Loved and loathed in equal measure by the KISS Army brigade is KISS’s first album of the 80’s. Heralded by some as an underrated classic but by others yet another KISS by the numbers album. ‘’Unmasked’’ was my first introduction into the overtop world of the Starchild, The Demon, The Cat and Space Ace Frehley. It was also the first counterfeit cassette album I ever got – I think it came from Dubai or some such place – so it was given a fair amount of air time all those years ago.
To tell you the truth it’s not a bad as you’d think. Sure there is some absolute dross on it. ‘’Shandi’’ for one ‘’Torpedo Girl’’ for another and ‘’Naked City’’ sound outdated and jaded. But catchy KISS anthems such as ‘’Is That You’’, Talk To Me’’, ‘’Two Sides Of The Coin’’ and the driving chorus on ‘’What Makes The World Go ‘Round’’ certainly raise ‘’Unmasked’’ up a couple of notches. However compared to say ‘’Destroyer’’ this is KISS goes Pop with an occasional break away into Hard Rock. What ‘’Unmasked’’ lacks is that mysticism and escapism that previous KISS albums had in abundance.
Here you have four guys who look like they live Halloween 24/7 yet they turn out a standard Rock album with no surprises completely lacking in imagination and vitality. A case of being tricked rather than treated. Apparently The Cat left the band midway through the recording but you’d never notice and they got another guy in. And to cap it all off they don’t unmask. Well they do and they don’t. (Online August 27, 2005)