God of Thunder (song)

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"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
Genre Heavy metal
Length 4:13
Label Casablanca Records
Writer(s) Paul Stanley
Producer(s) Bob Ezrin

"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.[1]

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 is not played today as it was replaced by "I Love It Loud" in 2008. During the Kiss Alive/35 World Tour, however, it was played in Athens, Greece. It was also put back in the setlist on the second leg of The Hottest Show on Earth Tour starting in Everett, WA. The kid in the recording of the song is Bob Ezrin's son, David. In 2012, it was put back into the setlist.

"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 children chattering on walkie-talkies 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.

In 1999, KISS lip-synced the song on WCW Monday Nitro. According to Dean Malenko on the WCW DVD, it was the lowest rated Nitro ever.

Song releases[edit]

Personnel[edit]

  • David and Josh Ezrin - voices

Cover versions and appearances[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Song info". Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  2. ^ 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.