Tuesday, March 15, 2016

KISS - Destroyer

Today (March 15th) marks the fortieth anniversary of Destroyer, the fourth studio album from KISS. This 1976 multi-Platinum release spent seventy-eight weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 11. It also reached number 36 in Germany, number 25 in Norway, number 22 in the UK, number 17 in Japan, number 16 in New Zealand, number 13 in Switzerland, number 6 in Australia and Canada, and number 4 in Sweden.

Side one opens with "Detroit Rock City". The album version opens with a news report of an automobile accident that occurs in Detroit and was caused by drunk drivers. At almost a minute and a half in is where the song really kicks in with a driving guitar riff. As the third single, an edited version (minus the opening set up) went to number 99 in Canada and number 14 in Germany. The song, of course, helped inspire the 1999 comedy movie of the same title.

"King of the Night Time World" is a rollicking rocker for the band's "star child" guitarist and lead singer Paul Stanley.

The B-side to the second single was "God of Thunder". This was an epic anthem for band guitarist and lead singer Gene Simmons. In concert, he often spewed his signature "demon fire" during performance of this heavy metal, thumping song. Of course, the comic book fan in me loves the lyrical allusion to Superman. Clearly Gene was a comic book fan too.

The sexually charged ballad "Great Expectations" is next. The Brooklyn Boys Chorus near the end adds a heavenly atmosphere to this track, which is a perfect counterpart to Simmons' demon persona on stage.

The second single, the rebellious teen anthem "Flaming Youth", smoldered at number 74 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 73 in Canada. The repetitive mantra of this one's chorus was something that would get stuck in my head after I heard it.

Side two starts with "Sweet Pain", the B-side to the lead single. I'll admit that this one is a low point of the record for me. If I had been sequencing the record, I would not have started out a side with it. Definitely filler compared to the rest of the very strong tracks.

The first single "Shout It Out Loud" hit number 45 in Australia, number 40 in New Zealand, number 32 in Germany, number 31 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 16 in Sweden and number 1 in Canada. This is another of the band's signature tracks, and it begs for the volume to pushed to the max. It was a perfect party song back in the late 70's.

"Beth", the fourth single, went to number 79 in Australia, number 20 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart, number 14 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 5 in Canada. It was co-penned by drummer Peter Criss and Stan Penridge when the two were members of the band Chelsea; it was originally an ode to a girl named Becky called "Beck". It also won the band a People's Choice Award. The New York Philharmonic orchestra is featured on this track's lush backing music. This song remains a favorite of mine from the band to this day, even if it does not sound like most of the typical KISS tunes. Recently, it was used for a commercial featuring a father taking his young sons out of a full day and evening of activities.

The tempo picks up with "Do You Love Me?", a song that questions a girl's motive for being with her man. Is she after him or his lifestyle?

The album closes with a track hidden on the original vinyl pressing. "Rock and Roll Party" is about a minute and a half long instrumental epilogue for the record. Later CD releases merged it on to the previous track. it has an eerie sound, as if recorded from a hallway a good distance away from the performing stage.

My older brother was a fan of KISS and thus owned a number of their albums including Destroyer. As such, I heard this one quite a bit. The local album-oriented rock station out of Buffalo also played a lot from this record, especially during rock block weekends. As such, this is probably one of the KISS albums with which I am most familiar.

For more from KISS, click here.

1 comment:

HERC said...

I was not a member of the KISS Army. Thought I had enlisted but Mom assures me I did not. I did have a blank KISS Army I.D. card I found in a parking lot and carried in my wallet, behind my military I.D., for a few years like a lame pretender. In one of my first collector's moments, I bought two copies of their blood ink infused Marvel Comics Super Special (one to keep and one to read) and at least a dozen packs of their bubblegum cards.

My first KISS album was Double Platinum though I did have a KISS poster of Ken Kelly's now iconic Destroyer album cover on my bedroom wall for a few months until a jealous friend or my zealous little sister ripped it down.

Managed to fulfill lifelong ambition to see band in concert on their Farewell Tour in 2000 which turned out to be my farewell concert.