The Creatures Of The Night album delivered on KISS’ promise to their fans to make a heavy record after a string of weak sauce efforts. Though Ace Frehley was depicted on the album’s cover, he did not perform on Creatures Of The Night. Vinnie Vincent handled a good portion of the lead guitar duties on the record. Vincent also co-wrote a few of the songs.
As part of KISS’ attempt to sound heavier, Creatures Of The Night featured a particularly cavernous drum sound from the kit of Eric Carr. This drum sound worked to great effect on the pounding anthem I Love It Loud, but for the most part I think the overbearing drum sound was actually detrimental to the record, as it made many of the songs sound stiff and cold. That quibble aside, I think Creatures Of The Night turned out to be a decent record. By far my favorite cut has to be the aforementioned I Love It Loud, which belongs in the pantheon of top shelf tunes in KISStory. The title track is also pretty good. But I think KISS’ follow up to Creatures Of The Night, Lick It Up (1983) was a better record, and Animalize (1984) actually topped them both.
Creatures Of The Night did not give KISS the hit album they were looking for. It may have been a matter of timing more so than quality, as 1982 was still one year away from the breakthrough of commercial heavy metal in the United States, thanks in large part to MTV’s support of the genre. In 1983, KISS took off the makeup and released Lick It Up. That album gave them the comeback that they were hoping for with Creatures Of The Night. KISS must have also thought that Creatures Of The Night missed its window of opportunity in 1982, because they re-released the album in 1985 (with a different cover, sans makeup, and with their current guitarist Bruce Kulick in the place of Ace). My score: B