3. 'Destroyer' (1976)
Alive! established Kiss as the Hottest (Live) Band in the World, and they chose to follow it by doing a virtual 180, offering up their most indulgent studio creation to that point. With Alice Cooper/Lou Reed producer Bob Ezrin in tow for Destroyer, the arrangements became more intricate and the sounds more diverse, with the band and producer introducing strings ("Beth"), car crash noises ("Detroit Rock City") and even the Brooklyn Boys Chorus ("Great Expectations") into the mix. Add in the Simmons calling card (though Stanley-penned) "God of Thunder," the soon-to-be live staple "Shout It Out Loud" and the positively explosive "King of the Night Time World," and you have an album that shows Kiss at the top of their game, even as cracks were beginning to appear — session ace Dick Wagner was brought in to track some guitar parts (on "Sweet Pain" and "Beth") after Ace Frehley failed to show up to the studio.