Sep 152009


I posted a little something about it a little while back, and now it’s here.  Anomaly, Ace Frehley’s first album of all-new material in 20 years, was released today.

Okay, you want the capsule version?  This is the best record Ace Frehley has ever done.

I can’t remember the last time I listened to an album six times, top to bottom, the day I bought it.  I’ve felt 17 years old again all day.

At times, it hits a groove and really does sound like what you’d imagine classic ’70s Kiss would sound like were it recorded today.  But it never plagiarizes; it always evokes.  I smiled as “Space Bear,” one of three instrumentals on the record, played today, and I recognized some structural commonality with “Acrobat.”  The melodies are completely different, but the songs are assembled similarly.

At other times, I hear what I’ve always wanted to hear more of in contemporary hard rock.  Too many artists today crank up the heaviness, but abandon the melody in the process.  I submit any of the first three cuts—”Foxy & Free,” “Outer Space,” or “Pain in the Neck”—as ample evidence that you can make your sternum resonate, but still keep it whistleable.

At still other times, I feel like I get a genuine window into his psyche.  I like “Dolls” from the first Frehley’s Comet album, but I almost feel like I get the vibe he was really going for when I listen to “A Little Below the Angels.”  Man, listen to that work in the break.  Wow!  And how can a song as slow-tempoed as “Change the World” avoid sounding deliberate?  I don’t know, but it does.

You can look at the blueprint, and be tempted to call it his ’78 solo brought forward.  There are straight rockers; there are experimental turns; there’s an entertaining glammish cover (an excellent pass at Sweet’s “Fox on the Run”); there’s a fourth “Fractured” installment.  It’s a much more complete package than that (still excellent) record, though.


Bottom line:  it’s a mature and confident genius, unclouded by substance or circumstance, turning it loose with nothing to prove.  And it’s always unmistakably Ace.  That this record wallops you with so much Aceness without ever ripping off past glories is really its killer feature.

I elevated my expectations substantially after a buddy with an advance copy of Anomaly sang its praises, and those expectations were still pummeled.

As of this writing, this is my favorite record of 2009 by a wide margin.  I say with full confidence that this is a must-get for any hard rock fan.  And if you’ve ever called yourself an Ace Frehley fan, you might take a day or two off just to sit and listen to it.

I’m not a gusher, dammit.  I’m gushing.  10/10.  Bravo!

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 Posted by at 9:09 pm

  39 Responses to “Review: Ace Frehley – Anomaly”

  1. HelllllYeah! This album rocks – worth the wait! The tour will be great too, I saw the Rocket Ride tour a couple of years ago and it was awesome. Go Ace! Glad to have you back – it feels like finding an old friend again.

  2. gonna rush out and buy ANOMALY today….all the pre-release buzz has been good, and unlike the 2 members of KISS that won’t go away…Ace has wisely laid low until he was ready to kick our collective asses…Can’t wait to hear it!

  3. This CD is AWESOME…The best work youv’e done since 88…Great work Ace……..

  4. Ace is back and he told you so!

  5. I got this cd on tuesday and I LOVE IT! this cd should of followed his first solo record !Great job ace ,now lets work on the next one while the creative juices are still flowing.

  6. That was a great review of Aces album, and it really sums up my feelings as well. As a matter of fact I am taking a couple of days off just listen to it. Faves being ‘Foxy & Free” ‘Too Many Faces’ ‘Sister’ … I like all of it, it’s my best by far for ’09 too. Ace’s music has layers to it, dimensions, this album leaves alot of Kiss’s music in the dust….

  7. I was disapointed actually..The only good songs on this album are Outer Space $ Fox on the Run!!!!To much acoustic guitar!!!and Fractured Mirror is horrible!!!!i loved the first 3 Fractures I was so pumped up to listen to it…..One good point is your lyrics.

  8. Welcome, all! Good to “see” you. Glad y’all are loving it too–God, it’s still just flying all over me–and thanks for the props.

    Shawn, yours is the sole dissent I’ve encountered. With all respect, I think you’re pissing into a hurricane. 🙂

  9. Hey , It rocks…. ACE IS BACK !!! . I have bought 3 copys so far .Rock on ACE and we will see you at the show !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Worth the wait – back to future man – Frehley u always were the creative genius playing the foil to the predicatable sound & structure of Gene & Paul.

    Luv u man !!!!

  11. Have now listened to this in my car non-stop since I got it, and it is the most awesome album I’ve heard for years. Ace is on fire!!!

  12. I love this CD to .. have it in my car and play it all the time. I hope the good word on it spreads wide and far and this thing goes platinum. He deserves it. A masterpiece!! Thank you Ace!!

  13. I love all the tunes on the album. However I think the real “dark horse” is the song “It’s A Great Life.” I know it’s more of a pop song than many Ace fans might prefer but it just might be the best composed song on the entire album!

    I ahve to say this as well. Best guitar tone I’ve heard on a hard rock album in YEARS! Kudos to you Ace! You really have a gem on your hands here!

  14. The Spaceman has landed! And he has brought unto us gifts! Gotta totally agree with the review here. There isn’t a weak song on the new album. The instrumentals are solid and engaging and the rest is hard-rockin’, ass-kicking, melodic musicality! Hard to pick faves, but Ghengis Khan, Pain in the Neck, Space Bear, Outer Space and Fox on the Run come immediately to mind. Again, I could have just as easily tossed in Sister, Fractured Quantum and Too Many Faces. The album is THAT good. Thanks Ace for showing the angst-ridden-teeny-rockers the way it’s supposed to be done. Five stars!!

  15. Hoey: I hear what you’re saying–but I also hear Sonic Boom is something special. I’m just delighted to be covered up with so much great rock ‘n’ roll in 2009!

    Rob: It’s so funny that you say that, because “It’s a Great Life” is emerging as one of my favorites. I love the forbidding tone of the bridge, and the contrast with the chorus. It’s an expertly-crafted song; heartily agreed.

    JT, Scott, Steve: It’s incredible, isn’t it? Like I said, my expectations were pummeled. Man, what a record. I just don’t care to listen to anything else right now, and as long as it feels this right, just let it last!

  16. By far and away the best work of 2009! It has now been confirmed, Ace is able to combine incredible guitar work with highly diverse songs which maintain a great sound throughout! Undoubtably this is heading for platinum status. Thank You ACE, it is sssooo worth the wait!!

  17. C’mon people. I’m as big of an Ace Frehley fan as there is but it is not a GREAT album. I’d say 4 good songs, a couple of ok’s and some real junkers. I waited for this just as anxiously as everyone else, but after a 20 yrs……”Just a little below” expectations

  18. This album rocks i listened to it 10 times the first day i got it.Ghengis Khan is frickin awesome! this is your best yet ace!
    Ace’s songs were always the best songs on the kiss albums.

  19. Phenomenal album and well worth the wait! I love every song and I think the accoustic songs are really showing Ace as much more than a rock legend…I have to go with some of the other reviews as well – I think “It’s a Great Life” is evolving into my favorite song and should be released as a single. “Fractured Quantum” is a terrific way to end this masterpiece. Way to go, Ace! You hit a home run!!

  20. WOW!
    Best album I have heard in a long time,bought yesterday and love every track.
    Spread the word people…this is the album true hard core rockers have been waiting for!!!

    The Ace is back and he told us so!

    Way to go ACE, I am so happy for you…you nailed it brother!

  21. Mark 31: you are obviously not into music and don’t know much about it because your opinion is so negative. Are you sure you put inthe right cd?
    If you did and that is your review I guess you are just one of those people who can’t be pleased no matter how good it is, can’t you focus on the positive?You said 4 good tracks that you like, why not focus on them and let the rest grow on you?

    OH I just figured it out…it’s really you Gene being a resentful jealous prick hiding under a fake name.

  22. Ace is back true to form. Now I hope he brings this album on the road and melts our faces with killer live versions! I posted a review as well, at .

  23. Shayne, take it easy, man. I don’t understand a negative listen of this album either, but that doesn’t mean somebody can’t have one.

    Besides, Gene would never do this himself. He’d make sure you knew that he paid people to do this. 🙂

  24. Hey all u ace fans dont foget our album comes out next month! Hey christmas is right around the corner why not check out all the great kiss sttuff u can buy for all the ki$$ fans on your list. Just go to our web site.
    till next time i have something to sell ya
    take care

  25. Anomaly rocks and Sonic Boom (KISS) sucks. I bought the Anomaly CD a few days ago and it is really good. 4 out of 5. A friend of mine downloaded the leaked version of Sonic Boom and we got very dissapointed. Rock & Roll Over meets Love Gun? NO FREAKIN WAY!

    Jari Lassila from Sweden.


  27. is it just me or is paul stanley sounding more & more gay as he gets older? dont get me wrong im a huge kiss fan but ive always wondered how kiss would be with a more masculine lead singer. paul if ur reading this please stop shaking ur butt on stage while gene is doing god of thunder & war machine.

  28. Best album by the mighty Ace ever and I love the other ones!
    I hope that it won´t take 20 years until his next release.
    Ace is back with a bang !!!

  29. The best he’s ever done? Are you kidding? I love every recording Ace has ever done with or without KISS. This one I don’t. “So long Genghis Khan, now you’re gone Genghis Khan” over and over again? I can see how that could take 20 years just to get that one right. Space Bear is a regular song with no words. Usually an instrumental song needs more substance than the same chords being played over and over. If he would of put a screamin’ Ace solo on it I would have good with that but nope. Sorry people I’ll skip this CD just like Gene’s solo CD. I can make an assumption that this is a we love Ace and hate KISS for throwing him out for being a drunk blog. I’m glad he’s clean now … keep drinking the kool-aid.

  30. I posted the first comment here a couple of weeks ago. Now that I’ve had time to listen to this album a bunch of times, I just want to say that it just gets better and better! Great guitar work, which is what I listen to mostly. It’s been awhile since any new music made me play air-guitar, but this one does!! Great riffs, soul-filled leads. Thanks Ace!!!

  31. rob from reading your post it sounds like your more of a fan of paul’s love songs?your favorite part of a kiss concert is probably when paul does forever & u can sing along & look into paul’s dreamy eyes.

  32. I’ve been both an Ace fan and a Kiss fan for a very long time, and I’m certain there is plenty enough assholishness to go around on both sides.

    I’m also certain there is plenty of good music on both sides, and isn’t it cool that it’s 2009, and we’re getting outstanding drops from both Ace and Kiss? I’m just choosing to enjoy. Screw the sniping, whether it’s between band members or between fans.

  33. I was pleasantly surprised at how good Anomoly was. The first 5 tracks grab ya, I love how melodic ‘Pain in the Neck’ is right before the solo and then it’s like someone hits the breaks and he tears it up. Sonic Boom, well…’Modern Day Delilah’ is a very good song and there are maybe a couple decent songs but for the most part it sounds way to pop and hooky, maybe they were listening to a lot of Jonas Bros that week.
    I love KISS but I’m starting to believe they did get a musical vasectomy when Ace was released, his riffing is great and I could hear Gene or Paul sing over the top of those riffs but that ain’t ever gonna happen. I’m just hoping Ace makes it out to Denver, I’ve been pimping his release.

  34. Mr. ACE……………..ROCKS

  35. Ive been a huge kiss fan since i was 14 years old! (1976 to be exact) and I agree with Dave B australia, when I listen to the new sonic boom cd I here a lot of Ace’s riff through out the cd. Is this because Tommy can’t make up his own, or is it because gene and paul will only allow him to play like ace? I really like both cd’s. (Ace’s anomally and kiss’s sonic boom) but if I had to pick between the 2 i would pick ace’s! Destroyer was kiss’s best studio album by far and I am not hearing any rock and roll over or love gun at all in the new sonic boom cd that paul promised us! I am guessing he said that just to sell more cd’s! He is starting to sound more and more like gene everyday!Rock on ace I just got 4 tickets to your show, I cant wait!!!!!!!

  36. I think I hear the solo to Plaster Caster on the album and the solo to about 10 other songs from Rock n Roll Over and Love Gun plastered on Sonic Boom, (so there, in a round about way Paul was right)it’s really disheartening, I was very curious to see what Tommy would come up with. I’d rather Bruce still be in the band Revenge and Carnival of Souls had amazing guitar work and it was such a departure from Ace.
    Anomoly reminds me of why I’m an Ace fan, he doesn’t have to try to generate that vibe in his solo’s like Tommy he just does.

  37. Ever since 1979 Ive loved KISS,Ace was my favourate – cos of 2000man,hard times, save your love,etc.Over time I got to love all kiss and Ace music.KISS have moved on without Ace, and Ace has said sorry for any wrongs he has done in KISS,I love the direction that Ace is going now.He says it all on Anomaly,absolutly love Genghis Khan.Cant wait to see Ace in feb 2010 sydney australia.

  38. Anomaly is the most beautiful CD I’ve ever heard!

  39. The first time I play Anomaly each day I have to pinch myself to make sure I ain’t dreaming.

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