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CD Review
KISS - Destroyer Resurrected

KISS

Destroyer Resurrected
Record Label: Universal Music Company
Artist's Facebook
Review by Sal Serio
December 2012

Oh, how I remember 1976, when KISS’ “Destroyer” album was brand new! It was sometime earlier that year (or maybe late ’75) that I became aware of KISS, via WLS-AM from Chicago playing ‘Rock N Roll All Nite’ in regular rotation. After seeing those weird made up faces and comic book style costumes in the rock mags of the day, like Creem and Hit Parader, I finally bit the bullet and bought “Alive!” in mid-to-late ’76. That did it! KISS became The Beatles of my generation, and I went on a shopping spree to pick up the rest of their records. Oddly enough, even though “Destroyer” was the latest release, it took me forever to obtain a copy. All the stores were sold out of it! I did, however, quickly purchase the 45 of ‘Detroit Rock City’ b/w ‘Beth’, which long since got broken in half by an over-zealous punk rock DJ at WRST in Oshkosh in the early 80s… dammit! I don’t think that single edit of ‘Detroit Rock City’ has ever been re-released.

And so, here we are in 2012, and producer Bob Ezrin decided to revisit the “Destroyer” master tapes to release the “definitive” version, in lieu of the classic album’s 35th anniversary (never mind that it wasn’t issued until over 36 years since it’s original release). One would think, oh… great opportunity to reissue that ‘DRC’ single edit, right? How about a stripped down version of ‘Beth’ without the orchestration? How about some of the un-issued demos from that session, like ‘It’s None Of Your Business’ or the instrumental version of ‘King Of The Night Time World’ with the false starts? Surely Ezrin, Gene, and Paul would want the fans to have some extra gems if they were going to fork over the bucks to purchase the album YET AGAIN (this makes the 3rd time “Destroyer” has been released in CD format). Uh, sorry, Charlie. It was not to be.

To be fair, in the liner notes, Ezrin notes how the original 16 track masters had several instruments overlapped, so breaking down the separate tracks as he would’ve liked to, was not really possible. But surely the ‘Beth’ orchestra was recorded separately from Peter Criss’ vocal, Ezrin’s piano, and session man Dick Wagner’s acoustic guitar line? I, for one, would like to hear it without the strings!

What we do get is a somewhat louder and more modern sound… perhaps most noticeable on Criss’ booming bass drum in the intro to ‘Do You Love Me’, a couple extra vocal parts on ‘Beth’ and ‘DRC’, and Ace Frehley’s original whacked-out lead guitar part on ‘Sweet Pain’ (here one can see why Ezrin had Dick Wagner re-do it). In the case of ‘Shout It Out Loud’, the new version is actually inferior to the original, since the ending is edited way too sharply, and makes you feel like the tape ran out on the song.

Gene and Paul really annoy me sometimes. It always seems like they’re holding something back, and milking the fans for every last penny. Can you name any other band that has more “Greatest Hits” packages available?? I’m curious whether Peter and Ace are even making any money at all off of “Destroyer Resurrected”. I somehow doubt it, and Peter Criss wrote the biggest hit on the album! Without ‘Beth’ being pushed as a single, it was very likely in 1976 that “Destroyer” would’ve suffered from the same lackluster response as the first three KISS studio albums. I’m disgusted and disappointed at the current state of the KISS Nation. The ‘Flaming Youth’ has fizzled out!

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