CD Review: Ace Frehley – Origins Vol. 1

CD Review: Ace Frehley – Origins Vol. 1
eOne Music
All Access Rating: A-
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Ace Frehley - Origins Vol. 1 2016
Seeing the Who and Cream open up for Mitch Ryder at the RKO theater at his first-ever rock concert was a life-changing experience for a young and impressionable Ace Frehley. That, perhaps more than anything else, convinced him that his calling was to conjure rock 'n' roll hellfire for the masses, who would worship him like a god.
On Origins Vol. 1, with its big, beefed-up production and pristine, powerful crunch, the revered former KISS guitarist pays tribute to the artists who influenced his career, performing a clutch of cover songs and old KISS tracks with immaculate precision, blazing energy and a whole lot of muscle.
In fact, the old Rolling Stones classic "Street Fighting Man" has never sounded so polished and heavy, becoming an arena-rock dynamo in Frehley's capable hands. Trading searing guitar licks with Slash on Thin Lizzy's "Emerald," Frehley seems born again, clearly enjoying the competition and beautifully sculpted twin leads.
While the world doesn't need another version of "Wild Thing," this savory remake by Frehley and Lita Ford captures the raw vitality and untamed spirit of the original, and the furious, groove-mongering locomotion and stop-on-a-dime direction changes of Led Zeppelin's "Bring It On Home" bursts forth with bluesy urges, proving that Frehley has lost none of his chops. Packing an even greater wallop is a rugged, gutsy version of Free's "Fire and Water," which finds Frehley and Paul Stanley – putting forth a commanding vocal performance here – of KISS mending fences.
Working alongside acolytes John 5 and Pearl Jam's Mike McCready, Frehley injects some modern sonic testosterone into KISS favorites "Cold Gin" and "Parasite," reveling in their darker qualities and punching them around some. Origins Vol. 1 isn't essential, and sometimes, Frehley is too faithful to the source material. Nevertheless, Origins Vol. 1 is a fun, nostalgic trip with an array of stinging riffs and piercing solos that attempts to explain how Ace became Ace. And because of all that, it's not a bad placeholder for the next Frehley solo record.
– Peter Lindblad

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