With the latter pursuing acting and business projects it was left to Stanley to pick up the pieces and produce a record that pushed the band further towards a pop rock sound.
Two million-plus sales down the line and it would be unfair to label Animalize a dud. In fact, with lead single Heaven’s On Fire (co-written by Stanley and hitmaker Desmond Child) drawing in the non-rock community there’s an argument that this divisive album kept Kiss relevant at the dawn of MTV dominance.
However, Simmons’ apparent apathy coupled with Mark St John’s brief spell as lead guitarist meant there was less of a band feel to a record too slick for its own good.
Simmons’ Burn Bitch Burn and Lonely Is The Hunter are hardly highlights when considering the bass-playing singer’s bulging back catalogue but Under The Gun remains a lost classic.
That the album charted inside the US Top 20 and nudged the UK Top 10 was a triumph for Stanley at a time when he was struggling to keep Kiss together but the band’s die-hards insist it ushered in an era of average mid-80s fare.
Animalize full tracklisting:
1. I’ve Had Enough (Into The Fire)
2. Heaven’s On Fire
3. Burn Bitch Burn
4. Get All You Can Take
5. Lonely Is The Hunter
6. Under The Gun
7. Thrills In The Night
8. While The City Sleeps
9. Murder In High Heels
* Kiss 40 – celebrating 40 years of the band – is out now and features the studio version of Heaven’s On Fire. Check it out here.
* Animalize is available as a 180g heavyweight vinyl reissue. For details click here.
I’m a journalist specialising in sport and rock music. Can’t play either so I write about them instead.