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Ace Frehley - "Anomaly" (CD)

Ace Frehley - "Anomaly" CD cover image

"Anomaly" track listing:

1. Foxy & Free (3:43)
2. Outer Space (3:48)
3. Pain In The Neck (4:10)
4. Fox On The Run (3:34)
5. Genghis Khan (6:08)
6. Too Many Faces (4:22)
7. Change The World (4:11)
8. Space Bear (5:24)
9. A Little Below The Angels (4:17)
10. Sister (4:48)
11. It's A Great Life (4:00)
12. Fractured Quantum (6:19)

Reviewed by on October 30, 2009

"The first four songs instrumentally might as well be the same song, as they all follow the same strict formula and possess a blatant similarity to the Rolling Stones' 'Honky Tonk Man.'"

Ace Frehley will always be known as the talented, inspiring, and somewhat quirky former lead guitarist of the iconic 70’s band Kiss. But ever since he parted ways with Kiss (the first time) in the mid 80’s, Frehley has struggled with making a successful solo release. Unfortunately, his latest attempt, "Anomaly," isn’t any more likely to revive the career of this one-time household name.

One of the reasons Frehley parted ways with Kiss was because he began writing lyrics for some of their tunes; the problem was his songs never ended up on their albums. Regardless of the reason, if the lyrical quality found on “Anomaly” is any indication of their style, it’s not a big surprise that his music wouldn’t make the cut. Frehley’s solo career has always been more influenced by pop and hard rock, but the often times rhyming and even nonsensical lyrics found throughout "Anomaly" make for a few moments where you can’t help but laugh and shake your head in dismay.

Take for example one of the longest tracks on the album, "Genghis Khan." At over six minutes, this tune that was supposed to sound Asian-themed but doesn’t, winds its way through two minutes of repetitive instrumentals before the lyrics "So long Genghis Khan, now you’re gone, so long." The best part? Those are the only lyrics in the entire song, and even the guitar riffing doesn’t improve this track any.

The first four songs instrumentally might as well be the same song, as they all follow the same strict formula and possess a blatant similarity to the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Man." The poppy tempo mixed with a vocal style that’s actually very similar to the way Gene Simmons used to end each line with lilting vocals make for a very dated and unoriginal sound.

Though he may have once been an icon in the guitar field, Frehley’s frets and shreds are anticlimactic and unimpressive throughout the album. Both instrumental tracks, "Space Bear" and "Fractured Quantum," are decent, but nothing inspiring by today’s standards. And while "Space Bear" may be very thought provoking and deep if you were listening to it while in a drug induced state, sober it’s just plain strange.

While I can’t really recommend it as a great tune, probably the best track on this smorgasbord of 70’s and 80’s style pop rock is "Fox on the Run." Sure, it’s the same Rolling Stones' inspired tempo, but at least the poppy sing along chorus is one that fans of that style music can sing appreciate.

Frehley dedicated "Anomaly" to his family, friends and fans, and hopefully a few of his fans will enjoy the album. But even though the back of the cover jacket ends with the words "… and in memory of Eric Carr and Dimebag Darrell," I’m not so sure that these fallen rockers would be so impressed with their mate’s dedication.

Highs: The first four tracks are okay, though they have an obvious similarity to the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Man."

Lows: "Genghis Khan" stretches out to a mind-numbing six minutes of the same repetitive lyrics and dragging instrumentals.

Bottom line: The only thing new and interesting about this release from one of rock’s quirky but iconic legends is the CD wrapping.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)