40 years ago today Kiss unleashed their most powerful and likely one of their most definitive studio records, Destroyer. Yes, only 40 short years ago Bob Ezrin was walking up the stairs to do an interview with City TV in Toronto while Kiss was walking down them, decked out head to toe in their personas. Ezrin had introduced himself, letting the band know that if they ever needed anything to just give him a call- and about three months later Kiss manager Bill Aucoin was on the phone ready to make a new record. That “new record” was Destroyer and became one of the band’s most identifiable albums with songs that have stood the test of time.
Destroyer was Kiss’ third sequential Top 40 album, and was the first of their albums to go platinum. Bob Ezrin produced the album at Electric Lady Studios in New York City; Ezrin introduced many new production elements to the band. Among these elements are string/orchestral flourishes, sound effects such as screaming children and reversed drums. The album features some of Kiss’ most identifiable songs- “Shout It Out Loud”, “Beth” and “Detroit Rock City”.
Initially the album sold well, however the reviews were not always the best. Rolling Stone referred to the album as having “pedestrian drumming” and “bloated ballads”. Alongside that was Robert Christgau for the Village Voice who stated that it was Kiss’ “least interesting record” to date. Thanks to radio stations beginning to play the B-side of the ‘Detroit Rock City’ single, Destroyer finally started to sell as expected. To everyone’s surprise the Peter Criss led ballad, ‘Beth’, helped to get the record off the ground more so than any other song and became Kiss’ first Top 10 hit.
Destroyer introduced Kiss’ new sound and displayed that the band was straying away from the raw sound that can be heard on Hotter Than Hell and Dressed to Kill. The album has been certified double platinum in the US and hasn’t stopped selling copies since it’s release.