Kiss Alive! As you know, I am enamored with DLA's, so here we have Kiss Alive! in two parts. I give it a high rating - just based on the cover. Alive! is their fourth album. I would say a 4th or perhaps as late as a 5th album is about the correct time for a band to come out with their DLA. The band is trending upwards, their material is fresh, and the band would be breaking out of a region, about to go National. [See Seger, REO, and Skynyrd.] Typically, any time a band has ever tried to do a second DLA (around 9th or 10th record) it is usually weak and was released to to appease a record company or to get out of a multi-album contract. [See Seger, REO, and Skynyrd.] But Kiss Alive! is considered to be their breakthrough and some even call it a "landmark" for live albums. (see below). Released in September 1975, the two-disc set contains versions of songs from their first three studio albums, Kiss, Hotter Than Hell and Dressed to Kill. It was recorded from material at concerts in Detroit, Wildwood, New Jersey, Cleveland, and Davenport.
Alive! received positive reviews and sold over 9,000,000 units, making it Kiss' (to date) best selling album and one of the biggest selling albums of the 1970s. Greg Prato of Allmusic gave the album four-and-a-half stars out of five and stated that "Alive! remains Kiss' greatest album ever." Kiss fans - chime in here. Erik Rupp from Vista Records gives Alive! five out of five stars. He stated that the album "never lets up" and that "KISS sounds like a freight train roaring down the tracks at top speed." Robert Christgau gave the album a B-minus, stating that he and "the multimillion kids who are buying it" "fall into neither category" of those who regard the album "as a de facto best-of" and "those who regard it as the sludge." In The New Rolling Stone Album Guide, the album was rated four out of five stars. It was called "a nonstop Kiss-krieg of two-note guitar motifs, fake-sounding audience noise, (more on that in post part two) and inspirational chitchat," but it was then restated as the next best thing to being there. Jason Josephes of Pitchfork Media rated it 10 out of 10 points and said that "the album may seem like a joke, mainly because it contains every arena rock cliche in the book," but called it "total sonic proof of Kiss climbing their apex." Not surprisingly, it did not register any (one?) mentions over on my Linkedin group of 600-plus vinyl record collectors when asked to list their all-time top five DLA's.