After the loss (again) of OG members Peter Criss and Ace Frehley in the early aughts, it appears fans have finally learned to accept KISS 7.0. Then again, what choice do they have? Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are committed to steering the KISS biz to maximum profits. They also feel they still have something to say musically, hence their second record in three years with oldies-but-newbies Tommy Thayer on lead guitar and drummer Eric Singer. Monster—which follows up 2009’s Sonic Boom—rocks relentlessly; it’s a hot mess of really good moments that make up a pretty good whole. Of course, the usual pre-release hoopla from the KISS machine claimed a return to form (Destroyer-meets-Revenge). And for once they deliver. “Eat Your Heart Out” includes cowbell, a sleazy riff, and an R&B-inspired chorus (which kicks the song off a cappella). “Back to the Stone Age” is a stomper in the spirit of “Deuce,” and the Zep-inspired “Long Way Down” might be the best KISS song in 30 years. There is some fat that should have been trimmed (Thayer’s “Outta This World” cribs the Space Ace in style minus the substance). Bottom line: Come for the rock, approach the lyrics with caution—they’ll only make you want to shower after.