KISS – Destroyer 42 Years Old Today

The fourth studio album by American rock band Kiss, released on March 15, 1976 by Casablanca Records in the US. It was the third successive Kiss album to reach the top 40 in the US. The album was certified gold by the RIAA on April 22, 1976, and platinum on November 11 of the same year, the first Kiss album to achieve platinum.

The band only achieved moderate success with their first three studio albums whilst building their status as a spectacular live act.  Kiss achieved a commercial breakthrough with the 1975 double live album Alive! It was the first album by the band to be certified gold and stayed in the US charts for 110 weeks and benefited not only the struggling band but their cash-strapped label. Kiss signed a new, two-year contract with Casablanca in late 1975, partly because the label had been very supportive from the start of the band’s career.

Producer Bob Ezrin who had previously worked with Alice Cooper was brought in to produce the album. Among the production flourishes Ezrin introduced to Kiss were sound effects, strings, screaming children, reversed drums (on “God of Thunder”) and a children’s choir. Destroyer was the first Kiss album to prominently feature outside musicians including The New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the guitarist Dick Wagner from Alice Cooper’s band who replaced Ace Frehley on ‘Sweet Pain’ and adding acoustic guitar to the orchestral ballad ‘Beth’ which featured drummer Peter Criss on vocals.

The now iconic album artwork was created by fantasy artist Ken Kelly who had produced the Rainbow Rising cover. The band liked it so much they asked him to work on the artwork for their 1977 Love Gun album.

The commercial success of the album enabled the band to embark on its first European tour which included four dates in the UK, two of which were at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in May 1976

The album eventually peaked at Number 22 in the UK album charts.

Line Up –

Gene Simmons – Bass & vocals

Paul Stanley – Guitar & Vocals

Ace Frehley – Guitar

Peter Criss – Drums & Vocals on ‘Beth’

Tracklisting –

  1. Detroit Rock City
  2. King Of The Night Time World
  3. God Of Thunder
  4. Great Expectations
  5. Flaming Youth
  6. Sweet Pain
  7. Shout It Out Loud
  8. Beth
  9. Do You Love Me

Text by Phil Ashdown

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