Destroyer

KISS

Casablanca Records, 1976

http://wwww.kissonline.com

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/08/2006

Few things in the world are as rewarding as cracking open a beverage and cranking the stereo to 11 to hear a pure rock album. And when one thinks of the ultimate party rock band, only a few names come to mind. At the forefront of that list is Kiss.

I never owned any Kiss but I decided to check out Destroyer because of its supposed classic status. Wrong! I went into it expecting a good time but was sorely disappointed; the band's legendary live shows and energy do not transfer over. What you hear on Destroyermy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 is a band attempting to fly but seeing the plane explode on the runway.

"Detroit Rock City" manages to avoid the fate of its brethren; this is a wide, sweeping, epic rocker of sorts. The lyrics especially are more serious than usual, detailing the death of a Kiss fan and his way to a show. The uptempo nature of the track may bely its meaning, but the song just flat-out rocks anyway. "Shout It Out Loud" in my opinion is its equal; Gene Simmons' bass work on the track is unique, and of course the refrain is one of the most anthemic in rock history.

I'm unfortunately going to have side with criminal mastermind Chris Thelen on this one; the album sounds lousy. Considering that Bob Ezrin, producer for all those wonderful Alice Cooper albums and Pink Floyd's The Wall was at the helm, I'm disappointed. The rock numbers suffer from a muddy sound ("Great Expectations,") though a few tracks like "Beth" manage to break through on pure quality alone. Speaking of "Beth," you cannot help but like it. It's the polar opposite of what Kiss had been to this point; a sugary, sweet ballad with no guitar? Gah! However, its sweetness is what saves the track. As far as romantic bonbons go, it works.

In addition to the production, there's the little matter of "Outro." I believe it was supposed to be the close of the concert that the main character in "Detroit Rock City" was going to see, but it's unclear and poorly conceptualized. "God Of Thunder" clearly is Kiss trying to be Alice Cooper, and what becomes even more apparent is that Alice did it better. "Great Expectations" is an interesting attempt at Kiss creating an epic, but as I mentioned before it suffers horribly from the production. Let's just say it's not "The Prophet's Song."

Destroyer is not a horrible album, and if it was somebody else I might have rated it higher. However, this is Kiss; you know, the band behind the Kiss action figures, the Kiss lunchbox, the Kiss flamethrower etc. They have become bigger than life as their career has transpired, and I expected the music to match that. It didn't.

Rating: C+

User Rating: A-


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© 2006 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Casablanca Records, and is used for informational purposes only.