God of Thunder (song)
|"God of Thunder"|
|Single by Kiss|
|from the album Destroyer|
|Released||March 15, 1976|
|Recorded||Electric Lady Studios, New York City, September 3–6, 1975
Record Plant Studios, New York City, January – February 1976
"God of Thunder" is a heavy metal song by Kiss from their album Destroyer. The song has also been featured on many of Kiss' live albums, including an up-tempo version on Alive II. Many various sound effects were used to make the song including explosions, clapping, zippers, overdubbed audience chatter and screaming children. Even though the song was written by Paul Stanley, who had every intention of singing it for Destroyer, producer Bob Ezrin suggested slowing down the tempo and handing the lead vocals over to Gene Simmons.
The song was and is Simmons' "theme song" for the band. It is often performed live with blood-spitting, a bass solo, and a portion of the song being performed by Simmons on a high-rise above the audience. The song was dropped from the setlist and replaced by "I Love It Loud" in 2008. Kiss did play it at a show in Athens, Greece, during the Kiss Alive/35 World Tour. The song was eventually returned to the setlist on the second leg of The Hottest Show on Earth Tour starting in Everett, WA, and has remained part of the list again since 2012.
"God of Thunder" was originally a frenetic up-tempo rocker, but it underwent a change when Ezrin decided it would be a perfect vehicle for Simmons and his "Demon" stage persona. Indeed, the lyrics to "God of Thunder" seem tailor-made for this image as they lay out the first-person tale of a figure with godlike powers tied to rock & roll: "I gather darkness to please me/And I command you to kneel, before the/God of thunder and rock & roll/The spell you're under will slowly rob you of your virgin soul." Stanley's initial pop-tinged melody was darkened and slowed down to a mid-tempo throb that contrasted ominous verses built on slowly ascending phrases with a stomping, neo-operatic chorus full of sturm und drang.
The result was a perfect vehicle for an ambitious, cinematic production, and this is exactly what Ezrin gave it on Destroyer: the song is built on a cavernous, echo-drenched soundscape anchored by Peter Criss' militaristic drum work and fleshed out by squalling electric guitar riffs and a throbbing bass line. Simmons bellows out the lyrics in a gravelly roar that cuts through the heavy arrangement, and Ezrin dresses up the song with artfully placed bits of feedback and creepy, babbling child voices that were created by Ezrin recording his son David chattering on a walkie-talkie while listening to the song. All these touches gave Kiss' recording of "God of Thunder" a sense of gothic rock bombast that fully lived up to the larger-than-life lyrics.
It was a bit too heavy to be a single but became a natural live showpiece for Simmons in an exciting, faster arrangement that became a highlight of the band's post-Destroyer shows (a live rendition of this version can be found on Alive II). Since then, it has been covered by Entombed.
- Original studio version on Destroyer
- Remixed studio version on Destroyer: Resurrected
- Live version on Alive II
- Live version on Gold
- Alternate studio version on Kiss Killers
- Alternate live version on Kiss Symphony: Alive IV
- Remastered version on Double Platinum
- Another live version on Kiss Alive! 1975-2000 (Best Buy exclusive track)
- Original demo version sung by Paul Stanley on The Box Set
- Original demo version sung by Paul Stanley on Kiss 40
- Gene Simmons - lead vocals/bass guitar
- Ace Frehley - lead guitar/backing vocals
- Paul Stanley - rhythm guitar/backing vocals
- Peter Criss - drums
- David and Josh Ezrin - voices
Cover versions and appearances
- Death released a cover of the song as a bonus track on the Japanese version of their 1991 album Human.
- The American doom metal band Rigor Sardonicous released a cover of the song on their album Risus Ex Mortuus.
- White Zombie released a cover of the song as a vinyl-only single in 1989, entitled God of Thunder.
- The Swedish death metal band Entombed covered this song on the Out of Hand single, and was later released on the Entombed compilation and Sons of Satan Praise the Lord compilation.
- A supergroup consisting of Rob Zombie (vocals), Ace Frehley (guitar), Slash (guitar), Tommy Lee (drums), Gilby Clarke (Guitar) and Scott Ian (bass guitar) played a cover of the song for the VH1 Rock Honors of Kiss.
- Iced Earth covered "God of Thunder" on their album Tribute to the Gods.
- Raging Speedhorn covered the song on their album How the Great Have Fallen.
- The Melvins covered the song for the Kiss tribute album Hard to Believe: Kiss Covers Compilation.
- Quintron and Miss Pussycat covered the song on their 2005 album Swamp Tech.
- Ripper covered the song on their 2009 album The Dead Have Rizen on Black Widow Records.
- The song is featured in the movie Halloween and video game Brütal Legend.
- The alternate live version of the song appeared in the video game Tony Hawk's Underground
- "Song info". Retrieved March 4, 2011.
- October 24, 2003 1:19PM PDT (2003-10-24). "The Sounds of Tony Hawk's Underground - GameSpot.com". Au.gamespot.com. Retrieved 2012-07-07.