At its molten heart, Rock music should be a very simple beating beast indeed. It should inspire and excite, yes, but it doesn’t need complicated rhythms, progressive tendencies, cerebral lyrics, analysis, politics or a whole plethora of interesting and additional ingredients to be successful or do what it sets out to do. And that is to, unequivocally, “Rock”.
And Teutonic quintet Kissin’ Dynamite, on their sixth full-length album despite only being in their mid-twenties, are becoming most excellent at rocking hard and Hard Rocking, it has to be said.
Like a heady, exhilarating mix of Keep The Faith (Mercury), The Ultimate Sin (Epic), the best bits of Pink Bubbles Go Ape, Life Thru A Lens (both EMI), Edguy, and a whole lot more, Ecstasy (Metal Blade/Sony/Columbia) is a fantastic, relentless hit factory of absolute bangers. I kid you not. It’s impossible to keep your mouth to just a grin by the end of track three, the wild Warrant stomp of ‘Somebody’s Gotta Do It’; the smile is wide, jubilant, unstrained, and ear to ear. Woe-betide he or she who heads out on the highway on a sunny day with this slew of uptempo Rock hits a-blasting on the stereo, because speed limits be damned, arms are out the window with fists clenched and pumping and voices are raised in unison with Hannes Braun, whose midrange tone calls to mind a cross between two legends Jon Bon Jovi and Michael Kiske, to the many, many massive choruses.
And there are so many colossal choruses– every one of the thirteen songs has a chorus that would blow the roof off an aircraft hanger, putting a torch to the quality/quantity debate by providing both at every turn. While highlights do include the reckless abandon of the title track, enhanced by Anna Brunner of Exit Eden providing a playful foil to Braun, it is unfair to pick favourites out of this pack of baying wolves.
While the band’s roots are firmly in the late eighties and early nineties stadium and arena rock – of mountaintop, tassel-jacketed guitar solos, of breaking it down to bass, drums and a stadium hollering back a “woah-oh-oh” – the album doesn’t for one second sound tired, pastiche, or dated, with Braun’s excellent production keeping matters powerful, polished yet still dynamic, framing Ecstasy as an utterly joyous playbook of Hard Rock just the way it should be.
So, surely there must be some flaws? Well, I can think of two… the album cover is woeful, and thirteen songs is maybe a touch too much, but when you’re having this much fun, why hold back? I’ve tried to find a cynical take on this album. I’ve tried to underplay it’s qualities to myself, but when you’re confronted with an anthem like ‘You’re Not Alone’, a stomper like ‘Placebo’ where Braun borrows from the Draiman book of chorus-construction and delivery, or the hearty singalong of ‘Waging War, doubts and scepticisms be damned, to be honest.
For that is the underlying delight and headrush that Ecstasy brings: six albums and more than ten years in, Kissin’ Dynamite still sounds like they love every second of being a rock band, and a most excellent one at that. And long may that continue.