From the pages of 'The Wire'....KNIGHTS LAUNCH DEBUT ALBUM!.... I turned into the remotest set of breeze blocks and corrigated iron of a long forgotten industrial site in Wythenshawe, itself a seemingly abandoned experiment in post war housing. This was the home of Jam Factory records, pioneers of the proto punk house movement. Instead of the prime industrial architecture converted into state of the art business complex I expected, I now stood before a fully operational food processing plant. As I parked up I was approached by a bearded gentleman who introduced himself as the Bursar. He led me up a rusty fire escape, through a green door and into what appeared to be a staff canteen; where Journalists, Jam Factory executives, punk house players and hangers-on were struggling to make themselves heard above the plant machinery.

I had followed Jam Factory output since the Firepower days, but was intrigued by their choice of signing a band that was working on a KISS based concept album. Firstly, why KISS? The Kettlecup Corp's Lee Cabinet told me "KISS is unfinished business. The idea that Gene originally had for the band went far beyond rock and roll. KISS is a state of consiousness where the music forms only part of a transportation device. KISS is a destination that no other band has attempted to reach. They came closest to the plateau with Dynasty and (music from) The Elder, but the band became corrupted. Some members by fame and the material world, others by chemicals and drink. Lack of critical recognition and decline in record sales, led to a crippling loss of self belief. They began to follow trends rather than set them. They invested unwisely in a coal mine. They ran out of money. They sold their entire back catalogue."

A loud rumbling came from the corridor as a fork lift truck crashed through the door and deposited two control decks and a large diesel generator . Each an electromechanical mess of wires, dials, tubes and oscilloscopes. A sense of confusion verging on panic prevailed as the generator kicked in and the room filled with smoke. The Knights In Satans Service marched in and with a scream of "Ahoy!" launched into a performance of their new album. Some danced awkwardly, others just didn't know how to react and a few gave up and went home.

Beginning with the shear sonic confusion of This Kiss Planet, they jouneyed through the detective rock of Satan's Service, the anthemic stadium house of Numbing Themselves, the spaceport departure lounge sound of Kiss Radio and the electro funk of Kill the Power and Drooling Blood. At this point the speakers began to overload and Chris Cola began to vigorously flap his arms around to cool the amplifier. Unfazed they continued through the ethereal Like a Tree, the raunchy Phantom 2000 and my favourite, the wild acid rock of Heavy Metal Beatles. A futuristic cover of the KISS standard Sure Know Something proved a hit with the crowd and the information house of 75 million albums provided a rare moment to relax before the high octane techno juggernaught Take The Cake.

I don't know if it was the music, the acrid smoke or the earthquake like effect of the volume, but I had witnessed a bonfire on the senses. Had the band taken the spirit KISS to a new level? It was how KISS might have sounded had they lived in the 25th Century. As the band left the room and the fork lift truck returned to remove their equipment, no one knew what to do next other than to stare blankly. I sneaked out, slipped on the fire escape and then accedentally reversed into a factory wall.

© K Claudius, August 2003