Does KISS’ Monster Have The Worst Album Cover Of All Time?


I have a confession to make: I am a lifelong, diehard KISS fan. Hardcore music fans often scoff at the band’s blatant commercialism, merchandising, all-too-willingness to sell-out and their blatant ripoffs of each decade’s popular music genres (their 1996 “grunge” effort, Carnival of Souls, is still the funniest thing I’ve ever listened to). To me, however, all of that lies in their appeal; a combination of the “so bad it’s good” mentality and a nostalgia for their early to mid-70s efforts, which remain legitimate masterpieces.

Part of KISS‘ appeal also stems from their album covers. Virtually all of their make-up era album covers are iconic in their own right, from their eponymous debut, to albums like the legendary Destroyer and Creatures of the Night. Even their 2009 return, Sonic Boom, they had a cover that harkened back to 1976’s Rock and Roll OverNeedless to say, I am immensely excited for their upcoming release Monster. Or at least, I was, until I browsed the Wikipedia page for the album only to discover the cover, which is pictured above.

This is not just some publicity photo. Nor is it the cover they used for the Japanese or Korean release, or anything random like that. This is the actual cover of the freakin’ album. 

There are a multitude of things wrong with the cover of KISS‘ Monster, but the biggest issue is that there isn’t anything remotely special or eye grabbing about it. It’s just a stock picture of the band, the kind you would expect to find on the band’s website circa 2002.

Plus, the band members just look pasted on (right over the band’s logo, no less!), with no clear attempt to set them into the album art at all. If it weren’t for Paul Stanley sensually caressing Gene Simmons’ chest, I would have to assume that none of the band members were even at the photo shoot on the same day.

Top it off with the album title’s font looking like it’s straight from a bad 80’s album (though I suppose that isn’t fair, considering it’s still KISS we’re talking about), this is just one poorly designed album cover.

It’s not that the cover is embarrassingly bad (read: Lady Gaga’s Born this Way); if it were it would at least be entertainingly so. It’s just embarrassingly lazy. KISS may be known for being marketing whores, but at least it usually seems like they put a little effort into it.

I’ve put up with a lot of KISS‘ shenanigans over the years, so believe me when I say that this really shakes my confidence with them. Of course, it could be argued that I’m setting my standards too high for a band that has been wearing clown make-up for over 30 years. But these were my IDOLS growing up — their relentless merchandising only cemented their status as rock and roll superheroes to my 10 year-old brain. There’s a great deal of nostalgia associated to these aging, Jewish clowns, so to see my heroes appear so lazy is just a little bit heartbreaking to me.

To quote from KISS‘ own A World Without Heroes:

A world without heroes
Is like a world without sun
You can’t look up to anyone
Without heroes

Comments (19)

We've migrated from our usual commenting platform and unfortunately were not able to migrate the comments over. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.

  1. Tom Barronsays:

    The cover annoys the crap out of me. They said it was going to be on par with Destroyer, so I assumed they meant comic book style!

  2. to be fair, KISS have phoned in quite a few of their album covers, even in the makeup era. Creatures of the Night, for one. But then that whole album was kind of phoned in, too…

    1. What? Creatures of the Night is one of their best albums!

      1. sorry, meant “Dynasty.” Getting my records confused!

  3. Mikesays:

    “their 1996 “grunge” effort, Carnival of Souls, is still the funniest thing I’ve ever listened to” The credibility of this article just went right out the window and I have no reason to read on any further.

  4. adam pavlovichsays:

    are you kidding? who gives a crap about the cover. i just love the fact that i get to hear more original KISS tunes after not getting anything but live or rehashed greatest hits for such a long time…what annoys me somewhat is it has taken so long for this to come out.

  5. aerokisssays:

    not only the cover is a disgrace…the contents is even worse.
    i have been a kiss fan for 35 years…i never thought i would say this one day: kiss it good bye.

    1. JohnGaltIamsays:

      I agree, as I left the concert during the 3rd song, I told the ushers, that assuming they ever had it, they have now lost it.

  6. Bucketheadsays:

    the cover is a digital painting

  7. chumsays:

    the cover is pretty good for me, just i dont see whats bad in it, theyve had worse covers like Asylum, Dynasty, COS, and others…. I actually feel like the coer is way better than sonic boom’s and second, i wont judge this album by its cover, i wanna judge it by its content, and the samples atleast sound ROCKING!!!

  8. scottsays:

    Very Lazy Cover I will agree.
    but if your going to keep bashing them and call them aging jewish clowns than
    what in the hell does really matter to you what it looks like.
    Aging? Really ? Are we supposed to stop doing what we love to do because of our age?

  9. Bleak5170says:

    It’s pretty bland but far from the worst of all time. At least the music is awesome.

  10. Davesays:

    Needless to say that this album cover must be the worst in kisstory imho however in this day and age where anyone thinks they are graphic designer this still looks like a novice photoshop try out. I hope the songs are better than the artwork

  11. Chrissays:

    C’mon it’s Kiss… this is the way they look and feel, I love them for they tacky style, for me this is Kiss…

  12. You are so wrong. I really like the album cover. Also, the way you described KISS in your article, it sounds like you find them to be a guilty pleasure. I for one have no guilt. They are one of the best bands in rock music. Hands down.

  13. James Simonsays:

    Oh come on. Really? Go listen to Bieber or JLo or anyone… These guys still beat the crap out of 90% of the music out there.

  14. tormentor90says:

    KISS has the best concept for marketing album covers, on alot of albums they missed the boat completely. Again is it them or the record companies?

  15. dlambsays:

    I found what looks to be the original cover. I like it better, so I use it as my pic in itunes.

  16. JohnGaltIamsays:

    if you don’t like the album cover, then just wait till you see the show.
    I could not imagine that they could be as terrible as they were…
    best thing of the night was the pyrotechnics… then
    the costumes
    then … leaving during the third song…. yes I like a lot of their music, but clearly the studio stuff was never performed by the guys in the costumes on stage… they were just plain terrible.

All Posts