Monday, December 1, 2014

The Greatest Album Is...Destroyer

Every band that has been around for a while and released great records runs into this debate; what is their greatest album? The greatest album is…is a column dedicated to tackling that age old question. What is the greatest album recorded by Kiss? Join with us now as the question is answered and arguments are made that the greatest Kiss album is Destroyer. 

After releasing their first live album, and one of the first double live records in the history of rock, Kiss went back into the studio to work on a record that was going to live up to their new found popularity. They were faced with a daunting task, but these four young, hungry New Yorkers were up for the challenge. Working with producer Bob Ezrin, Kiss entered the studio and came out with an album that not only exceeded expectations of all their fans, but also became what has been considered the greatest Kiss album ever recorded.

Destroyer is an absolute pleasure from start to finish. There is not a bad song on the record. From the opening introductory scene that sets up “Detroit Rock City,” to the final note of “Do You Love Me,” Destroyer is a masterpiece! Filled with themes of rock and roll superstardom, lusting groupies, and the rigors of life in a rock band, Destroyer is an album that resonates with hard rock fans throughout the world. It is an album that any fan who calls themselves a lover of hard rock music must own.

One of the many components that make Destroyer so amazing is the fact that it was written by all four members of the band. And while Ace Frehley doesn’t sing any lead vocals, he was the one who wrote the lyrics and melody for “Detroit Rock City.” Every member of the band came into the studio with something, looking for ways that they could contribute. Every member fought to deliver only their best work and to get it on the record. In the end, the fans were the biggest winners. Kiss had never worked as hard on an album. Not before and not since. Their hard work still holds up nearly 40 years later.

Destroyer sold well upon its release. The album was certified gold almost immediately, and initial sales in the first month were estimated around 850,000. However, by the end of the summer of 1976, sales of Destroyer stagnated and the album fell down the charts in rapid fashion. Critics were very hard on the record, slamming it for “pedestrian drumming,” and calling it the band’s “least interesting record.” Decades later, those same critics would be adding the record to the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and similar lists.

Destroyer does contain one of the greatest Kiss gems that most fans, die-hards included, seem to forget about. “Sweet Pain” could be one of the best Kiss songs ever recorded and yet it receives almost no fanfare. It is a mid tempo hard rocker, about the pleasure of pain, desire, and sexual tension. Written and performed by Gene Simmons, a majority of the Kiss Army forget this song exists, and several have written it off as filler or a throw away. Make no mistake about it, “Sweet Pain,” is anything but filler. If the band ever wanted to up their live performance, they would do well to dust off this beauty and give it a much deserved performance.

Song for song and note for note, Destroyer is Kiss’ finest piece of work. While there may be arguments for other Kiss records (Love Gun, Revenge, Dressed To Kill), it is Destroyer that stands above the rest. The band’s most beloved songs are present and accounted for. The overall fun factor of this record is through the roof, and if there was one Kiss album that anyone should own, it would be this one.

The greatest Kiss album is….Destroyer.

Vital Statistics
Released:  March 15, 1976
Produced by Bob Ezrin
RIAA Sales: 2x Platinum
Peak Position On US Charts: 11

Shout It Out Loud
Flaming Youth
Detroit Rock City

Track Listing
Detroit Rock City
King Of The Nighttime World
God Of Thunder
Great Expectations
Flaming Youth
Sweet Pain
Shout It Out Loud
Do You Love Me?

Band Members
Gene Simmons – Bass, Vocals
Paul Stanley – Guitar, Vocals
Ace Frehley – Lead Guitar
Peter Criss – Drums, Vocals

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