So here we have yet another Kiss tribute album. But this one’s different.
While a majority of Kiss tributes sound disjointed and mishmash – even the official Kiss This sounds pieced together – this one is cohesive and measured.
Usually a Kiss tribute album is compiled from different source materials – all varying in quality and sonics. Which results in uneven flow.
They never quite sound like songs that belong together.
Collaborating locally and remotely, Buffalo Rock City was carefully crafted. They took the time to ensure the final product would sound like a complete album of work. And not just tracks that were digitally flown in.
To create a solid sonic foundation, all the drum and bed tracks were recorded in the same studio on the same day.
Buffalo Rock City presents hits and B-sides from the expansive Kiss catalog. Ranging from the Kiss debut to their last studio album Monster (can you believe it was recorded eight years ago?), this Kiss tribute album contains some fan-favorite deep cuts (“It’s My Life,” “Back on the Streets”) and a few common choices (“Detroit Rock City,” “Black Diamond”).
Thankfully nobody attempted “Lick It Up” or “Rock n Roll All Nite.”
Buffalo Rock City is performed by some of the “best of the best” musicians found in Western New York.
Famed hot sauce maker and sometime guitarist (just kidding – but LOVE the hot sauce) Bumblefoot of Guns n Roses and Sons of Apollo fame appears on “Black Diamond” alongside Deen Castronovo (Journey, Bad English, Dead Daisies).
Along with being a superior drummer, Deen is also an outstanding singer. He sang several difficult-to-perform Journey songs live during his tenure. He is just a good as Steve Perry himself.
Deen sings “Black Diamond” on Buffalo Rock City
Deen sings “Mother, Father” with Journey
Deen sings Journey’s “Patiently | Trial By Fire | Stay A While ” in a medley
Also contributing a nice version of Carnival of Souls’ “Jungle” is DoDriver. They’re a local all original act previously handpicked by Doc McGhee and other Kiss members to open for the band at the Darien Lake show during the Sonic Boom tour.
Another interesting Kiss tribute album selection is “While the City Sleeps.” Featured on the 80’s release Animalize, it’s sung by co-author Mitch Weissman – probably best known for his role in Beatlemania.
Opening fiercely with another Animalize song “I’ve Had Enough (Into the Fire),” and then following up with the awesome Vinnie Vincent Invasion tune “Back on The Streets,” Buffalo Rock City doesn’t pull its punches. That’s for sure!
Other fun listens include Dynasty’s “Hard Times” and previously mentioned Wendy O Williams’ track “It’s My Life.”
Appearing initially on the punk goddess’ hard rock album WoW, it most recently appeared on the extravagant Kiss box set (released in 2001).
It would be a real treat if Kiss ever played it live.
“It’s My Life” is a duet that starts with a familiar-sounding female vocal. While I first thought they included Wendy’s original vocal, I can’t help to think that it sounds pretty close to the one and only Joan Jett.
Our precious Joan is not credited on this Kiss tribute album project. So, if it’s her – that will remain to be seen.
Buffalo Rock City – “It’s My Life”
Wendy O Williams – “It’s My Life”
Just a quick mention - scroll past for rest of review.
Thanks! Carry on!
Buffalo Rock City was released on December 15 in physical CD, digital and streaming media formats.
The recording’s proceeds are geared to help the Compass House Foundation – a charitable organization that helps homeless youth in Buffalo.
Put together by lifelong Kiss fan and tribute band KISS THIS! founder/ guitarist John Jeffrey, Buffalo Rock City was mastered by Jay Messina.
Messina‘s connection with Kiss goes back to 1976, as he engineered/mixed the breakout album Destroyer. He continued on with Kiss to engineer and mix the 1979 release Dynasty. He also co-mixed Kiss‘ next record Unmasked (1980).
Jay’s Kiss pedigree ensured that Buffalo Rock City would sound exactly like a good Kiss tribute album should sound.
All in all, this is a fun project with connection to a worthy cause.
Buffalo Rock City is a must for the entire Kiss Army. However, if a casual fan heard a deep track or two on its own, they might think – “Wow! What a cool rock song.”
1. I’ve Had Enough (Into the Fire) from Animalize
2. Back On The Streets from Vinnie Vincent Invasion
3. New York Groove 78/80 featuring Tommy Henriksen (Alice Cooper/Hollywood Vampires) & Tommy Denander (Paul Stanley) from Ace Frehely solo
4. It’s My Life featuring Jeremy Asbrock (Ace Frehley Band) from Wendy O Williams and Kiss box set
5. Hard Times featuring Philip Shouse (Ace Frehley Band/ACCEPT) from Dynasty
6. Dirty Livin’ featuring Ryan Spencer Cook & Philip Shouse (Ace Frehley Band) from Dynasty
7. The Street Giveth and the Street Taketh Away from Hot in the Shade
8. Jungle (DoDriver) from Carnival of Souls
9. Hard Luck Woman featuring Robby Takac (Goo Goo Dolls) from Rock n Roll Over
10. Black Diamond featuring Deen Castronovo (Journey/The Dead Daisies) & Bumblefoot (Guns ‘N Roses/Asia/Sons of Apollo) from Kiss debut album, Kiss Alive!, Double Platinum and more
11. Detroit Rock City from Destroyer, Alive II, Double Platinum and more
12. Freak from Monster
13. While The City Sleeps featuring Mitch Weissman from Animalize