Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Kiss Destroyer


Destroyer is the fourth studio album by American rock band Kiss, released on March 15, 1976 in the US. It was the second consecutive Kiss album to reach the top 20 in the US, as well as the first to chart in Germany and New Zealand. The album was certified gold by the RIAA on April 22, 1976. It was certified platinum on November 11, 1976, the first Kiss album to achieve platinum.

Coming on the heels of the band's breakthrough album Alive!, Destroyer is easily the most ambitious studio recording of the band's 70s catalogue. Bob Ezrin, who had previously worked with Alice Cooper, was brought in to produce the album. Among the production flourishes Ezrin introduced to Kiss were sound effects, strings, screaming children, reversed drums (on "God of Thunder") and a children's choir. The song "Great Expectations" uses the first phrase of the main theme from the second movement of Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, opus 13 "Pathétique", but songwriting is credited to Simmons and Ezrin.

Destroyer is the first Kiss album to prominently feature outside musicians, such as members of the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra. However, one musician not credited was Dick Wagner, from Alice Cooper's band, replacing Ace Frehley on tracks such as "Sweet Pain" (as Frehley did not want to interrupt a card game he was playing during recording sessions for the song). Wagner also played the acoustic guitar found on the song "Beth". The success of Alive! and Destroyer enabled the band to embark on their first tour of Europe.

After attaining modest commercial success with their first three studio albums, Kiss achieved a commercial breakthrough with the 1975 concert album Alive!. It was the first album by the band to be certified gold, and eventually went multi-platinum. The success of Alive!, which spent 110 weeks on the charts, benefited not only the struggling band but their cash-strapped label Casablanca Records. Kiss signed a new contract with Casablanca in late 1975, partly because the label had been very supportive from the start of the band's career. The contract was for two albums, an indication that Casablanca was unsure if the group could duplicate the accomplishments of Alive!

The cover art for Destroyer was painted by fantasy artist Ken Kelly. Kelly's work was brought to the attention of Simmons, who met with Kelly to discuss ideas for Destroyer. Kelly agreed but asked to see Kiss perform live first to gain inspiration. He was invited to a show and given a backstage pass. He later said of the performance, "It blew me away."Kelly was later commissioned by the band to draw the cover for 1977's Love Gun.

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, Ezrin, Kim Fowley, Mark Anthony Stanley 3:19
3. "God of Thunder" Stanley Gene Simmons 4:13
4. "Great Expectations" Simmons, Ezrin Simmons 4:24
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, Ezrin, Stan Penridge Criss 2:45
9. "Do You Love Me?" Stanley, Ezrin, Kim Fowley Stanley 3:40
10. "Rock And Roll Party " Simmons, Stanley, Ezrin Instrumental 1:25

Band members
* Paul Stanley – rhythm guitar, vocals
* Gene Simmons – bass guitar, vocals
* Ace Frehley – lead guitar, backing vocals
* Peter Criss – drums, percussion, vocals

Additional musicians
* Dick Wagner – guitar solo on "Sweet Pain", acoustic guitar on "Beth"
* Brooklyn Boys Chorus – vocals on "Great Expectations"
* David and Josh Ezrin – voices on "God of Thunder"

* Bob Ezrin – producer, orchestration
* H.A. Macmillan – orchestration
* Jay Messina – engineer
* Corky Stasiak – engineer

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