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“10,000 Volts” packs a major punch

(Photo courtesy of: Sheldon Ang Media) “Ace Frehley releases his new solo album after “KISS” retires.”

Tyler Browne
Connector Editor

While rock legends “KISS” may have retired in December, that hasn’t stopped the group’s former members from continuing to make new music. Founding guitarist Ace Frehley, who left the group for the second and final time in 2002, released his brand-new solo album, “10,000 Volts” on Feb. 23.

“10,000 Volts” is some of the strongest material Frehley has ever released. Frehley’s guitar playing is as superb as ever, and his voice is the strongest it has ever been.

The album opens with the title track. “10,000 Volts” features superb guitar playing and vocals from Frehley, as well as a pair of easter eggs for longtime fans.

The number 10,000 in the title is a sly reference to the fact that this is Frehley’s 10th solo album, while the lyrics are a callback to “Shock Me”, which was Frehley’s signature song in KISS.

“Walkin’ on the Moon” was the album’s second single, and it is a slower-tempo track about how his girlfriend makes him feel like an astronaut. Space travel is a frequent motif in Frehley’s lyrics, as he was referred to as the “Spaceman” while in KISS.

Perhaps the best song on the album is “Cosmic Heart”, which sees Frehley reflecting on his long career in the music industry. He looks back on meeting members of royalty and traveling across the world. Frehley is very reflective of how he gave into his vices during the early years of his career, but his “cosmic heart” will not break and let him give in again.

Perhaps the most striking element of “10,000 Volts”, besides Frehley’s superb guitar work, is the drums. For this album, Frehley returned to an old friend.

Anton Fig is best known for his tenure as the drummer for Dave Letterman’s band during his time with both NBC and CBS. However, Fig got his start as the drummer on Frehley’s self-titled solo debut in 1978, before serving as an uncredited session drummer on two KISS albums and then playing in Frehley’s post-KISS group, Frehley’s Comet.

Fig’s drumming is best exemplified on “Up in the Sky”, where he creates a strong beat around Frehley’s riffing.

Despite his reputation as a hard-rocking guitar hero, one of the best songs on the album is the power ballad, “Back Into My Arms Again”. The musicianship of Frehley and his band is extremely strong on the track, while Frehley sings the lyrics with intense passion.

Frehley has never been the world’s greatest singer, but his vocals on this album are extremely impressive. He doesn’t try to hide his trademark New York accent, and this makes the songs feel warmer and more genuine. Frehley’s lyrics are extremely reflective throughout, and it almost feels like his is allowing his audience into his most private thoughts.

The only song that doesn’t quite hit the mark is “Constantly Cute”. The track is essentially an updated version of the early KISS hit, “Strutter”. In the original track, frontman Paul Stanley laments over a popular girl who doesn’t have time for him, and this is the case on Frehley’s track as well.

However, Frehley saves face with the following track, “Life of a Stranger”. The song is driven by an organ and guitar, and almost sounds like a lost Beatles song.

Overall, “10,000 Volts” is an incredibly strong effort, proving that, even in his seventies, Ace Frehley still knows how to make incredible music.

Final grade: A

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