KISS THE GUN – Nightmares (2017)

BLACK ACES - Shot In The Dark [European CD version +3] (2016) full

Released today December 1st, “Nightmares” is the really well crafted full length debut from classic hard rockers KISS THE GUN, a very promising and powerful new British, female-fronted five-piece. This is hot & energetic but melodic stuff, with a singer that is a complete revelation.

Formed in Salisbury when a pair of old duffers playing in local covers bands – Dave South a bassist on the original NWOBHM circuit, and rhythm guitarist Graham Exton – wrote a song called ‘Tainted Heart’. When a demo was heard by a studio and label owner, they were asked to record an EP, and KISS THE GUN was born.
Completing the line-up are Gerry Hearn (lead guitar) who’s toured with bands ranging from Uriah Heep to Freddie Starr, Rob Taylor (drums), and the jewel in the band’s crown – Nadin Zakharian (vocals) who was a 2011 semi-finalist in Georgian TV’s Talented and a semi-finalist in the 2013 TV singing competition The Voice of Georgia.

Together, what they serve up sonically is a big slice of ’80s / early ’80s hard rock with a melodic hard / edgy AOR here an there. It’s polished stuff – a rock solid rhythm section, big, crunchy guitar riffs, and economic soloing combined with well written, well crafted, and well produced songs.

But it’s Zakharian’s outstanding vocals – perfectly suited to the format – that set KISS THE GUN apart, and suggest more by way of genetic linkage, and shared DNA, with bands like Vixen and Saraya.
she’s something of a ‘find’ in the current era – just the right balance of power and ‘feel’ and, geography apart, if the band are able to recreate their sound live, there must surely be a gap in the market to be plugged.

For some, it may be something of a clichéd genre, but it’s one hugely difficult to carry off convincingly, and KISS THE GUN have it nailed the sound, the style and the vibe.
Such is the well-constructed nature of “Nightmares” that it sounds anything but a debut – tracks like the THIN LIZZY inspired ‘Writing On The Wall’, the VIXEN-like AOR of ‘This Is the Time’ (that synths / keyboard stabs!), ‘Stand Up’, with its distant echoes of BOSTON, and the driving ‘Run, Run, Run’ are made for FM rock radio.

Light and shade are provided by the piano on midtempo title track ‘Nightmares’ with a bit of IF ONLY on it, while the band try something different with the Spanish guitar-led ballad ‘Drowning’, but – for the most part – this CD simply ‘rocks’.
‘Higher & Higher’ delivers a sweet keyboard-driven melodic rocker that seems recorded in 1986, then closer ‘From the Night’ adds a little edge for a song with a little Scandinavian feel.

KISS THE GUN - Nightmares (2017) inside

I’ve seen a record store trying to sell KISS THE GUN “Nightmares” making an Evanescence comparison. NOT at all.
This is mostly ’80s melodic hard rock driven by typical guitar riffs from the era, keyboard / synth stabs (some tracks totally keyboard-driven), catchy choruses and abundant hook. Think a mix of VIXEN, NUBIAN ROSE, modern day THIN LIZZY, MADAM X, SARAYA, IF ONLY, LAOS…

Love this kind of ’80s oriented female-fronted rock music. Definitely an band to keep an eye on, but meanwhile enjoy this really good “Nightmares”, a super-strong record that really doesn’t sound like a debut; more like a third or fourth release from a very established outfit at the top of their game.
HIGHLY Recommended

01. Into the Fire
02. This Is the Time
03. Nightmares
04. Writing on the Wall
05. Stand Up
06. Run Run Run
07. Tainted Heart
08. Drowning
09. Higher & Higher
10. From the Night

GERRY HEARN – Lead Guitars, Backing Vocals
GRAHAM EXTON – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
DAVE SOUTH – Bass, Backing Vocals


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