The pressure was on Kiss
for their fifth release, and the band knew it. Their breakthrough, Alive!
, was going to be hard to top, so instead of trying to recreate a concert setting in the studio, they went the opposite route. Destroyer
is one of Kiss
' most experimental studio albums, but also one of their strongest and most interesting. Alice Cooper
producer Bob Ezrin
was on hand, and he strongly encouraged the band to experiment -- there's extensive use of sound effects (the album's untitled closing track), the appearance of a boy's choir ("Great Expectations"), and an orchestra-laden, heartfelt ballad ("Beth"). But there's plenty of Kiss
' heavy thunder rock to go around, such as the demonic "God of Thunder" and the sing-along anthems "Flaming Youth," "Shout It Out Loud," "King of the Night Time World," and "Detroit Rock City" (the latter a tale of a doomed concert-goer, complete with violent car-crash sound effects). But it was the aforementioned Peter Criss
ballad, "Beth," that made Destroyer
such a success; the song was a surprise Top Ten hit (it was originally released as a B-side to "Detroit Rock City"). Also included is a song that Nirvana
would later cover ("Do You Love Me?"), as well as an ode to the pleasures of S&M, "Sweet Pain." Destroyer
also marked the first time that a comic-book illustration of the band appeared on the cover, confirming that the band was transforming from hard rockers to superheroes.