|KISS - 'Destroyer: Resurrected' (UMC)|
|Written by Fraser Munro|
|Monday, 20 August 2012 04:00|
Bat winged bass playing windbag Gene Simmons has touted every KISS album since the original release of 'Destroyer' back in March 1976, as "the new Destroyer", so in a way KISS has finally delivered what they have promised so many times with this release, "the new 'Destroyer'.... resurrected."
So how to approach this? Slap it on and see if the 'resurrection' of Kiss' 1976 classic blows me away I guess... but, straight up no this version doesn't blow me away. Obviously the album is jammed packed with classic Kiss tunes, but even though I haven't listened to the original studio release in ages it just kinda sounds like exactly how I remember it.
It's a funny thing that the albums that Gene constantly references when hyping a new album, namely 'Destroyer' and 'Creatures of the Night' are the two that they seem most unhappy with mix-wise and now both have warranted the remix and repackage treatment. In the case of 'Destroyer: Resurrected' producer Bob Ezrin has gone back to the original multi-track tapes he recorded at the New York's Record Plant Studios between September 1975 and February 1976 and completely re-mixed them. Taking that at face value it certainly sounds like a tasty KISS treat, a project that could actually add value to their extensive back catalogue, but I'm not really feeling the second coming here, perhaps there's a cleaner sound with a bit more acoustic guitar creeping through in places, but it's certainly not the epiphany I was expecting.
Most disappointing of all are the extras, or "extra" in this case. I'm sure there's more in the vaults than a second (near identical) version of 'Sweet Pain' with Ace's quite ordinary original solo re-inserted over the Dick Wagner version we've all grown up with.
I guess the other special feature of 'Destroyer: Resurrected' is the return of Ken Kelly's original cover art. The record company at the time rejected Kelly's original painting because they felt the scene was too violent looking with the rubble and flames. Also, the original version had the members of Kiss wearing the 'Alive-era' costumes, which had subsequently been redesigned. So it was back to the drawing board for young Ken but what he did come up with, the classic 'Destroyer' cover has adorned an album that sold by the bucket load, earning RIAA Gold status on 4/22/1976, Platinum on 11/11/1976 and finally Double-Platinum in 1996. Our boy Kelly would later go on to paint the cover for the 'Love Gun' album and go on to flog countless copies of his KISS related and inspired art at US conventions and KISS Expos from that day to this.
Much like with KISS themselves perhaps with this review I've fallen into the trap where the content has fallen to second place over the packaging, so I think I had better address that at least for those Uber Rockers who to their shame are not familiar with KISS' fourth studio outing 'Destroyer' (resurrected or not).
Just to put into context what a true classic of a KISS album 'Destroyer' is, 36 years on from its original release 6 of the 9 tracks on this hunk of plastic still regularly feature in the bands live show.
Kicking off with the classic 'Detroit Rock City' you immediately notice the Ezrin factor impacting on the quality of the band's song writing and performance. It's immense riff and singalong solo makes this a true KISS classic, and one that has featured in every KISS show since its release.
Next up is 'King Of The Night Time World', a song that is not only a cover tune but also a quick lesson in the power of big business. The track was originally written by Kim Fowley (he of Runaways fame) and Mark Anthony, the then manager and guitarist/vocalist, respectively, in the band The Hollywood Stars. Paul Stanley picked up on the track and in exchange for giving the song's composers co-writing credits and a pile of cash - took it as his own.
Third classic in a row comes in the shape of Gene's signature tune 'God Of Thunder'. Again this song was been given the full Ezrin effect, transforming it from an up-tempo Stanley sung funky number to a Simmons growled demon fest.
Finally on side one of the old vinyl LP we get to a comparatively weak number in the shape of 'Great Expectations' where Gene shows himself to be the Rex Harrison of rock as he struggles through this mid-tempo ode to how sexy he and his band are.
'Flaming Youth' kicks off side two with a great verse/average chorus combination, as does the okay-ish (but better than the previous two) 'Sweet Pain'. That's not to say that that these three tracks are not good, it's just they find themselves in truly great company.
'Shout It Out Loud' brings us back to the land of true KISS classics. Another track that has been the mainstay of any live KISS show for the best part of the last thirty plus years.
Next up is the - love it or hate it - Peter Criss ballad 'Beth'. I guess describing it as a Peter Criss tune is a bit of a stretch since co- (or should that be principle), songwriter Stan Penridge had to take his former musical partner and KISS to court to see the money he was due for his contribution to the track. That said Ezrin's contribution and writing credit is fully deserved in transforming what was otherwise an average and irritating tune going by the name of 'Beck' into what turned out to be the band's breakthrough hit and People's Choice award winning sappy classic.
The original album comes to a close with the classic 'Do You Love Me?' a track that not only gives Kim Fowley a second writing credit but would, four years later, provide Phil Lewis' Girl with their classic break through single.
Look generally I love reissues, re-masters and the expanded editions that record companies pump out in order to save their flagging industry, and for a while there I thoroughly enjoyed my trip down memory lane, but I can't help but wonder that with Amazon et al flogging 'Destroyer: Resurrected' for a fiver and the promised second disc of rarities never materialising, if it was all worth the effort after all?
To pick up your copy of 'Destroyer: Resurrected' - CLICK HERE