Kiss – Destroyer (1976)

AllMusic Review: The pressure was on Kiss for their fifth release, and the band knew it. Their breakthrough, Alive!, was going to be hard to top, so instead of trying to recreate a concert setting in the studio, they went the opposite route. Destroyer is one of Kiss’ most experimental studio albums, but also one of their strongest and most interesting. Alice Cooper/Pink Floyd producer Bob Ezrin was on hand, and he strongly encouraged the band to experiment — there’s extensive use of sound effects (the album’s untitled closing track), the appearance of a boy’s choir (“Great Expectations”), and an orchestra-laden, heartfelt ballad (“Beth”). But there’s plenty of Kiss’ heavy thunder rock to go around, such as the demonic “God of Thunder” and the sing-along anthems “Flaming Youth,” “Shout It Out Loud,” “King of the Night Time World,” and “Detroit Rock City” (the latter a tale of a doomed concert-goer, complete with violent car-crash sound effects). But it was the aforementioned Peter Criss ballad, “Beth,” that made Destroyer such a success; the song was a surprise Top Ten hit (it was originally released as a B-side to “Detroit Rock City”). Also included is a song that Nirvana would later cover (“Do You Love Me?”), as well as an ode to the pleasures of S&M, “Sweet Pain.” Destroyer also marked the first time that a comic-book illustration of the band appeared on the cover, confirming that the band was transforming from hard rockers to superheroes. — Greg Prato

Track Listening

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. “Detroit Rock City” Paul Stanley, Bob Ezrin Stanley 5:17
2. “King of the Night Time World” Stanley, Kim Fowley, Mark Anthony, Ezrin Stanley 3:19
3. “God of Thunder” Stanley Simmons 4:13
4. “Great Expectations” Gene Simmons, Ezrin Simmons 4:24
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
5. “Flaming Youth” Ace Frehley, Stanley, Simmons, Ezrin Stanley 2:59
6. “Sweet Pain” Simmons Simmons 3:20
7. “Shout It Out Loud” Stanley, Simmons, Ezrin Stanley, Simmons 2:49
8. “Beth” Peter Criss, Stan Penridge, Ezrin Criss 2:45
9. “Do You Love Me” Stanley, Fowley, Ezrin Stanley 3:33
10. “Rock and Roll Party] Simmons, Stanley, Ezrin Instrumental 1:25

 

Schill Score: 7.5/10

 

Listen to Album

 

 

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