Review Summary: KISS follow the massive success of [i]ALive![/i] with an album full of experimentation and anthems.
After 3 albums of decent quality but modest chart success times were looking hard for both KISS and their at the time record label Casablanca who were suffering economically. Fortunately for both the double live album which followed, Alive!
proved to be a major success and put KISS firmly on the radar, as in an album format they managed to portray the sheer excellence of their by now legendary live show. After this success them, a follow up was heaped with pressure as the eyes of the world watched to see what KISS would do next.
The answer was to go the opposite route from ALive!
and choose a route of experimentation and improve their sound. Famed Alice Cooper producer Bob Erzin was recruited for production duties in the hope to make a true success, and his presence certainly makes this a much bigger sounding record than before. With a much improved production to their previous studio albums, KISS are definitely trying for commercial success here.
Without a doubt this is the most experimental album that KISS had released up until this time; whilst the first three albums were pretty decent but rather formulaic, in comparison Destroyer
has a lot more going on. 'God Of Thunder' is a major departure from the previous albums, it is much darker and sinister with Gene's vocals coming across as more of a growl than before. There are further examples of experimentation here from the use of choirs in 'Great Expectations', car effects in the gargantuan 'Detroit Rock City' and the introduction of full ballads such as 'Beth', some less successful than others however.
With this experimentation unfortunately Destroyer
becomes less consistent than KISS
and Hotter Than Hell
; whilst much of the album is massive and contains some of the bands all time great anthems there is also some very weak moments. 'Detroit Rock City' is one of their strongest anthems and an ever present in the set list, 'Beth' is one of the greatest KISS ballads of their careers and this still leaves other highlights such as 'Do You Love Me'. 'God Of Thunder', 'Shout It Loud' and 'King Of The Night Time World' making this a very strong showing. On the other hand the use of a choir in 'Great Expectations' only adds to the atrocity, this is genuinely the first awful song KISS have made (and unfortunately not the last).
Often cited as the fan favourite KISS album, is it the greatest KISS album? It is very close, and there is no denying how good, no brilliant, much of this album is with so many of these being true anthems and set staples, but at the same time it is inconsistent, with the truly awful 'Great Expectations' as well as the forgettable 'Flaming Youth' and 'Sweet Pain'. Despite this, this is a huge album that you simply have to hear if you are a KISS fan or even if you give a damn about rock music.
Recommended: Detroit Rock City, Beth, Do You Love Me