Unholy (song)

Last updated
Single by Kiss
from the album Revenge
ReleasedMay 4, 1992
Format 45rpm
Genre Hard Rock
Label Mercury
Songwriter(s) Gene Simmons, Vinnie Vincent
Producer(s) Bob Ezrin
Kiss singles chronology
""God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II" / "Junior's Gone Wild" (performed by King's X)"
"Domino" (radio edit) / "Carr Jam 1981"
Music video
"Unholy" on YouTube

"Unholy" is a song by the American hard rock band Kiss, written by Gene Simmons and Vinnie Vincent. Featured on their 1992 album Revenge , the song is one of the three Vincent co-writes to appear on the album despite the fact that he had been fired from the band 8 years earlier. [1] The release of "Unholy" signaled the return to a heavier sound for Kiss and was their first single to feature a lead vocal by bassist Gene Simmons since "I Love It Loud" in 1982 (a song also co-written by Vincent). The song was played live during the Revenge Tour and was included on the 1993 live album Alive III , but did not return to the live Kiss set list until 2004's Rock the Nation Tour. [2]

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

Hard rock is a loosely defined subgenre of rock music that began in the mid-1960s, with the garage, psychedelic and blues rock movements. It is typified by a heavy use of aggressive vocals, distorted electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, and often accompanied with keyboards.

Kiss (band) American band

Kiss is an American rock band formed in New York City in January 1973 by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley. Well known for its members' face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid-to-late 1970s with their elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood-spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits, and pyrotechnics. The band has gone through several lineup changes, with Stanley and Simmons the only remaining original members. The original and best-known lineup consisted of Stanley, Simmons, Frehley, and Criss.


Composition and Recording

"Unholy" was co-written by Gene Simmons and Vinnie Vincent, although Vincent was fired in 1984. Simmons stated in his book Kiss and Make-Up:
"Vinnie Vincent came up to me and apologized for causing the band all the grief while he was a member. He wanted to patch things up and wondered if I would consider writing some songs with him. 'Sure', I said. I wanted to let bygones be bygones. I called Paul and told him that Vinnie had apparently changed. Paul wrote songs with him as well. But before the album was released, Vinnie was up to his old tricks again. He reneged on a signed deal we had made and decided that he wanted to renegotiate. He eventually sued us and lost. As far as I was concerned, he was persona non grata forever." [3]

Gene Simmons American musician

Gene Klein, known professionally as Gene Simmons, is an Israeli-American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, actor, author and television personality. Also known by his stage persona The Demon, he is the bassist and co-lead singer of Kiss, the rock band he co-founded with lead singer and rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley in the early 1970s.

Vinnie Vincent American musician

Vincent John Cusano, better known by his stage name Vinnie Vincent, is an American guitarist and songwriter. He is a former member of the rock band Kiss from 1982 until mid-1984 during the band's transition out of their 1973–1983 makeup period. Vincent was the last member to wear a unique makeup/costume configuration, as the character of The Ankh Warrior, until he and the band were first shown without the makeup during an interview on MTV in September 1983. He also was the leader of his own band, Vinnie Vincent Invasion.

Two other songs which appear on the album, "I Just Wanna" and "Heart of Chrome", were also co-written by Vincent. The song is, according to Simmons, based on a Wicked Lester song "Keep Me Waiting" which appears on the album The Original Wicked Lester Sessions. Vincent suggested a number of changes, mostly lyrical changes which as Simmons said, made the song even better.

Wicked Lester New York based rock band

Wicked Lester was a New York-based rock and roll band that would later re-member and become the band known as Kiss. The band formed in 1970, under the name Rainbow. Two notable members were bassist Gene Klein and rhythm guitarist Stanley Eisen, who later adopted the stage names Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, respectively. In 1971 the band changed their name to Wicked Lester, and recorded an album for Epic Records, which was never officially released.

<i>The Original Wicked Lester Sessions</i> Studio album by Wicked Lester

The Original Wicked Lester Sessions is a bootleg release of Wicked Lester's 1972 album for Epic records. Recorded at Electric Lady Studio in NYC producer Ron Johsen created a unique work in progress production which was not fully developed in concept. The album was recorded over a period of months when time was available at Jimi Hendrix's newly built studio Electric Lady. Wicked Lester members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons left soon after the album was completed and formed another group with a more rock-oriented focus, soon recruiting drummer Peter Criss and guitarist Ace Frehley and changing the newer group's name to Kiss. Original drummer Tony Zarrella & Brooke Ostrander (keyboards) attempted to keep the band together to fully actualize its new sound development. Epic Records believed Wicked Lester was on the edge of a unique sound & was dedicated to supporting the project.

"Unholy" was the first single in 10 years to feature Simmons on lead vocals since I Love It Loud and is considered one of the heaviest songs in the band's catalog. [4] The song features Jesse Damon from Silent Rage, who sang backing vocals on the track. He also sang backing vocals on "Thou Shalt Not" (which he even co-wrote), "Take It Off", "Tough Love", "Heart of Chrome" and "I Just Wanna".

I Love It Loud 1982 song by the American rock band Kiss

"I Love It Loud" is a heavy metal song by the American rock band Kiss. It was released on their 1982 album Creatures of the Night. It has proven to be a staple of the band's live show, being performed on almost every tour the band has done aside from the Reunion and Psycho Circus tours.


As a single, "Unholy" was released in the United States as a promotional single, but it broke the Top-30 in five countries, reaching its highest in Norway, number 2, which was the highest of all singles from Revenge. The B-side was God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II, a reworking of the Argent song God Gave Rock and Roll to You.

Norway Country in Northern Europe

Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.

<i>Revenge</i> (Kiss album) 1992 studio album by Kiss

Revenge is the sixteenth studio album by American rock band Kiss, released on May 19, 1992. It is the band's first album to feature current drummer Eric Singer, following the death of former drummer Eric Carr in November 1991, and is also their last record to feature musical contributions from Carr. Marking a stylistic departure from the pop-influenced glam metal sound which characterised much of the band's 1980s output, the album was a worldwide success, becoming the first Kiss album since 1979's Dynasty to reach the Top 10 in the United States and reaching the Top 20 in seven other countries. It was certified gold by the RIAA on July 20, 1992.

Argent were an English rock band founded in 1969 by keyboardist Rod Argent, formerly of The Zombies. They had three UK Top 40 singles, "Hold Your Head Up", which reached number five and spent 12 weeks on the chart, "Tragedy" and "God Gave Rock and Roll to You". Two of their albums charted in the UK, All Together Now, which peaked at number 13 in 1972, and In Deep, which spent one week at number 49 in 1973.

Music video

A music video was filmed at Southern Bay Studios in Carson, California and was directed by Paul Rachman. The video did not receive regular rotation airplay, as it showed children dancing on pentagrams and "Damien"- (Omen-)like twins casting demonic shadows, which would in turn cause mass protests at MTV from the Christian conservatives, but did feature on MTV's Headbangers Ball program, airing regularly there.

Carson, California City in California, United States

Carson is a city in Los Angeles County, California, located 13 miles (21 km) south of downtown Los Angeles and approximately 14 miles away from the Los Angeles International Airport. Incorporated on February 20, 1968, Carson is the newest municipality in the South Bay region of Metropolitan Los Angeles. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 91,714.

Paul Rachman American filmmaker

Paul Rachman is an American film director who directed the highly praised 2006 documentary on punk music American Hardcore, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was released by Sony Pictures Classics. He is also one of the founders of the Slamdance Film Festival. He started his career as a music video director with low-budget videos for hardcore punk bands Gang Green and the Bad Brains. He was later signed to Los Angeles–based Propaganda Films, where he directed music videos for bands Sepultura, Alice in Chains, Temple of the Dog, The Replacements, Kiss, Pantera, Joan Jett, and Roger Waters, among many others. He made his feature film debut with the low-budget film noir Four Dogs Playing Poker, starring Forest Whitaker, Tim Curry and Balthazar Getty, released by Warner Home Video. He lives in New York City.

MTV American pay television channel

MTV is an American pay television channel launched on August 1, 1981 based in New York City that serves as the flagship property of the Viacom Media Networks division of Viacom headquartered in New York City.


'Unholy' was voted by fans as the 37th best Kiss song in a 2014 feature for Classic Rock magazine. [5]


Single by Black Veil Brides (featuring Zakk Wylde)
from the album Rebels
ReleasedDecember, 2011
Format EP, single
Genre Hard rock, alternative metal, glam metal
Label Lava Records, Universal Republic Records
Songwriter(s) Gene Simmons, Vinnie Vincent
Black Veil Brides (featuring Zakk Wylde) singles chronology
"Rebel Love Song"
"In the End"

In 2008, the song was parodied on the Kiss tribute album KISS MY ANKH: A Tribute To Vinnie Vincent , written and performed by rock & roll comic C.C. Banana. The parody is called "Ted Poley" and was inspired by a real life encounter between Danger Danger vocalist Ted Poley and Kiss frontman Paul Stanley, while the two bands were on tour together in 1992. [6] The other cover found on the album was recorded by Curse God and Die. [6]
German band Die Ärzte, who supported Kiss in 1996, recorded a German version of the song in 1994 for the tribute album Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved . [7]
American rock band Black Veil Brides did a cover of the song on their EP Rebels which was released on December 23, 2011. Ozzy Osbourne/Black Label Society guitarist, Zakk Wylde is featured on this version, playing the guitar solo [8] The song was revealed to the public on YouTube on December 14, 2011. [9] Black Veil Brides has cited Kiss (along with Mötley Crüe) as their biggest influences image-wise. [10]


"Unholy" has appeared on following Kiss albums:

Track listing


  1. "Unholy" (Gene Simmons, Vinnie Vincent) - 3:40
  2. "God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II" (Russ Ballard, Paul Stanley, Simmons, Bob Ezrin) - 5:23
  3. "Deuce" (Demo) (Simmons) - 3:25
  4. "Strutter" (Demo) (Stanley, Simmons) - 4:58

Limited Special Edition - CD-Single

CD-Single 1

  1. "Unholy" (Gene Simmons, Vinnie Vincent) - 3:40
  2. "God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II" (Russ Ballard, Paul Stanley, Simmons, Bob Ezrin) - 5:23
  3. "Deuce" (Demo) (Simmons) - 3:25
  4. "Strutter" (Demo) (Stanley, Simmons) - 4:58

CD-Single 2

  1. Kiss - Fifteen Years On (Interview)




Chart (1992)Peak
UK Singles Chart 26 [11]
Norwegian Singles Chart 2 [12]
Swedish Singles Chart 19 [13]
Dutch Singles Chart 26 [14]
German Singles Chart 26 [15]

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  4. Sputnikmusic Review - Revenge Retrieved December 17, 2011
  5. Classic Rock, issue 196, May 2014, p. 54.
  6. 1 2 "KISS MY ANKH: A Tribute To Vinnie Vincent". SplitScreen Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2008-08-31. Retrieved 2008-09-19.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
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