Destroyer is the fourth studio album by American rock band Kiss, released on March 15, 1976 in the US. It was the third successive Kiss album to reach the top 40 in the US, as well as the first to chart in Germany and New Zealand. The album was certified gold by the RIAA on April 22, 1976, and platinum on November 11 of the same year, the first Kiss album to achieve platinum. The album marked a departure from the raw sound of the band's first three albums.
After attaining modest commercial success with their first three studio albums, Kiss achieved a commercial breakthrough with the 1975 concert album Alive!. It was the first album by the band to be certified gold, and eventually went multi-platinum. The success of Alive!, which spent 110 weeks on the charts, benefited not only the struggling band but their cash-strapped label Casablanca Records. Kiss signed a new contract with Casablanca in late 1975, partly because the label had been very supportive from the start of the band's career. The contract was for two albums, an indication that Casablanca was unsure if the group could duplicate the accomplishments of Alive!.
Bob Ezrin, who had previously worked with Alice Cooper, was brought in to produce the album. Among the production flourishes Ezrin introduced to Kiss were sound effects, strings, screaming children, reversed drums (on "God of Thunder") and a children's choir. The song "Great Expectations" uses the first phrase of the main theme from the second movement of Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, opus 13 "Pathétique", but songwriting is credited to Simmons and Ezrin.
Destroyer is the first Kiss album to prominently feature outside musicians, such as members of the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra. One musician not credited was Dick Wagner, from Alice Cooper's band, replacing Ace Frehley on the track "Sweet Pain". Wagner also played the acoustic guitar found on the song "Beth". The success of Alive! and Destroyer enabled the band to embark on their first tour of Europe.