Hotter than Hell (album)

Hotter than Hell is the second studio album by American hard rock band Kiss, released on October 22, 1974, by Casablanca Records. It was certified gold on June 23, 1977, having shipped 500,000 copies.[2] The album was re-released in 1997 in a remastered version. It peaked on the Billboard 200 charts at No. 100,[3] without the benefit of a hit single. Many of the album's songs are live staples for the band, including "Parasite", "Hotter than Hell", "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll", and "Watchin' You".

Hotter than Hell
Cover hth large.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 22, 1974 (1974-10-22)
RecordedAugust 1974
StudioThe Village, Los Angeles
ProducerKenny Kerner, Richie Wise
Kiss chronology
Hotter than Hell
Dressed to Kill
Singles from Hotter than Hell
  1. "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll"
    Released: October 22, 1974

Composition and recordingEdit

The production team of Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise, who had produced the group's first album, was again chosen for the follow-up. The pair had just relocated to Los Angeles, and Kiss made the trek to the west coast to commence recording, the first the band had done outside their native state of New York. The band members, all hailing from New York City, immediately developed a dislike for their new surroundings. Paul Stanley's guitar was stolen on his first day in Los Angeles. The working title for the album was The Harder They Come.[4]

Formally, Hotter than Hell is darker than the band's first album.[5] This is partly due to the murkier production values, but also the lyrical content of some of the songs. "Goin' Blind", which details a doomed romance between a 93-year-old and a 16-year-old girl, was a song written by Simmons and Stephen Coronel during their days with Wicked Lester. The original title was "Little Lady", and the song's original second verse lyric, revived by Simmons for their MTV Unplugged appearance, suggests that the song's narrator is a sea captain addressing a mermaid.

Although the album featured two songs composed and one song co-composed by lead guitarist Ace Frehley, he did not sing on any of them; his lack of confidence in his singing abilities at that time led to Frehley delegating lead vocal duties to other members of the band, with "Parasite" and "Strange Ways" going to Gene Simmons and Peter Criss, respectively. Frehley's guitar solo on "Strange Ways" has been referred to as one of his best.[5]

Hotter than Hell featured many 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.

In an interview with Songfacts' Greg Prato in 2013, Richie Wise shouldered the blame for the album's sub-par sonics. "For whatever reason, moving to California, my head wasn't in the right place. It was more of a chore than it was out of love, that album. And my heart and soul didn't get there. I don't remember having any breathing time. It was just too much exhale. It wasn't enough [to] inhale/exhale. Not enough give and take. I was going through a bunch of changes at that time. I moved from New York to California. I'd never moved like that in my life, made a big move. It was just a big time for me, and Hotter than Hell took a back seat. And I apologize for that."[6]

Cover artEdit

The album is well known for its striking cover designed by John Van Hamersveld. 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.

The Japanese character on the bottom of the album cover () 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.[4] The Japanese characters on the top-right corner of the album cover (地獄 の さけび) are Jigoku no Sakebi, which means "shout/scream of hell" or "hell's shout/scream". The Japanese katakana characters used for each member had transliteration errors. The characters for Peter Criss are ピータ・クリース ("pita kurīsu" or Pita Creese or Crease) when it should have been ピーター・クリス pītā kurisu. Paul Stanley's last name was incorrectly transliterated as スタンリィ ("sutanryi" or stanlii) when it should have been スタンレー sutanrē. Gene Simmons' first name is incorrectly spelled ジイン ("jiin" or jeen or jean) when it should have been ジーン jīn, and finally Ace Frehley's first and last name were spelled エイス フューリ (eisu fyūri or roughly Aace Fury or Fuely) when the characters should have been エース・フレーリー (ēsu furērī).

Release and receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [5]
Blender     [7]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal8/10[8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [9]
The New Rolling Stone Album Guide     [11]

Despite the intense touring schedule Kiss maintained in 1974, Hotter than Hell failed to outperform the band's first album and fared considerably worse. This was due partly to the fact that Casablanca's distribution deal with Warner Bros. Records had ended. The publicity push behind the album was not nearly as strong as it had been for the debut album. One notable exception was a television commercial aired to promote the album. The only single released from the album, "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll", was distributed in low numbers and failed to chart. Four months after the album was released, Kiss was pulled off of the tour and called back into the studio to record a follow-up.[5] Hotter than Hell was certified gold on June 23, 1977.[2]

Track listingEdit

All credits adapted from the original release.[12]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Got to Choose"Paul StanleyStanley3:54
2."Parasite"Ace FrehleyGene Simmons3:01
3."Goin' Blind"Simmons, Stephen CoronelSimmons3:36
4."Hotter than Hell"StanleyStanley3:31
5."Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll"Simmons, StanleySimmons2:14
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."All the Way"SimmonsSimmons3:18
2."Watchin' You"SimmonsSimmons3:43
3."Mainline"StanleyPeter Criss3:50
4."Comin' Home"Frehley, StanleyStanley2:37
5."Strange Ways"FrehleyCriss3:18




Chart (1974-1976) Peak
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[13] 98
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[14] 91
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[15] 46
US Billboard 200[16] 100


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[2] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Release historyEdit


  1. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo (August 2, 2016). "Kiss Albums Ranked". Loudwire. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "American album certifications – Kiss – Hotter than Hell". Recording Industry Association of America.
  3. ^ "Kiss Charts & Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on June 4, 2012. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Hotter Than Hell". KISS Discography 1971–1975. Interesting Facts. Archived from the original on February 3, 2003. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d Prato, Greg. "Kiss - Hotter Than Hell review". AllMusic. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  6. ^ Prato, Greg (May 24, 2013). "Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust)". Songfacts. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  7. ^ Blender review[dead link]
  8. ^ Popoff, Martin (October 2003). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 1: The Seventies. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 161. ISBN 978-1894959025.
  9. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. p. 176. ISBN 978-0-857-12595-8.
  10. ^ Josephes, Jason. "Kiss: Hotter Than Hell". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on February 19, 2003.
  11. ^ "Kiss: Album Guide". Archived from the original on December 4, 2013. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  12. ^ Kiss (1974). Hotter than Hell (LP Sleeve). Los Angeles, California: Casablanca Records. NBLP 7006.
  13. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  14. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 3907b". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  15. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005 (in Japanese). Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  16. ^ "Kiss Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 2 April 2019.

External linksEdit