Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Review: KISS Destroyer 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition

On November 19, the 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition of Destroyer, KISS’ quintessential album, is unleashed upon the world. UMe is releasing multiple versions: a Super Deluxe 4-CD + Blu-ray Audio box set, a standard double black vinyl, limited edition yellow and red double colored vinyl, a 2-CD set, and digital. I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of the Super Deluxe Edition of Destroyer. Read on for my thoughts on this album and whether or not it’s worth buying.

CD 1 includes the original album newly remastered at Abbey Road Mastering, while CD 2 features 15 demos from Paul Stanley’s and Gene Simmons’s personal archives – 9 of which are unreleased. CD 3 is packed with studio outtakes, alternate versions / mixes and single edits – most notably a brand-new stripped-down mix for “Beth (Acoustic Mix),” and CD 4 contains an electrifying performance from the band’s visit to Paris France at the L’Olympia on May 22, 1976. For the Blu-ray Audio disc, Steven Wilson was brought in to create a first-ever Dolby Atmos and 5.1 surround mix of the original studio album plus 2 bonus tracks “Beth (Acoustic Mix)” and “Sweet Pain (Original Guitar Solo)” the latter featuring Ace Frehley’s original recorded guitar solo that was not released on the studio album (this track is available on the 2012 Destroyer: Resurrected project.) 

Additionally, the Super Deluxe box features an extravagant array of collectable KISS memorabilia and ephemera, including a complete recreation of the original KISS Army Kit with the original folder and following items: 

  • KISS Army newsletter Volume 1 – No 2 announcing Destroyer 
  • 2x 8”x10” Destroyer Press Photos
  • Discography Sheet 
  • Gene, Paul, Ace & Peter Bio Sheet
  • KISS Army Member Certificate 
  • KISS Army Membership Card 

Also included in the Super Deluxe set: 

  • KISS logo Iron-on
  • KISS Army Sticker
  • “Detroit Rock City” Bumper Sticker
  • Destroyer Cover Sticker
  • 11”x17” KISS on Westminster Bridge UK Poster
  • 4 brand new 8”x10” Band Member Photos
  • 8”x12” Destroyer Foil Flyer 
  • 8”x12” Destroyer Canadian Flyer (super rare)
  • 4x Band Member Trading Cards (newly created for this boxset) 
  • 16”x24” KISS Over New York Skyline Poster
  • 16”x24” KISS Halloween 1976 Concert Poster
  • 2x 9”x12” Destroyer Tour Stage Blueprints on Transparent Vellum (never been seen before) 
  • 16-page Destroyer 1976 Tour Program 
  • Gotham Rock City News Volume 1 Newspaper that is a track-by-track interview with all 4 band members, Bob Ezrin and crew 
  • 68-page hardcover book with extensive liner notes by Paul Elliott & Ken Sharp featuring interviews from Gene, Paul, Ace, Peter, then-manager Bill Aucoin, album producer Bob Ezrin, and many more about the album’s writing and production process, U.S. and European tours, photo shoots, promotional stories, band member memories from their TV appearance on The Paul Lynde Halloween Special, and an intoxicating amount of unreleased photos and imagery 

The entire contents are housed in a lift top- style box and features artist Ken Kelly’s original Destroyer cover art, arguably one of the most iconic album covers in rock, making this the ultimate KISS Destroyer souvenir.

SUPER DELUXE TRACK LIST: 

DISC ONE: 

DESTROYER: Original Album Remastered 

  1. Detroit Rock City
  2. King of The Night Time World
  3. God of Thunder
  4. Great Expectations
  5. Flaming Youth
  6. Sweet Pain
  7. Shout It Out Loud
  8. Beth
  9. Do You Love Me?

DISC TWO 

DESTROYER-ERA: Demos 

PAUL STANLEY DEMOS 

  1. Doncha Hesitate
  2. God Of Thunder And Rock And Roll
  3. It’s The Fire*
  4. Detroit Rock City*
  5. Love Is Alright*

GENE SIMMONS DEMOS 

  1. Bad, Bad Lovin’
  2. Man Of A Thousand Faces
  3. I Don’t Want No Romance*
  4. Burnin’ Up With Fever*
  5. Rock N’ Rolls Royce*
  6. Mad Dog
  7. Night Boy*
  8. Star*
  9. Howlin’ For Your Love*
  10. True Confessions

DISC THREE
DESTROYER: Outtakes, Alternate Versions / Mixes, Single Edits 

  1. Beth (Acoustic Mix)*2. Shout It Out Loud (Single Edit)
  2. Flaming Youth (Single Edit)
  3. Detroit Rock City (Single Edit)
  4. Shout It Out Loud (Mono Single Edit)
  5. Flaming Youth (Mono Single Edit)
  6. Detroit Rock City (Mono Single Edit)
  7. Beth (Mono)
  8. King Of The Night Time World (Live Rehearsal Instrumental)*
  9. Do You Love Me? (Mono Instrumental)*
  10. God Of Thunder (Early Instrumental Mix)*
  11. Ain’t None Of Your Business (Instrumental)*
  12. Detroit Rock City (Instrumental)*
  13. King Of The Night Time World (Alternate Mix)*
  14. Great Expectations (Early Version)*
  15. Flaming Youth (Early Version)*
  16. Do You Love Me? (Early Version)*
  17. Shout It Out Loud (Alternate Mix)*
  18. Ain’t None Of Your Business (Outtake)*
  19. Beth (Take 6 – Instrumental)*
  20. Beth (Instrumental)*
  21. Do You Love Me? (Alternate Mix)*

DISC FOUR
LIVE IN PARIS – L’Olympia – 22 May, 1976* 

  1. Deuce
  2. Strutter
  3. Flaming Youth
  4. Hotter Than Hell
  5. Firehouse
  6. She / Ace Frehley Guitar Solo
  7. Nothin’ To Lose
  8. Shout It Out Loud / Gene Simmons Bass Solo
  9. 100,000 Years / Peter Criss Drum Solo
  10. Black Diamond
  11. Detroit Rock City
  12. Rock and Roll All Nite

BLU-RAY AUDIO:
DESTROYER: *Dolby Atmos 48kHz 24-bit, *Dolby True HD 5.1 96kHz 24-bit, 

DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 96kHz 24-bit, PCM Stereo 96kHz 24-bit

  1. Detroit Rock City
  2. King Of The Night Time World
  3. God Of Thunder
  4. Great Expectations
  5. Flaming Youth
  6. Sweet Pain
  7. Shout It Out Loud
  8. Beth
  9. Do You Love Me?

Bonus Tracks:

  1. Beth (Acoustic)
  2. Sweet Pain (Original Guitar Solo)

*Previously unreleased

DELUXE EDITION 2CD TRACK LIST: 

DISC ONE 

DESTROYER 

Original Album Remastered 

  1. Detroit Rock City
  2. King of The Night Time World
  3. God of Thunder
  4. Great Expectations
  5. Flaming Youth
  6. Sweet Pain
  7. Shout It Out Loud
  8. Beth
  9. Do You Love Me?

DISC TWO 

PAUL STANLEY DEMOS 

  1. God Of Thunder And Rock And Roll
  2. Detroit Rock City*
  3. Love Is Alright*

GENE SIMMONS DEMOS 

  1. God Of Thunder And Rock And Roll
  2. Detroit Rock City*
  3. Love Is Alright*
  4. I Don’t Want No Romance*
  5. Rock N’ Rolls Royce*
  6. Star*

RARITIES 

  1. Beth (Acoustic Mix)*
  2. Shout It Out Loud (Mono Single Edit)
  3. King Of The Night Time World (Live Rehearsal Instrumental)*
  4. Detroit Rock City (Instrumental)*
  5. Flaming Youth (Early Version)*
  6. Shout It Out Loud (Alternate Mix)*

LIVE IN PARIS – L’Olympia – May 22, 1976* 

  1. Deuce
  2. Strutter
  3. Flaming Youth
  4. Hotter Than Hell

 *Previously Unreleased 

DELUXE EDITION 2LP TRACK LIST: 

LP ONE 

DESTROYER 

Original Album Remastered 

Side One 

  1. Detroit Rock City
  2. King of The Night Time World
  3. God of Thunder
  4. Great Expectations

Side Two 

  1. Flaming Youth
  2. Sweet Pain
  3. Shout It Out Loud
  4. Beth
  5. Do You Love Me?

LP TWO 

Side Three 

PAUL STANLEY DEMOS 

  1. God Of Thunder And Rock And Roll
  2. Detroit Rock City*
  3. Love Is Alright*

GENE SIMMONS DEMOS 

  1. I Don’t Want No Romance*
  2. Rock N’ Rolls Royce*
  3. Star*

Side Four 

RARITIES 

  1. Beth (Acoustic Mix)*
  2. Shout It Out Loud (Mono Single Edit)
  3. King Of The Night Time World (Live Rehearsal Instrumental)*
  4. Detroit Rock City (Instrumental)*
  5. Flaming Youth (Early Version)*
  6. Shout It Out Loud (Alternate Mix)*

*Previously Unreleased 

DOLBY ATMOS – STREAMING 

DESTROYER: *Dolby Atmos 48kHz 24-bit

  1. Detroit Rock City
  2. King Of The Night Time World
  3. God Of Thunder
  4. Great Expectations
  5. Flaming Youth
  6. Sweet Pain
  7. Shout It Out Loud
  8. Beth
  9. Do You Love Me?

Bonus Tracks: 

  1. Beth (Acoustic Mix)
  2. Sweet Pain (Original Guitar Solo)

* Previously unreleased

DISC-BY-DISC REVIEW

Disc 1: DESTROYER: Original Album Remastered

The first CD is the original Destroyer album, newly remastered at Abbey Road Mastering. Bob Ezrin’s production has never sounded so clear, especially while wearing headphones. Destroyer sounds more dynamic and vibrant than ever, making this the highest quality version of the album available to date. A superb way to kick off this comprehensive set celebrating KISS’ most iconic studio album.

Disc 2: DESTROYER-ERA: Demos

The second CD is where business starts to pick up. Most KISS fans are interested in unreleased material, and that’s exactly what we have here. There are five Paul Stanley demos and 10 by Gene Simmons. This is reflective of their approach to music: Paul is concerned with quality, while Gene seems to be focused on quantity. This doesn’t come as a shock, as Gene released a massive box set of unused material a few years back: The Vault. Some of these demos have appeared on other releases but most have not. I love the demos that are present, and, of the new ones, a few of my favorites include “It’s The Fire,” “I Don’t Want No Romance,” and “Rock N’ Rolls Royce.” It’s a wonderful collection of early versions of songs, as well as those that never came to fruition.

Disc 3: DESTROYER: Outtakes, Alternate Versions / Mixes, Single Edits

On the third CD, we’ve got a mix of intriguing and pedestrian material. The single edits and mono tracks don’t provide much value. Instead, I prefer the outtakes and instrumental tracks, especially “Beth” and “Ain’t None Of Your Business.” Almost all of the first eight songs are skippable, while the second half is where you’ll find the meat and potatoes. That said, I have no problem with the inclusion of the single edits and mono tracks. More is always better, but when it’s juxtaposed with more compelling material, it’s hard not to notice.

Disc 4: LIVE IN PARIS – L’Olympia – 22 May, 1976

This impressive set closes out with a CD capturing a live concert from 1976, with KISS in all its resplendent glory. It’s not a perfect recording, but it’s high quality nonetheless, and a few audio hiccups here and there lends authenticity to the anthropological nature of listening to this concert 45 years later. It’s a fun setlist that only runs for 12 songs, including solos for the band members. KISS is known for the energy and bombast of its live shows, so this is a fitting way to end this collection.

I should note that I don’t have access to the Blu-ray Audio version of Destroyer, which is included in the physical box set, but I look forward to giving it a listen in the future.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Destroyer 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition album is a spectacular set celebrating KISS’ definitive studio record. Finally, after many years of waiting, fans can enjoy a proper deluxe edition, replete with unreleased material, from both the studio and stage. Better yet, if you buy the box set, you get a wide assortment of goodies, including a 68-page book, filled with liner notes from band members and those involved with the creation of Destroyer. This book, which I’ve read, is filled with fascinating insights, stories, photos, hand-written notes, and more. The Destroyer 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition is a veritable treasure trove for KISS fans to enjoy, and I highly recommend that all of you take this trip down memory lane. Regardless of whether you were alive in 1976 or are a newly minted fan, there’s plenty here for the KISS Army to enjoy.

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One thought on “Review: KISS Destroyer 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition

  1. Carol ROSS-DURBOROW on said:

    You might find my name and/or my company’s name / carol ross- the press office – remember this so well

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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