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Ace Frehley – Anomaly (Reissue)

Ace Frehley
Anomaly (Reissue)

by Mick Michaels
 at 02 October 2017, 4:00 PM

Former KISS founding member, Hall of Famer and legendary guitarist ACE FREHLEY has had his album “Anomaly,” originally released in 2009, dusted off and given the royal treatment with a complete retooling, giving the fans 2017’s “Anomaly Deluxe” version.  The original album release has been officially out of print since 2010. Re-mastered and with additional bonus tracks added, this upgraded re-release gives FREHLEY fans, old and new, a chance to rediscover the Spaceman.

The album opens with “Foxy & Free.” Hard driving guitar and a big backbeat… Musically, the track actually feels like it would fit on “The Elder” album… sonically resembling “Dark Light” and “Escape from the Island.” It also has a “Rock Solider” mixed with “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” vibe to it… just heavier… classic ACE. Keeping the driving guitar going, track 2 gives us “Outer Space”… a deep and dark riffing that is only enhanced by the immense delivery of the drum crescendos. FREHLEY, who has always been big on including a classic cover song, does a solid rendition of Sweet’s “Fox on the Run.” The song is given the Spaceman treatment with characteristic FREHLEY lead work… making the classic song his very own.

Jumping ahead to track 10, “Sister,” FREHLEY delivers the tone and texture so associated with his writing… simple sophistication. You can’t help but to hear original Kiss… it just exists and it’s an element that I believe adds to the long standing mystique that surrounds ACE and his playing. This is a great song and his vocals are spot on. “Fractured Quantum,” a fresh faced homage to his 1978 solo album track “Fractured Mirror,” is where the original album’s track listing ended.  FREHLEY often likes to remind people of his technical abilities on the acoustic 6 and 12-strings. This one may be a bit too long and doesn’t stack up quite as well with its forefather.

The last three tracks: “Hard for Me”, “Pain in the Neck,” and “The Return of Space Bear” are the bonus tracks included on “Anomaly Deluxe.” “Hard For Me” is nothing more than “Foxy & Free” with slightly different lyrics and title. “Pain in the Neck” is simply a slower, elongated version of track 3 of the same title and the production quality is not as good. “The Return of Space Bear” is… well… you decide. The bonus portion of the re-release is somewhat of a letdown… would have been nice to hear something else… maybe they could have dug down deeper into the space vault.

I’m a huge ACE fan and have found my own guitar playing greatly inspired by his.  Without a doubt, several generations of guitar heroes have been motivated and influenced by what ACE has accomplished. However, I am still of the belief that his greatest feats were with those of KISS. His solo efforts have had sparks of momentary greatness but just not enough to even remotely cast a shadow on what he had achieved with the original Monsters of Rock in the 70’s and early 80’s and again in the late 90’s.  He may have the most successful solo career of any member of KISS past or present, however, that’s simply because outside of KISS, there is no other way to get one’s FREHLEY fix.  ACE’s greatest has yet to come.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Foxy & Free
2. Outer Space
3. Pain In The Neck
4. Fox on the Run
5. Genghis Khan
6. Too Many Faces
7. Change the World
8. Space Bear
9. A Little Below The Angels
10. Sister
11. It’s A Great Life
12. Fractured Quantum
13. Hard for Me
14. Pain In The Neck
15. The Return of Space Bear
Ace Frehely – lead guitars lead vocals, additional bass on tracks 2, 5, 9, 11, and 12

Anthony Esposito – bass

Anton Fig – drums, percussion on all tracks except 4, 10, and 12

Derrek Hawkins – rhythm guitar on track 2

Scot Coogan – drums, percussion on track 10, background vocals on 3 and 10
Marti Frederiksen – keyboards, additional bass and rhythm guitar on 4 and 9, drums on 12

Brian Tichy – drums on track 4
Record Label: SPV / Steamhammer Records


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Edited 25 September 2021

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