Review Summary: Destroyer is Kiss at the top of their game, and, of course, it's a classic1 of 1 thought this review was well written
Kiss is a classic band everyone knows. Not that everybody likes it, of course, but some people hate them. Why? Really, I don't know why people who talk and talk about nonsense things (like saying that the band's name isn't Kiss, but K.I.S.S.) related to the band don't stop criticizing and realize how good they can be when they really want to. Curiously, the more criticized they were, the more their fans loved them, and the more they were known around the world. Yes, they know how to play the game, Paul and Gene.
Despite general opinions and comments, no one can deny the fact that Kiss has a great merit in one aspect: the whole, the band, is much more than the sum of their parts (the integrants). This always happens on great bands, and this little fact is what sometimes makes out a glorious band from just a good one. And Kiss is a great band. None of the members is a prodigy, they are all decent musicians and professionals, but when gathered together they enhance themselves into this. Destroyer, their best and most varied album, which came after the highly successful Alive!, a double live album that showed the power they have in live shows, clearly one of Kiss strongest attributes. In Destroyer you will find Kiss at its best, and trying something different from their previous studio works. You can notice this with the start of the album, hearing the noise of a car in the intro of Detroit Rock City, and also in the choir of Great Expectations, just to give examples.
Every member is playing at its best, even when it’s known that the relationship between the band’s members was starting to wear out. In fact, Ace Frehley doesn’t play the guitar in Sweet Pain (guess what, the worst song in the album), they replaced him with Dick Wagner. However, guitar work throughout the whole record is amazing, being melodic when it has to, but not because of that leaving its hard rocking essence, and providing always excellent solos. Drummer Peter Criss does one of his best performances ever here, and not only drumming, but singing on Beth, one of the commercial successes. He never misses a single beat and sometimes he really shines, not soloing nor playing like mad, but doing what the situation requires in an excellent way, not with difficult or impossible beats, but with much strength and simplicity. Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, 2nd guitarist and bassist respectively, and both excellent singers (especially Paul), are the main songwriters and also the men who made possible an album like this. After all, Peter and Ace didn’t always agree with Paul and Gene, but when you listen to the album, it’s impossible to imagine something like that, really.
Another remarkable improvement is the album’s production, the instruments sound cleaner than ever, much more “polished”. Bob Ezrin did a good job here. His hand is noticeable, and very useful, and it helped Kiss to do what they wanted to do, this different album.
The album kicks off with the funny intro of Detroit Rock City, a hard rock anthem, about fans who died in a car crash. My personal favorite song of the album, amazing drums and vocals by Paul, and a great guitar solo from Ace. Your money is worth just for this song. Then we have King of the Night Time World, a pretty good song with excellent chorus and solo, like Flaming Youth. Both songs are sung by Paul. Shout It Out Loud is a great song with a catchy riff and chorus, maybe a bit commercial but great anyway. Do You Love Me? it’s a nice song, also with good drums carrying the song, and a quite enjoyable melodic passage. Great Expectations and Beth are the slowest songs. The former one is the most experimental song on the album, with a particular choir and different instruments like the piano, and nice guitar work. Beth is a proper ballad, with Peter taking the microphone here. It was a major success, and I must reckon that is a very nice song. It’s just piano, violin and vocals, only 2:47 long, but still a very good ballad. Sweet Pain is the only track I don’t enjoy so much. It’s not bad, it’s a good song, and that’s it. You’ll enjoy it and maybe it’s just me who doesn’t like it as much as the others. But I want to make clear that it’s a good track and it’s not a filler, definitely. And then, God of Thunder. Composed by Paul, but sung by Gene, it’s an amazing song, my second favorite after Detroit Rock City. The main riff it’s simple, but mighty, and Gene’s voice gives a great atmosphere to the song. The drums are very good too, and the solo is one of the best Kiss ever did.
Destroyer is an album every guy who likes Rock should own. Every member has its merit here, and every track is enjoyable. Maybe they aren’t the most talented musicians there are, but managed to form one of the best band ever, combining the best of each, and Destroyer is clearly one of the best Kiss albums, if not the best. If you haven’t listened to Kiss yet, this is a good album to start, but take into account that it’s the most experimental one. THIS RECORD is what I expect from a Rock album. So I give it 5/5.
Detroit Rock City
God of Thunder
Shout it Out Loud
Kiss line-up (Destroyer):
Paul Stanley – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Gene Simmons – Lead Vocals, Bass
Ace Frehley – Lead Guitar
Peter Criss – Lead Vocals, Drums