Kiss announced some shows last week. I am not -for the first time ever – getting a ticket as I have rather gone off them. My best mate, though, did. Not because he was desperate to see them himself, but because his ten-year-old loves them.

Now, as this is their last ever show (maybe,…..) then the question begs itself, when the lad is 20 what’s going to be left?

These thoughts occupied me throughout “Thriller Killer”, the second album from Damn Dice. With good reason too. Not least because this void bothers me immensely, but rather more pleasingly, Damn Dice are the most polished, arena ready unsigned band I think I have ever heard.

Let’s cut right to the chase here. If this was an American band then Metal Hammer would already be onto the third orgasm and had them on the cover. Instead, Damn Dice are based in London but from four different countries – and have a sound that takes glam rock from the 80s and it updates it better than anyone for years.

Double D even know this. Making great play on their press pack that they are “too rock for metal and too metal for rock”. And you know what? They’re nearly right, but for all their metal punch – and they do have one – then the solo in “Thrill Of The Kill” is straight out of the Rainbow Bar And Grill.

Likewise “Stories I Write” has balls. It has a chug, but it has a chorus of rare quality – and a hook you can hang your big winter coat on. There are arena bands (hi, Shinedown, I don’t think I have mentioned I hate you this week yet) that will never do this in their lives, yet here are five reprobates from London who make this shit look like it’s the easiest thing in the world.

“This Time” (key line: you get out of life what you put in”) is the sound of five men who want to take on the world, “Turn Back The Clock” is the fist pumping anthem of a band that just might.

Working with producer James Loughrey (Queen, Def Leppard, The Darkness, Skindred) has helped them create something mighty, “Leaving With Nothing” is right from the Stone Broken playbook (and, lets face it, there are worse role models for them to have) while you suspect the filthy sounding “Fire Below” is one they all enjoyed – key line: “heaven ain’t looking down on our bad behaviour”.

In truth, there’s nothing here that doesn’t sound like the most fun ever. “Got To Know” brings some mighty double-kick drumming, and “Blood And Tears” does something a little more mid-paced, but no less superb.

“Back Again” (key line: “never stop until your house is burning….”) has some magnificent gang vocals, “Behind You” has a feelgood sentiment, to show, perhaps that even rock n roll has a heart these days – and they deserve credit for not making this a cloying ballad that sucks all the life out of things (hi, Shinedown, just making sure you are still here…..)

In honesty, this isn’t a record for ballads. “What A Life” hints at something a bit more bluesy, but basically does the same thing as the rest of them. And that isn’t meant as a criticism, either.

“Find Me” – the closing one – is actually as close as this gets to balladry. But it never quite gets there – it does sound like Nickelback, though, which as ever is meant as a good thing on this site.

The other week I wrote on here that The Struts were going to save rock n roll (they are, honestly) so I can’t use this line again. I can, though use this one: “Thriller Killer” is such an arena ready record that in ten years’ time Damn Dice are gonna be packing them. If there’s any justice left in the world. And if they aren’t, you can all lick my love gun.

Rating 9/10