KISS may have released their debut, self-titled album nearly 40 years ago but, it wasn’t until the release of 1975’s ALIVE! live album that the band received mass notoriety beyond being known as the band who wear Japanese Kabuki makeup. ALIVE! captured the spirit and energy of the live KISS experience and introduced the world to the band’s anthem, “Rock And Roll All Nite” which has remained a staple of their live shows ever since.
Hot on the heels of ALIVE! the band headed back to the studio to record their fourth studio album and brought in producer Bob Ezrin (Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd) to guide the ship. The resulting Destroyer album is perhaps KISS’s most successful studio recording and definitely their most ambitious to date.
Read more about Destroyer and its resurrection after the jump!
Ezrin worked the band hard in the studio, essentially teaching them how to play, record and engineer a rock and roll album. Ezrin co-wrote most of the essential tracks and provided the piano track on the album’s breakout hit, “Beth”. Ezrin also enriched KISS’s basic musical abilities and 4-piece sound with effects, strings, a children’s choir and even a Beethoven riff on “Great Expectations”.
Later this month, KISS will release Destroyer: Resurrected, with Bob Ezrin back at the helm remixing the album from the original master studio tapes. While KISS is infamous for recycling their greatest hits in various forms, this is not a simple repackaging of the original album. Destroyer: Resurrected is rebuilt from the outside-in starting with the original intended artwork that was considered too aggressive or violent at the time. There’s also an extended version of “Beth” with the complete original vocal recording that has never been heard as well as an alternate guitar solo for bonus track “Sweet Pain”.
In addition to the power-balled prototype “Beth”, Destroyer also features the classic KISS anthems “Detroit Rock City”, “King Of The Night Time World”, “God Of Thunder” and “Shout It Out Loud”. These tracks remain staples of the live KISS experience to this day and while the band has yet to be inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (which is ridiculous) are recognized as all-time classic rock anthems.
Destroyer: Resurrected Track Listing:
1. Detroit Rock City
2. King Of The Night Time World
3. God Of Thunder
4. Great Expectations
5. Flaming Youth
6. Sweet Pain
7. Shout It Out Loud
9. Do You Love Me?
Bonus Track: Sweet Pain (Original Guitar Solo)
KISS isn’t just resting on their 40-year track record this summer. The band are currently out on the road co-headlining a head-bangers dream double bill with Mötley Crüe and are set to release their 20th studio album, Monster in October. The album’s first single “Hell Or Halleluah” has been out for a couple of weeks and it rocks. The track isn’t going to change the world or even chart very well, but it’s a solid rock ‘n’ roll track with a great riff, huge chorus and that KISS magic. Unlike Destroyer, Monster doesn’t feature the original four members of KISS as regular substitutions Tommy Thayer (guitar) and Eric Singer (drums) replace Ace Frehely and Peter Criss admirably. In fact, Thayer and Singer may be the secret to keeping Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley motivated and moving forward with new material.
Don’t get me wrong, “Hell Or Helleluah” doesn’t stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the classics on Destroyer. To me it sounds more like Revenge-era KISS which makes sense since Singer played on that album as well. The drumming is much heavier than Criss’s work and Thayer’s guitar work is far superior to Frehely. I’m interested in hearing the rest of Monster as both Simmons and Stanley claim it’s a throwback, straight-ahead rocker with four guys playing together and very few overdubs or studio trickery. In the meantime, KISS fans have a lot to be happy about with the reissue, new album, tour, KISS KRUISE and Gene Simmons Family Jewels going strong on A&E.