Ok. Here’s another edition of one of Kiss’ albums. They have already released their whole back catalogue as remasters and even though there were a slight upgrading in the mastering department, they really didn’t differ that much from the originals. So at first glimpse, this looked like just another one of Gene Simmons’ cash-in things. But it turned out that neither Gene or Paul Stanley had anything to do with this whole re-mix idea. It was none other than original producer Bob Ezrin who realized he had all the original master tapes and wanted to upgrade the recordings with a new mix that would, he thought, spice it up several levels. Gene and Paul didn’t hesitate and gave Ezrin permission to get to work on the project.
It takes just one listen to the album to realise that he has done a great job. The overall sound is not only clearer, but also bigger. And all the instruments are perfectly separated which makes it easier to hear everything that were recorded, which really wasn’t the case when the album first came out in 1976. Mostly, it’s the bass and drums that has gotten a touch-up and has been lifted higher in the mix, but also the background vocals and the orchestration are more in your face. Both “Detroit Rock City” and “God Of Thunder” are really bombastic and almost punches you when you listen to them and “Great Expectations”, with all its strings and horns done justice, is the album’s true winner. However, one mistake has slipped through here. One beat is missing at the beginning of “Flaming Youth”. How on earth Ezrin let that one slip is beyond me as it is very easy to hear. Even if you don’t know the song, you’ll probably notice it as it just sounds wrong. Also, acoustic guitars now appears on “Beth”. Apparently they were recorded for the original version, but were, for some reason removed. Even though they are in the background, they actually make a big difference and to my ears, they should always have been there.
And as bonus track we get “Sweet Pain” with Ace Frehley’s guitar solo on it. It’s been known for ages that it is Dick Wagener who plays the solo on that song on the original recording, but now we finally get to hear Ace’s version of it. Let me put it this way, once you hear it, it’s crystal clear why they wanted Wagener to re-do it. Ace’s solo is plain dreadful. Another thing that has never been revealed is that it wasn’t only Ace who had parts removed from this album. It has now come to public knowledge that one of Ezrin’s musicians, Allen Schwartzberg, plays drums on some of the tracks. Which songs aren’t known, though. Allen later turned up to play on Simmons’ solo album and on Kiss’ The Elder. As a bonus, the album comes out with the original cover. Apparently, this cover was too violent for the record company, so the artist, Ken Kelly, had to repaint it. It’s a cool thing to use that one, but in all honesty, I can’t really grasp why that cover was seen as more violent than the one that was used.
As a final note, all I can say is that, in my book, this re-mix is a big success. Bob Ezrin has made a great sounding album sound brilliant. This is the way it SHOULD sound. Destroyer has always been a fantastic album. Now it is more fantsastic. Apart from the “Flaming Youth” slip, which is the reason this album didn’t get a 10/10 rating.
Now if somebody please could get to work on their three first albums as well. Those really needs an upgrade – Badly
Jon Wilmenius (9/10)
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
9. Do You Love Me?
Sweet Pain (Original Guitar Solo)