Published November 10 2023 at 21:49
'(Music From) The Elder' was the ninth studio album by American rock band KISS, released on the Casablanca Records label on November 10th 1981.
The album marked a substantial departure from their previous output with a full-on concept and orchestral elements. '(Music From) 'The Elder was the first album to feature new drummer Eric Carr and the final album to feature original guitarist Ace Frehley (until their 1998 reunion album 'Psycho Circus').
'The Elder' stands as a testament to the band's willingness to defy expectations. When released in 1981, this conceptual album showcased a matured musical direction, steering away from the signature glam-pop rock sound of the previous 2 albums.
Embracing a narrative structure, 'The Elder' tells a mystical tale of a chosen hero on a quest for self-discovery and enlightenment. Despite initial skepticism and commercial setbacks, the album has garnered a cult following for its daring artistic vision. The intricate compositions and orchestral arrangements, led by producer Bob Ezrin, demonstrated the band's versatility beyond their hard rock roots.
While not exactly universally celebrated upon its release, 'The Elder' now receives recognition for its bold experimentation and the courage it took for Kiss to explore new artistic frontiers. In retrospect, this album remains a testament to the band's artistic integrity and willingness to take creative risks.
1981 album tracklisting (original U.S. version):
A1 The Oath 4:32
A2 Fanfare 1:22
A3 Just A Boy 2:30
A4 Dark Light 4:12
A5 Only You 4:19
A6 Under The Rose 4:49
B1 A World Without Heroes 2:40
B2 Mr. Blackwell 4:58
B3 Escape From The Island 2:50
B4 Odyssey 5:36
B5 I 3:52
1997 remastered version tracklisting:
1. Fanfare 1:22
2. Just a Boy 2:25
3. Odyssey 5:37
4. Only You Simmons Simmons, Stanley 4:17
5. Under the Rose 4:52
6. Dark Light 4:19
7. A World Without Heroes 2:41
8. The Oath 4:32
9. Mr. Blackwell 4:53
10. Escape from the Island 2:52
11. I 5:04
Originally the album was supposed to have been a return to the grittier hard rock sound of the classic 1970's albums, but somehow the band got steered off track (with the aid of producer Bob Ezrin) and somehow got sold on the idea of making a grandiose orchestral concept album instead.
Recording sessions for the album commenced in March 1981 at Ace Frehley's home recording studio in Wilton, Connecticut and went on at Ezrin's farmstead studio near Toronto, Canada.
A great number of unused & and alternate tracks were demoed with work titles such as:
The Unknown Force
I Want You Only
It's My Life
The Council of the Elder
Nowhere To Run
Listen to a selection of the unreleased 'Elder' demos here: