by Bruce Middleton
Another CD I was eagerly awaiting. Bob Ezrin has gone back into the studio with the master tapes to the KISS classic album he recorded with the band in 1976 and remixed the whole thing. This should have been a fan’s dream … I know I certainly had very high hopes for it. The end result is a slightly different mix, making the album sound a little broader than before, but to me, not really adding anything to what has always been a great sounding 70’s album. Bob was in his prime as a producer back in the 70’s … those Alice Cooper albums he did are classics (gotta love Alice), and Destroyer was a great example of his ability to make a band shine in ways they never did before. The liner notes in this CD give Bob’s reasoning for going back to remix this album. For my money, I would have preferred he go back and completely remix KISS’ “The Elder” …. An album that split the fans in many ways, but an album I always loved. It just doesn’t “sound” very good. Better production could have made that album incredible (in my humble opinion) … but Bob was not at his best during that period, having completely burnt himself out just making “The Wall” with Pink Floyd.
OK … the remix of Destroyer ….. I hear lots of little sounds I don’t remember from before, but basically it’s the same basic mix as the original with a few differences. “Beth” sounds really nice with the acoustic guitar brought out a bit (it was buried in the original mix). “Sweet Pain” has the original Ace Frehley solo on it, which is just horrible. No wonder Ezrin had Dick Wagner (of Alice Cooper/Bob Ezrin fame) come in to redo it back in ’76. Nice to hear, but won’t have many repeat listens. You can really hear what Peter Criss is playing on “Detroit Rock City”, always a cool drum beat, but it really shines on this new mix. Peter was my first drum hero, although he really isn’t that great … nice to hear him stand out this way.
I love the album … always have, but this new version is not going to make me stop listening to the old one. My biggest complaint, and the same as legions of other KISS freaks like me, is that this was an opportunity wasted. The 36th anniversary of this classic and iconic album, and there is only one bonus track (the afore-mentioned “Sweet Pain” … the original version of it is also on the disc). They originally plugged this as being a 2 disc set with demos and such, many of which I have on bootlegs and would have sounded great in crisp quality, but no …. nothing else on this. A big let-down. Nice to see what was supposed to be the original painting on the cover before KISS got the new “Destroyer” outfits. But overall, this new release is meaningless. A lost opportunity. The band had nothing to do with this, as they do not hold the rights to their master tapes. This was all a record company decision.
Score : 9 out of 10 for the album (new or old … it’s a classic) …… 2 out of 10 for the vision behind this new release