Kiss - "Destroyer Resurrected" CD Review ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kiss - "Destroyer Resurrected" CD Review

Kiss - 'Destroyer Resurrected' CD Review
I really wanted to write this album off as a cash grab after the planned 2CD deluxe reissue of Destroyer got scrapped and the 'Resurrected' edition adds just one bonus track - taking the original 34 minute release up to a running time of just over 37 minutes. What makes it hard to dismiss this release is that Bob Ezrin's remaster adds so much clarity and depth to the music that I'll probably toss out my original edition of Destroyer, which sounds compressed and muddy by comparison.

I'll come back to the sonic clarity momentarily but wanted to start by noted Ezrin's changes from the original recording:

- "Sweet Pain": A second version has been added as a bonus track which includes Ace Frehley's guitar solo as, evidently, the guitar solo on the original issue was played by Dick Wagner (from Alice Cooper's band). Unfortunately, this track serves just as a historical reference as Wagner's solo is more recognizable and distinctive. What is somewhat strange though is that the Wagner track is the disc's "bonus track" while the version with Ace is slotted in the original running order.

- "Beth": There is a extra "Ohhh" added that is hard to catch if you aren't looking for it. (In an interview with KissFaq.Com, Ezrin says "There was some stuff Peter did -- that little "Ah ooh" at the end. It actually occurred twice on the master tape and I only used one of them.") The real treat is that you can hear Wagner's acoustic guitar work throughout the whole song rather than just at the end.

- "Detroit Rock City": Paul's vocals have been changed from "Movin' fast, Down 95" to "Movin' fast, doin' 95".

Lastly, the disc's cover art has been reverted back to Ken Kelly's rejected art for Destroyer.

Getting back to the disc's sound quality - the remastered album is louder than the original though not 'bricked'. The separation between the instruments is significantly improved and the bass and drum tracks sound like they have been brought forward giving the disc a clean and crisp bottom-end. The orchestral instrumentation is much more distinctive ("Beth") and the non-traditional instruments (harpsichord and calliope) have also been pulled out from the original disc's wall of effects and give additional color and depth to the music. Lastly, the backing vocals and harmonies on "Great Expectations", "God of Thunder" and "Sweet Pain" have also been brought up in the mix.

While audio purists may liken Ezrin's remaster to the coloring of "Citizen Kane", the end result is that Ezrin has breathed new life into Destroyer. After all the 'throw-away' pseudo-remasters that have come out over the last twenty years, this is the first remaster where I think it is worth considering replacing a previously purchased CD.