Lick It Up ranks with Kiss, Destroyer, and Alive I as their best albums. On their previous album Creatures Of The Night, Kiss went back to their heavy metal roots. Although it was their strongest album since Destroyer, it didn't sell well and the tour was their least successful. So in 1983, Kiss decided to remove their trademark lineup and release the album Lick It Up.
Lick It Up is their best album from the '80s and along with their next album Animalize are the strongest albums they've recorded without their makeup. The addition of lead guitarist Vinnie Vincent fueled the hunger in the band as each track here is killer. Vincent also proves his mettle as a songwriter co-writing 8 of the 10 tracks on the album. Tracks such as "Young And Wasted", "Not For the Innocent", and "Fits Like A Glove" are among their heaviest tracks recorded, featuring some of Gene Simmons' best lyrics and nasty vocals. "Dance All Over Your Face", with Gene's funky bass line, is also a very strong track.
Paul Stanley's contributions are also top notch with tracks such as "Exciter", the rap-metal of "All Hell's Breakin' Loose" and the catchy title track. The best track here may be the only slower track on the album, "A Million To One", definitely one of Paul's best songs ever. The performances by Vincent and drummer Eric Carr are among their best work, particularly on the heavier tracks. Sadly, Vinnie Vincent would leave the band after this album as neither his replacement Mark St. John or Bruce Kulick, although both talented players, quite filled his shoes from a playing or songwriting standpoint. Highly recommended to fans of real 80's heavy metal and not the pop-metal that would dominate the charts a few years later.