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Kiss, or KISS if you feel more Caps Lock shouty, are silly - very silly. In fact they're so good at being silly they've made countless millions of dollars in the process, which is where things start to change from the silly to the downright absurd. When Gene Simmons and co. routinely turn up on the lists of most disgustingly wealthy indiviudals in music, one begins to wonder how on earth that happened when you actually listen to their albums. There's a cynical voice in my ear telling me that KISS aren't really a band of musicians, they just sell endless bits of merchandise based around a theme of different patterns of face paint. I'm beginning to think this is the secret of their success, as 'Destroyer', the album most often lauded as one of their best, is so lightweight, camp and downright stupid they surely can't have relied upon selling lots of this over-inflated nonsense to fill their bank accounts. They'd only have to sell a few front row seats to do that, as concert tickets are only ever in three figures mark.
In their defense, I did catch them performing on TV the other year, and they do put on a blinder of a live show. All pyrotechnics and stunts and flashy distractions, it's more of a big loud circus than anything else. Yet the live energy doesn't really translate over to this record, even though it is quite good natured and daft for the most part. Maybe it's got something to do with the production, which does them no favours and the band as a unit sounds like it could all fall to bits at any point. The vocals sound quite ropey, the guitar tones are pretty underwhelming, the drums sound all clanky... not what I was expecting. I was hoping for an 'everything but the kitchen sink' approach, like Queen or Meatloaf or Alice Cooper or GWAR.
'Detroit Rock City' features a rally naff guitar riff, and is considered by some to be some sort of classic. I guess it is in a way, in that it's old and played a lot on the radio, but it's a bit tinny and annoying. 'God of Thunder' should be the most earth-shattering piece of metal ever recorded, if it's going to sport a name like that. I was expecting something titanic, like 'Kashmir' or 'War Pigs' of that era. Instead, Gene Simmons sounds like a sleazy car salesman rather than a reincarnation of Thor or Raijin. With song titles like 'God of Thunder' and 'Flaming Youth', I was expecting something that sounded, well, BIGGER. Given that Kiss aren't known for restraining themselves, it's all a bit floppy and limp. And that's before we've even got to the - brace yourself - ballads.
First up is 'Great Expectations', which is kind of OK. In comparison with the Peter Criss penned 'Beth', it sounds like a lost bit of Beethoven. 'Beth' is everything that was wrong with a lot of ballads of the period, and is right up there in the annoying stakes with Dean Friedman's 'Lucky Stars' or that one by Barry Manilow about being mean to girls and making them cry.... it's slushy, syrupy and horrid with a really irritating melody and is drenched in horrible, predictable chords. BLEARGH would have been a better title. If I want ballads, I'll go to Tori Amos.
Well, this was a bit of a pointless listening exercise. I never really liked what I'd heard of Kiss, and it's not because of the ludicrous amounts of wealth, or Gene Simmons' ego, or the facepaint (I quite like Immortal, so liberal use of cosmetics doesn't bother me), but when I'm told a record is a killer, I expect good songs that don't sound like they've been recorded in a skip. Or if they do, then they have to have enough bite and fun to cut through the limitations. This has little of either It's kind of enjoyable in an utterly ridiculous way, but this is as far as my affair with Kiss is gonna go. Sorry Gene, sorry Mr. Stanley, and sorry Cat-Face and Star Baby, but this is a load of underwritten, cruddily recorded mush, that is enjoyable as a silly piece of fluff and is only saved from a 1-star ignominy by the fact that the weather was nice when I reviewed it. Bye.
"Destroyer" is the 4th studio album by US hard rockers, Kiss. It was released in 1976 on Casablanca Records and produced by Bob Ezrin. The line-up for the album was Paul Stanley (vocals/guitar), Ace Frehley (guitar), Gene Simmons (bass/vocals) and Peter Criss (drums).
Probably the most widely known Kiss album, "Destroyer" had many sound effects previous Kiss albums had not used, including sound effects, children screaming, stringed instruments and a children's choir. Members of the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra featured, giving a different flair to rock music.
"Detroit Rock City", one of the biggest rock anthems of all time, was written by Paul Stanley and Bob Ezrin, about a Kiss fan killed in an automobile accident on the way to a Kiss show. It is one of those songs that not only stands the test of time, but draws in new fans of all ages.
Considered Gene Simmons' theme song, "God of Thunder" was written by Paul Stanley with the intention of singing it himself. The use of sound effects such as clapping, explosions, and children screaming add a new dimension to the song, making the listener feel the commanding presence of the story in the song.
Another song well known by even those who are not true Kiss fans is "Shout it Out Loud". It is one of those great party songs sure to keep everyone in a great mood and ready to continue the loud music and fun times.
The most known of all Kiss songs, "Beth" is not about a woman named Beth. It was inspired by two women, but given the title of "Beth". Peter Criss has said that some of the original lyrics were changed to tell of how his wife, Lydia, missed him while he was out touring. It is one of those songs you find yourself singing along to no matter how many times you hear it.
This is by far my favourite Kiss album of all time and the one I listen to most. If you only get the chance to hear one Kiss album in your life, this should be the one. You get a true sense of their rock and roll, loud as you can be, attitude.
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?
My rating: 9/10
Destroyer is the 5th KISS album and represents a dramatic change in direction from their previous cuts. The first 3 records were cut (literally) in a matter of weeks and hastily packaged and put out into record stores, followed by intense touring to promote them. When the time came to work on what would turn out to be Destroyer, the band felt a change in producer might benefit them. The album shows a distinct change in their musial style - out went the 3 minute pop/rock songs and in came lengthy (not overly though), epic tracks. The opener, Detroit Rock City, is a classic example. Other highlights include: 'God of Thunder', 'Shout it out Loud' and Peter's 'Beth'. This album (after the success of 'Alive') catapaulted the band into super stardom and remains a KISS classic with tracks still being played live today.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
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
10 Rock And Roll Party