Friday, June 16, 2006

Kiss-Destroyer, 1976

So here is an album that many fans consider to be the definitive Kiss album while others think it's overrated. Kiss had a major hit with Alive (1975) and they were poised to become even bigger with the next album. Strangely enough "Beth" would be the single from this album that would really hit. My question about this album is can it be great even though it has two poor songs on it? You can argue and tell me you like Beth, but to me I just can't see liking this song unless your wife or girlfriend is named Beth. My wife is not named Beth so I think it's a weak song, but Great Expectations is worse, actually it's far worse. Outside of those two the rest is good to great as we open with "Detroit Rock City" which is probably one of the two most recognizable Kiss songs ever done. "King of the night time world" isn't hugely different from anything they had done before, but it succeeds with some energy and enthusiasm. "God of thunder" is so awesome that it almost wipes out all of crappy things that Gene has done over the years, the key word being almost. "Flaming youth" is maybe a little overlooked and it shouldn't be, it's an example of Kiss being slick without being too polished. "Sweet Pain" is good with some nice vocals, but nothing fancy. "Shout it out loud" is a great anthem and perhaps even the second or third best song on the album. "Do you love me" is a typical Paul song to some extent, but always seemed to me to be a great closing track for the album.
So, yes I will say it's a great album despite two weak songs. If nothing else the fantastic cover and the fact that the huge majority of the album sounds so good thirty years later puts it over the hump and into the great category. I used to be a big Kiss fan, but the last ten years have been trying. However all I need to do is listen to one of the first six studio albums and I realize why I like them so much and why they still have an audience today.


Blogger Ranea said...

I love this album. I am proud to say I have owned it on 8 track, vinyl, cassette, and c.d.

5:43 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

Nice review! I, too, think "Great Expectations" belongs in some off-Broadway show, not on a Kiss album. I agree with your assessments overall, though I tend ot think the orchestration on this album minimizes the potential impact. But that's me.

One other thing: Destroyer actually came after Alive, not Alive 2.

I would love, down the road, to hear how you think the Kiss debut album has held up 30+ years later. I keep going back and forth between "timeless" and "sounding stale."

-- david

6:10 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Ranea-I have owned it on all of those except 8 track.

David- The 2 was a slip of the finger, it has been removed.
I tend to rank the first six kiss albums in this order.
1-Dressed to kill
4-Rock and roll over
5-Hotter than hell
I have probably not heard the debut in it's entirety in at least ten years. Creatures of the night is another one I need to hear again. I have normally thought it to be the best seventh best Kiss studio album after this six I listed above. However, I have not listened to it in over ten years.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Vicious Steve said...

Destroyer is definitely a classic album.....with 2 duds: "Great Expectations" is one of the worst KISS songs and "Beth" is so overplayed/overrated. Sad to think that if it wasn't for the success of "Beth" as a single, Destroyer would have stalled on the charts and in ticket sales. I've always thought that the band pushed "Beth" as a single rather than go with the story they claim about radio stations ignoring "Detroit Rock City" (A-Side).

If I ranked the 1st 6 albums by order of importance:
2. Destroyer
3. Love Gun
4. Rock'n'Roll Over
5. Hotter Than Hell
6. Dressed To Kill

If I go with personal preferences:
1. Rock'n'Roll Over
3. Hotter Than Hell
4. Destroyer
5. Dressed To Kill
6. Love Gun

7:13 AM  
Blogger Vicious Steve said...

Metal Mark - Give a fresh listen to Creatures Of The Night.....what a shame this album, and tour, bombed. What an excellent slab of Metal! My pick for the heaviest KISS album and my personal #2 KISS album and #2 all-time.

7:16 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Vicious Steve-I only have Creatures of the night on vinyl which is why I don't get to listen to it too often. I had it ranked in the top ten albums of 1982. I remember it being simple, but heavy. A good comeback considering how poor some of their previous albums were.

7:52 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

I personally liked Great Expectations and could live without Flaming Youth but to each his own. Destroyer is probably my favorite Kiss Album but Revenge runs a close second for me. The album that didn't hit the mark for me at all was Symphony Alive IV. The symphony thing might have worked for Metallica but I didn't think either Kiss or the Scorps pulled that trick off.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Strutter71 said...

Great review. In reference to vicious steve's comment about the story that radio stations ignored "Detroit Rock City" on the A-side of the single, well...I actually have a copy of the 45 and he's right. "Beth" is the A-side with "Detroit Rock City" on the flipside.
And Mark, I agree about "God of Thunder" being Gene's finest moment. It should be noted that the song was actually written by Paul, and the original demo with Paul on vocals is on the box set that came out a couple of years ago. It changes the song completely.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous fred charles said...

Okay...I putting Destroyer on as I write this. I love the intro of the guy listening to the radio!

I agree 100% with your review. Those two songs are crappy but the rest of the album is good to great.

One thing, you said that God of Thunder wipes away a lot of the bad stuff that Gene has produced. I happen to have the boxed Kiss set with the original version of the song on it. It is horrible. Bob Ezrin must have stepped in at some point. The original version is...believe it or not...wimpy. If you don't own the boxed set, email me and I will send you an MP3 of it.

9:56 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

I remember my friend playing this on vinyl in his basement. Doesn't seem that long ago...but I guess it's been over 20 years.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Vicious Steve said...

Strutter71 - If I'm not mistaken, the "Beth" single was released i different formats. I'm not the biggest KISS Kollector so someone else may be able to verify it, but I think that when "Beth" started getting airplay, Casablanca re-released it as a double A side. I know I had the original 45 way back when and I had another with "Beth" as the A side and "Rock'n'Roll All Nite" as the B side. Either way, they way the band tells it, "Beth" was a track that they called a "throw away". Personally, I think it was planned to release it to get airplay. Without "Beth" getting the massive acclaim, KISS might have taken longer to control the 70s mainstream.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Strutter71 said...

Steve, I also remember something about the single being re-released differently, so it is very possible that the version I have was not the initial release. I'm not a huge collecor, either, this was just something I happened to have from my youth and held on to.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Strutter71 said...

There's a great website,, that I just checked out. It confirms that Beth was released initially as a b-side to "DRC," and then again as the a-side.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Vicious Steve said... is one of the most comprehensive sites for KISS. Julian has also written some amazing books, I have them all and are essential reading.

7:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a big fan of Destroyer, even if KISS is my favorite band. I mean, Detroit Rock City, King Of The Night Time World and Shout It Out Loud are essential KISS tunes, really great, but the rest... Great Expectations and Sweet Pain are awful, Do You Love Me and Flaming Youth are listenable and God Of Thunder is too slow, too depressive, I prefer the Alive II version.

7:03 AM  

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