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Kiss's heavy glam sound expanded with choirs, strings and sound effects on this 1976 album (a #11 LP). The ballad Beth was the smash, but Detroit Rock City ; the hit Flaming Youth , and God of Thunder gave fans more raging rockers to love!
With their 1976 album Destroyer, the band's fifth release in two years, Kiss began to expand their fan base by shedding a bit of their edge, taking on a more melodic sound and a less menacing image. The Peter Criss ballad "Beth," written for his wife, is the most sentimental love ballad the group ever recorded, and songs like "Detroit Rock City" and "Shout It Out Loud" had the kind of arena-rock punch that kept subscriptions to the Kiss Army at an all-time high. Despite, or because of, the blatantly commercial direction the band seemed to be heading in, 1976 was the most creatively rewarding period in its lengthy career. In addition to releasing Destroyer, the band pumped out the equally touted album Rock and Roll Over, which included the pounding "Take Me" and the groovin' "Calling Dr. Love." The only finer year was 1978, when the band starred in the classic B-grade flick Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park. --Jon Wiederhorn
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Cons: Unnecessarily delayed for over a year! Promises of a double CD were broken.
When Gene Simmons was first quoted that there would be an anniversary album for their 1976 classic release Destroyer, I was excited and raring to go out and get my copy. Gene had mentioned this back in the beginning of 2011; it was to be the 35th anniversary of the release. Then, the year came and went, and the rumor mill took over and confusingly changed the number to the 25th anniversary. KISS fans can do math and wondered how 1987 was the 25th anniversary of an album release 11 years earlier. Some rudely speculated that it had meant that this was the 25th anniversary since the album was released on CD. What kind of stupid logic is that? In 2012, Gene had casually mentioned that this release would be a double CD, with rare and unreleased songs on the second disc. I had found this idea implausible as the band would probably have to pay Peter Criss and Ace Frehley money do to this music being released finally. The final product is a single disc, with one extra song only and liner notes written by Bob Ezrin who returned to the idea that this was once again the 35th anniversary.
The artwork and expanded CD booklet are two big bonuses that I can appreciate very much. It is filled with very rare pictures that no one has seen, showing KISS in the studio with Ezrin and an orchestra. Whoever (Jo Almeida) had put together this booklet made sure to only include pictures of KISS wearing their 1976 costumes, the ones that are illustrated on the original Destroyer album. On Resurrected, it shows the band dressed in their 1975 outfits which can be seen on the cover of their Alive! album.
Resurrection is a complete rarity in music, a true remix, not remaster of classic rock music. The difference is that a remaster is a sonic improvement from the stereo mix of the album. A remix is going all the way back to the original tracks, in this instance, the 16 track digital master and messing around with the sound and levels. Resurrection is essentially a remix with Bob Ezrin rebalancing the instruments and vocals, as well as bringing about things that were either omitted or buried in the original recording. Bob Ezrin really went to town while revisiting the archived digital tracks. Some songs show his tinkering more than others. Ezrin has stated that despite the fact that the bass and drums were always sharing the same track, with today’s technology it was possible to signal out each instrument and enhance it to a clearer level. The legendary opener Detroit Rock City exhibits the new punchiness that the original had buried in the mix. Ezrin for years was criticized for adding reverb and echo directly onto the recording instead of adding them later; this was always a hindrance whenever KISS put out an anthology or greatest hits compilation because it was hard to achieve a semblance of sonic continuity when the Destroyer classics always sounded so different from the rest of the songs. The revving of the car’s engine as well as the wreck at the end of the song are brought slightly closer to the fore for the sake of drama I suppose.
While Ezrin makes a point that while there are some differences throughout the album, all the music is original, nothing is added from KISS today or other musicians. So when you hear King of the Night Time World and you hear the not so subtle differences, rest assured it’s still just KISS. Ezrin added the dual guitar lead that takes place at the end of the song into the usual spot (1:36) for Ace’s guitar solo. He then adds the solo to play over and over coming in after the second chorus until the song’s fade out. Was it necessary to change the song so drastically? In my opinion, it’s a cool and acceptable move because most people won’t even notice this because it is still so familiar sounding anyway, and it just gives the song an extra dynamic to it. If this was how the original track was, I probably wouldn’t like it as much as it seems to include too much all at once. Yet because we still have the original, it makes it nice to have this version too. Just as the noise of the car in Detroit Rock City was pushed more to the front, the same goes with God of Thunder and its demonic growls and children playing is more audible than before. Gene Simmons’ ultimate theme song now sounds more evil than ever; the amazing riff that is played through the song conjures up images of the bat demon descending an impossible flight of stairs reaching unknown heights down the side of his mountain lair as thunder and lightning accent his movements and demonic children accompany him as cherubs would follow their Lord.
The biggest news coming from Resurrected is that the original guitar solo performed by Ace Frehley is reinstated to Gene’s song Sweet Pain. On a day when Ace hadn’t showed up due to a poker game, Bob Ezrin decided to redo the guitar solo with Alice Cooper’s guitarist Dick Wagner. Ezrin, who had produced Alice Cooper in the past was probably just employing his friends, putting them on Casablanca’s payroll, and it had nothing to do with Ace’s performance. Even Gene and Paul had backed Ezrin’s story for years saying that his “performance” wasn’t that good and needed to be redone. Since Ace was busy partying, they got Wagner in there. Now Ezrin thirty six years later hangs out Paul and Gene to dry with the liner notes quote “..we found a whole new solo for Sweet Pain which I think is really exciting.” Ace is finally redeemed here, even though the solo itself isn’t anything special, it does show a different side to Ace. It looks like the Spaceman was telling the truth all along. Who knew? As a bonus track, the original Sweet Pain is tacked on the end with Dick’s original solo.
Peter Criss’s gentle and lush ballad Beth was always a sore spot for me on the album. It was always such a downer, with the minor chords, the piano and the orchestral backdrop. Now with Dick Wagner’s (yeah him again) acoustic guitar put back into the mix, as well as bringing the piano slightly forward, the orchestra now sounds uplifting. It’s such a huge change, with so little changing really. Peter Criss had a vocal that was originally deleted going into the solo that mirrored the note at the very end. This is put back in and it also helps the song. This new version is vastly superior to the original. If you are skeptical on how Ezrin was able to manipulate the drum sound, listen to the drum intro for Do You Love Me. The snare now sounds like the snare on Rock and Roll Over, produced by Eddie Kramer. Peter Criss’s drum sound that was achieved by placing Peter in the bathroom on albums like Rock and Roll Over and Love Gun was an inspiration for the next generation of rock and roll drummers.
Admittedly I was initially very disappointed that Gene Simmons had lied again and again about what this new Destroyer was going to be like and when it was coming out, I now have grown to like it very much. I love the new clarity, the new punch the backbeat owns and I like most of the new arrangements. Beth is certainly a huge improvement, while King of the Night Time World is a bit too much tinkering. What about the whole notion of changing the cover? I don’t mind it; it distinguishes itself in my CD collection from the original Destroyer. I don’t like that they are wearing the Alive! outfits, for me this is simply looks like an error. On the other hand, the 18-page (or nineteen depending on how you count), CD booklet is amazing. Bob Ezrin’s narrative is fantastic, as well as the black and white and color pictures. It is definitely worth picking up despite all of the bloggers who tell you that it’s not that much different, do they have ears or what? This is an all-out must have for KISS fans everywhere, get yours now.
Length: 37:59 minutes
Released: August 21st,2012
Rating: 4½ stars
1. Detroit Rock City
2. King of the Knight Time World
3. God of Thunder
4. Great Expectations
5. Flaming Youth
6. Sweet Pain (w/Ace)
7. Shout It Out Loud
9. Do You Love Me
10. (Rock and Roll Party) Outro
11. Sweet Pain (w/Dick Wagner)
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 favorite 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.
It also, for myself, resolves the feud of why they used Dick Wagner's solo instead of Ace's on Sweet Pain (i'd always heard it was Flaming Youth). I'm a HUMONGOUS Ace Frehley fan, but I've got to give props to Wager's solo. Ace's to me sounds half-assed at best and Wagners fits the song perfectly. On a side note it's funny this solo caused so much controversy ...its not a very good song LOL.
From a die hard fan ty ty ty Mr Ezrin for doing the seemingly impossible and improving on a classic.