The "Space-Ace", original guitarist of KISS, has returned with Anomaly, his first solo-album in 20 years, and eleven years since his last recording with KISS. Whether intentional or coincidental, it came out at almost the same time as KISS' latest, Sonic Boom. From my point of view it doesn't matter if Anomaly was supposed to compete with Sonic Boom, or simply re-establish Ace Frehley in the hard-rock music scene. It sounds like a classic Ace solo-album and holds up to the standards of his previous work, and in my opinion, that's all I could have hoped for.
Long overdue though it may be, Anomaly is the Ace Frehley album fans have been waiting for. In spite of two decades passing since 89's Trouble Walkin', Anomaly sounds like it hasn't missed a beat. With classic-rock riffs and a bit of blues, Ace digs into his roots with this release, and captures the true essence of his Space-Ace persona. He even gets the Sci-fi theme involved on the track "Outer Space". Not to be overlooked, he also offers essentially 3 instrumental tracks (one of them has a few lyrics, but it's a one-line refrain that only comes around during breaks in the instrumental jam session). Those who think Ace's best work is in his instrumental songs will not be disappointed with these either.
Oh, and before I forget to mention it, Anomaly has the most unique packaging I've ever seen for a CD! Once you pull off the slip-cover, the CD is held in this weird little paper-board contraption, and there's a slip of paper with 'assembly instructions'. After following the 'fold here' & 'insert tab here', step-by-step instructions, you end up with a nifty little cardboard pyramid displaying Anomaly's groovy cover art! It looks nice on a shelf sitting next to an Ace Frehley action figure...
As a long-time KISS fan, as well as an Ace fan (for he was my favorite of the original line-up), I'm tempted to say Anomaly tops Sonic Boom as the better album. Part of me feels that Sonic Boom may be a more balanced album, but the best parts of Anomaly leave Sonic Boom's best songs in the dust! My advice to the old-school KISS fan is check them both out & make your own call. Without a doubt though, these are both great albums.
My top picks from Anomaly:
-Foxy & Free
-Outer Space (The best track on the album in my book. Possibly the best song Ace has EVER written!!)
-Pain in the Neck
-Fox on the Run (Cover of the classic 70's hit by Sweet!)
-Genghis Khan (This is the mostly-instrumental song I mentioned earlier. Just one line of lyrics to break it up & give is some structure. A great jam!)
-Change the World (A little bit of a softer tune from Ace. A song about bettering one's self and making a difference.)
-Fractured Quantum (Hoped for, expected, or even predictable, here's another instrumental track that continues the themes of Ace's previous instrumentals; 'Fractured Mirror', 'Fractured Too', and 'Fractured III'.)