronx-tinted accent and attitude.  The lyrics are catchy and the chorus is contagious as hell.  This should have bene the lead single as it has all the different things Ace is known for without sounding overdone or rehashed, especially the solo that is 100% Frehley new and old.  “Fightin’ For Life” is another rocker that keeps the energy up, the air guitar flowing, and the rock levels high.  While nothing out of the ordinary, it adds to the hard rock overtone of the disc and should be a cool track if Frehley ever adds it to a live setlist.  “Constantly Cute” is another song on the disc that has nuances of Ace woven between a modern rocker that show him keeping things fresh and different.  The lyrics are typical Frehley, but the layered vocals add punch to the track and a bit of depth leading into the chorus.  The song has a poppier feel than most of the songs here, but it stays in the vein of the disc.  Disc closer and instrumental “Stratosphere” is Ace’s signature all these years later.  He still finds ways to add new, pay homage to the old, and marry the two perfectly.

“Cosmic Heart” unfolds with a chunkier sound and overall vibe not typical in Ace’s songs, but it fits the mood of the record giving us a different sound from him as a singer and player, while giving him another approach that allows him to keep things from becoming overdone.  The chugging riff and bottom end from the rhythm section carry this track.  “Back Into My Arms Again” will sound familiar to fans that dug into his archives and all the various demos that were released in one format or another back in the day.  While slightly different and polished to drop amongst the rest of the songs on this disc.  This ‘balladish’ track is a cool shift from the guitar driven rockers that are typical of Ace.  “Blinded” is a different song in its construct, as it seems the same but also different.  The underlying vibe of the song creates an earworm that runs around inside your head long after the song has ended.  While not a favorite on the disc, there is something about the vocals and guitars that keeps you listening each time the song plays through.  “Life Of A Stranger” is the most bluesy track on the disc and it made me take another look at Ace’s catalog looking for more of the same.  I love the solid guitar that carries the track through the verses and chorus without turning into a fretboard frenzy or series of riff runs for solo sake.  The mild infusions during the transitions are perfect and dot the musical landscape beautifully.  This song will stand the time against most of the other tracks in this collection (but for the amazing rocker “Cherry Medicine”).  “Up In The Sky” is the final track with vocals before Frehley closes out yet another album with an instrumental.  This is the only track clocking in over 4:00, but it doesn’t seem like it.  The riffs are cool, fills are fun, the bass lines and drums are cool, and the guitar transitions between verses, choruses, and bridges are perfect and allow Ace to do what he does best.  Now to get a tour pulled together so we can all witness some of these songs live and see how they mesh with the KISS and solo classics.

Tracklisting: 10,000 Volts – Walkin’ On The Moon – Cosmic Heart – Cherry Medicine – Back Into My Arms Again – Fightin’ For Life – Blinded – Constantly Cute – Life Of A Stranger – Up In The Sky – Stratosphere







Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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