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KISS - Destroyer cover
4.09 | 45 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1976

Filed under Hard Rock


1. Detroit Rock City (5:17)
2. King Of The Night Time World (3:21)
3. God Of Thunder (4:17)
4. Great Expectations (4:24)
5. Flaming Youth (3:00)
6. Sweet Pain (3:21)
7. Shout It Out Loud (2:50)
8. Beth (2:49)
9. Do You Love Me (3:40)

Total Time 34:28


- Paul Stanley / rhythm guitars, vocals
- Gene Simmons / bass guitars, vocals
- Ace Frehley / lead guitars, vocals
- Peter Criss / drums, piano, vocals

- Dick Wagner / guitar (track 6)
- Brooklyn Boys Chorus / vocals (track 4)

About this release

Release date: March 15, 1976
Label: Casablanca Records

Reissued and remixed by Mercury in 2012 under the title Destroyer: Resurrected with the following tracklist:

1. Detroit Rock City (5:15)
2. King of the Night Time World (3:21)
3. God of Thunder (4:17)
4. Great Expectations (4:24)
5. Flaming Youth (2:59)
6. Sweet Pain (3:21) (solo by Dick Wagner)
7. Shout It Out Loud (2:51)
8. Beth (2:49)
9. Do You Love Me? (3:40)
10. Rock And Roll Party (1:26)
11. Sweet Pain (solo by Ace Frehley) (3:18)

Total Time 37:41

Thanks to reed lover, rushfan4, Pekka, Lynx33, diamondblack for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

This is the album that changed my life.

I remember back in 1999, at the age of 12, I was watching a World Championship Wrestling show, when they had Kiss perform live. At the time I had never heard of Kiss, or listened to any rock music for that matter, but what I heard that night changed me forever.

Random fact: This was WCW's lowest-rated segment ever. I guess wrestling fans in 1999 just weren't into Kiss.

After falling in love with the song ‘God of Thunder’, I set out to buy my first Kiss album. I remember after I bought it seeing my parents shock at what I’d purchased, and them ‘warning me’ about it. "Oh, I don’t think you’ll like that, that’s rock music, very heavy stuff". Feeling slightly embarrassed I shrugged it off, claiming how much I loved Kiss, even though I only knew one of their songs. I was feeling sillier and sillier with each moment.

Thankfully my parent’s concerns were wasted, as I instantly fell in love with the album; ‘Destroyer’.

Before hearing this record the only music I was exposed to was whatever mainstream pop was on the radio. ‘Destroyer’ opened me up to the heavier side of music, and eventually led me to finding some of my favorite bands such as Dream Theater, Symphony X and Savatage. I sometimes wonder what I could be listening to right now if I had never come across this little gem. Or if I'd even be as passionate about music as I am.

As for the music itself, well, it’s a Kiss album. What do you expect? It's radio-friendly(ish) rock music covering all the cliché topics: partying, women, sex, partying, drugs and partying. It's all there. And if you're new to Kiss, you may as well start off with one of their best albums, with tracks such as ‘God of Thunder’, ‘Shout It Out Loud’ and ‘Beth’ being firm crowd pleasers. And then there is also possibly the greatest Kiss song of them all, ‘Detroit Rock City’.

Overall these songs are all great rockers from "back in the day", but since my musical taste has moved on greatly since the time I was first exposed to this band, it is mostly nostalgia that prevents these songs from dropping off my musical radar. I give this album a good four stars, but the fact that this was such a life-changer for me may have something to do with it.

And hey, we all have our guilty pleasures, right?

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Bob Ezrin came in to do the production job on this one, but I can't help but think he mishandled it. The drums sound off to me - at points it sounds like Pete Criss is bashing away on mushy cardboard boxes - and the sound effects and flourishes can't decide the fact that even the theoretically doomy God of Thunder lacks punch compared to, well, pretty much any track on Alive! And once again there's the perennial problem with Kiss studio albums, which is that there's usually far superior versions of the better songs conveniently available on a live album for your enjoyment. (The version of God of Thunder on Alive! 2 is absolutely apocalyptic, and shows up the Destroyer version as being the ponderous, shambolic, and misproduced mess it is.)
“Destroyer” is a masterpiece for Kiss. After a swag of lukewarm studio albums they blazed up the charts with this incredible album , which is revered by the legions of Kiss Army fans as being the best the band produced. It followed up from the exceptional “Alive!”, the massive live double that changed everything for the band in terms of notoriety. But with “Destroyer” the band fast became the hottest band on the planet. It was a huge success worldwide and was certified gold and platinum in 1976.

Bob Ezrin was the masterful producer of this worldwide success story. Ezrin added to the mix sound effects such as the opening intro which is unsurpassed in Kisstory; a radio report is heard of a car crash, and then we flash back to how it all happened, a car driving and revving while a radio station is switched until it gets to the famous riff of ‘Detroit Rock City’. This track is a blitz of awesome riifs and hard driving rhythms. Stanley is incredible as he sings “12 o’clock I gotta rock, there’s a drunk ahead, lights staring at my eyes...” The riffs by Ace and Paul are fantastic; the twin guitar harmonies are inspirational and unforgettable. Perhaps Kiss finest riffs are captured on this song.

This segues seamlessly into ‘King of the Nighttime World’ with great rhythms and Ace on lead is wonderful. The next track’ God of Thunder’ became legendary as a vehicle for Simmons to spit blood on every live show. The studio is slow, grim and doomy with very laboured vocals that at times sound like a monster. There are Ezrin touches such as children screaming and yelling out. It is very creepy and one of the darkest Kiss tracks ever. There are reversed drum effects and very powerful bass lines. A classic in every sense, the song was controversial due to its demonic lyrics, “I’m the lord of the wastelands, a modern day man of steel, I gather darkness to please me, and I command you to kneal...” Simmons was having fun with his persona and of course in concert the song was even darker, with a faster riffing tempo and death metal style vocals.

A children's choir was used on ‘Great Expectations’ and a full string orchestra, with Gene at his most tender, a first for Kiss. The song includes the second movement of Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, opus 13 "Pathétique". It is an epic and was actually played live with a children’s choir and orchestra on Kiss makeup at the Symphony Live concert in recent years.

‘Flaming Youth’ is a favourite of mine, a sleeper track that really rocks hard with a solid infectious chorus.

‘Sweet Pain’ is a great Simmons driven track about S & M though my innocent ears had no idea back in the 70s, “whip is always beside me, you want the same thing everyday, I’ll teach you love a different way....”

The New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra plays as Peter sings ‘Beth’, a hit single uncharacteristic as it was so melancholy and gentle, tenderly written to Peter’s wife. I was never a fan of this until I saw it live and saw how much it meant to Peter and it grew on me as a quick interlude between the craziness in concerts. It was a chance for fans to throw roses and for Peter to get in front of an audience and out of that drum kit.

‘Shout It Out Loud’ became as synonymous with the band as ‘Rock and Roll Allnite’. The single hit the charts and did well and was revisited years later when the band were reunited again on the worldwide tour . The premise is simple “you gotta have a party.... turn it up louder... everybody shout it now.... oh yeah!” What else needed to be said, the crowds got it and they wanted a piece of this madness. It was loud, crazy, fun and head bangers were loving Kiss in the late 70s.

‘Do You Love Me’ is a blasting track with Paul asking the ultimate question. I always liked this raucous heavy album closer. It sounds great in concert too on “Alive 2”. The last song is untitled and is just a reprise of a previous song and bookends the album neatly.

This album is legendary, and the most talked about Kiss studio album. It is adored by fans and non fans alike. Everything seems to work, the effects, the performances, the production – it was lightning in a bottle and Kiss would never rise to this standard again. From the iconic caricatures on the cover to the icy cold echoes on ‘God of Thunder’ this was a miraculous work, a prime example of how great Kiss could be when everything lined up perfectly.

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