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Hotter Than Hell (1974) is the second album from the rock group Kiss. It was certified Gold on June 23, 1977, having sold 500,000 copies.
Move to Los Angeles
The production team of Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise, who had produced the group's first album, was chosen for the follow up. Since the pair had relocated to Los Angeles, Kiss flew there to work with them. The band, all native New Yorkers, immediately developed a dislike for their new surroundings. Paul Stanley's guitar was stolen his first day in Los Angeles.
The working title for the album was The Harder They Come [Circus Magazine September 1, 1974]
Musically, Hotter Than Hell is darker than the band's first album. This is partly due to the murkier production values, but also to the lyrical content of some of the songs. "Goin' Blind," which details a doomed romance with a 93-year-old and an underage girl, was a song written by Gene Simmons and Stephen Coronel during Wicked Lester's existence. The original title was "Little Lady."
Hotter Than Hell featured far more overdubs than the first album. While Kerner and Wise wanted to produce a record that captured Kiss as a live act, they decided to take advantage of the experience the band had gained as recording artists.
Although the album featured two songs penned solely by Frehley, he did not sing on either one of them. His lack of confidence in his singing abilities at the time led to lead vocal duties for "Parasite" and "Strange Ways" going to Gene Simmons and Peter Criss, respectively. Frehley's guitar solos in "Strange Ways" has been called one of his best.
The album is also known for its striking cover: the front featured Japanese manga-influenced artwork, and the back cover showed individual band shots taken by Norman Seeff at a wild party, and a composite of all four band members' makeup designs. Everyone present at the session (with the exception of Simmons) was drunk for the entire photography session. Stanley was so drunk he had to be locked in his car. Paul's drunken state can easily be seen on the album's front cover as it appears Peter Criss is holding him up while Paul holds onto Peter's leg.
The Japanese character on the bottom of the album cover (力) is chikara, which means "power." It would later be used on various forms of Kiss material during the 1970s and 1980s, most prominently on Eric Carr's drum kit.
The Japanese on the top-right corner of the album cover (地獄 の さけび) is jigoku no sakebi, which means "Hell's shout" or "The shout of hell."
Ace Frehley's image on the front cover is actually airbrushed, as a side of his face was injured in a car accident and was without makeup on the afflicted area at the time of the photo shoot. Also, the Japanese characters used for Ace's name pronounces it wrong. The characters are エイス フューリ (eisu fyuuri), which would translate to "Ace Fury." The characters should have been エイス フリーリ (eisu furiiri).
01. Got to Choose
03. Goin' Blind
04. Hotter Than Hell
05. Let Me Go, Rock 'N Roll
06. All the Way
07. Watchin' You
09. Comin' Home
10. Strange Ways