Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bruce Kulick - BK3

It’s been a great time to be a Kiss fan lately. Kiss put out their first new record since 1998’s Psycho Circus. We were blessed with Ace Frehley’s 1st solo release in over 20 years. And now we have another former member of the band releasing a solo album. Bruce Kulick has just unleashed BK3 to the delight of many. Packed with enough guitar riffs to make any metal-head happy BK3 is a hard rocker’s blissful delight.

On BK3 Bruce Kulick really shines. Centered on rip-roarious guitar riffs, Kulick built songs that are meant to show off his skills with the ax. Guitar solos are plentiful and crafted with the experience of this seasoned veteran. Kulick reminds everyone how gifted he is with just one listen. Hard, heavy, and fast is the pace of BK3.

Guest stars appear in abundance on this album. Former Kiss band mates Gene Simmons and Eric Singer show up as well as Nick Simmons, John Corabi, Doug Fieger, and Steve Lukather. Gene handles vocal duties on Ain’t Gonna Die and this song gives us a taste of what Kiss would have evolved into had they continued to make records with Kulick. It’s an amazing sound and style that makes me yearn for 90s Kiss.

Nick Simmons (Gene’s son) guests on the album’s first single, Hand Of The King. A dark, heavy groove drives this song giving it modern rock flair. Kulick tears into the song's solo like a hot knife through butter, delivering a crisp, energetic guitar solo that overloads the ear senses with pleasure. It’s hard to believe that Nick is the one behind the microphone. His voice is deep and dark on this track and brings it all together perfectly.

Kulick pulls double duty and handles vocals on a few of the songs as well. Admittedly, he is much better on guitar than in front of the microphone, but after a couple of listens his voice does grow on you. The biggest problem with Kulick’s vocals is how they sound strained. It appears that he doesn’t sing much and he’s forcing himself through the vocals as best he can. His voice doesn’t take away from the songs, but he may have been better served finding a lead singer ala George Lynch (Lynch Mob, Souls of We).

Overall, Kulick delivers an album of fun filled rock and roll. Building his skills while in Kiss and, more recently, Grand Funk Railroad, Kulick brings back what’s been missing for some time – exceptional guitar rock. The new class of young musicians would be served well using BK3 as a roadmap to exceptional music. After more than 25 years in the industry, Kulick is still amazing and gifted, and BK3 drives that point home with authority.

Ryo’s Rating: 8.5 (out of 10)

Track Listing
Ain’t Gonna Die
No Friend Of Mine
Hand Of The King
I’ll Survive
Dirty Girl
Final Mile
I’m The Animal
And I Know
Between The Lines

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