Kissin’ Dynamite – Not the End of the Road Review

For well over 30 years – well, since the genre came into being, really, any time I’ve needed a pick-me-up I’ve been able to safely turn to the lighter side of metal. Call it hair, glam, bubblegum metal, whatever you like, the music is based on one thing: having a great time.1 Always highlighted by excellent guitarists and augmented with massive singalong choruses, just dropping an old Black ‘N Blue or Dirty Looks album on the turntable washes away all of the day’s grime. Germany’s Kissin’ Dynamite feel the same way about glam metal as I do, and for six albums they demonstrated their adoration of the hair days with strong outings. The now-departed Lokasenna enjoyed their last one, Ecstasy, as much as I did, and now I get to tell you about their Napalm debut, Not the End of the Road.

The variety of songs and pacing of the album hit the spot. Hard rockers like the title track and “Voodoo Spell” are interspersed with arena-sized anthems such as “Defeat It,” “What Goes Up,” and “Only the Dead,” all of which beg to be sung along to. Of course, a hair metal album isn’t trve unless it includes a couple of ballads, and the formulaic but effective “Gone for Good” and tear-jerking album closer “Scars” hit the mark. Prototypical rockstar vocals, pyrotechnic guitar solos, and thundering drums all pretty much force these earworms into, well, your ears. The icing on the cake is “Good Life,” which just might be the feel-good song of the year regardless of genre. And with its message both in the lyrics and at the beginning of the video, you get the feeling Kissin’ Dynamite are a decent bunch of fellas.

You have to take the bad with the good on some albums, and in this case the bad comes in the form of a couple of groaners, “Yoko Ono” and “No One Dies a Virgin.” Both aim to bring a party atmosphere to the proceedings but tread dangerously close to Steel Panther territory. “She’s a Yoko Ono, I’m under her spell, she’s a Yoko Ono, my ticket to hell” could have been left on the cutting room floor and the album would have been stronger for it. Luckily, we have a skip button for these songs, and we can carry on to greener pastures with nary a second thought.

Singer Hannes Braun seems to have come from the Jim Plunkett (Autograph) school of Looking Way Different Than You Sound. The whole band has a slightly unnerving, odd look about them, more sleaze than glam, although Braun definitely fits in with the old Poison look when he wants to. Braun is multi-talented; in addition to having a stadium-ready voice he also produced the album, and did a pretty fine job of it. The production and performances overflow with bombastic enthusiasm, and one can’t help but get right into most of the songs, singing along, air-guitaring the solos, and grinning ear to ear.

Not the End of the Road has all the qualities – both good and bad – one would expect from a late-80s glam metal album. Arena-ready choruses, flamboyant guitar solos, occasionally questionable lyrics, and obligatory power ballads. But rather than coming across as a gimmick band paying lip service to the past, Kissin’ Dynamite deliver with plenty of strong songwriting and charismatic performances. Those yearning for a blast of the 80s good life without dropping the needle on Look What the Cat Dragged In will be right at home spinning this one.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: N/A | Format Reviewed: Stream
Label: Napalm Records
Websites: |
Release Worldwide: January 21, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. Yeah I know, in today’s PC climate a lot of that old stuff can be sexist, misogynistic, and borderline offensive, but there’s plenty that isn’t.
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