Blue Oyster Cult

I've got a fever. And the only prescription....
*special introductory paragraph!
*Blue Oyster Cult
*Tyranny And Mutation
*Secret Treaties
*On Your Feet Or On Your Knees
*Agents Of Fortune
*Spectres
*Some Enchanted Evening
*Mirrors
*Cultosaurus Erectus
*Fire Of Unknown Origin
*The Revolution By Night
*Club Ninja
*Imaginos
*Bad Channels Motion Picture Soundtrack
*Cult Classic
*Heaven Forbid
*Curse Of The Hidden Mirror
*St. Cecilia: The Elektra Recordings (by Stalk-Forrest Group)

Blue Oyster Cult are a NYC-based rock band who began their stupid asshole career doing wicked cool guitar tunes about dark topics, then started having a bit of success and became poppier in hopes of earning even more record dough, before losing all their fans and having to return to dark topics again, even though they weren't any good anymore. Also of note is the fact that all five band members wrote material and split lead vocal duties, and most of their lyrics were written by Helen Wheels, Patti Smith, Richard Meltzer, Sandy Pearlman and several other friends of the band. Yet another interesting thing about Blue Oyster Cult is that when you take the first letters of each word in their name, you get "B.O.C.," which is actually the name of another popular '70s hard rock band that had a hit with "(Don't Fear) The Reaper."


Blue Oyster Cult - Columbia 1972.
Rating = 8

Echoey drums way off in the background, slithery but sleazy rock and roll wankoff guitar lines with a touch of menace, a bass player and a fuzzy-haired D&D player by the name of Eric Bloom put out this weird, wild record way back when I was just a load in my daddy's diaper.

Let me start this whole thing over, in hopes that you haven't read this beginning section and will instead begin at the end of the review and read it backwards, like our friends in the Chinese Kingdom.

All I know is what I hear, and what I hear is a bunch of hellishly cool guitar lines (basic straight-up hard rock, but darker!) and curiously bizarre song titles like "I'm On The Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep," "Before The Kiss, A Redcap" and the most fucked-up tune on here, "She's As Beautiful As A Foot."

The record ends with a surprisingly normal C/W-type pretty tune, but the rest of it sounds exactly like what a band called "Blue Oyster Cult" SHOULD have sounded like in 1972. None of this stuff is as eerie as "Don't Fear The Reaper," but it all aspires to giving you the slight willies while making you shake your fist in the air as if unconcerned.

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Very strong debut by one of rock's greatest enigmas, rivalled only by Agents Of Fortune as their best album. It's mean, dark, creepy, offbeat, and just plain weird like no other mainstream record of the era. The production is unfortunately not good, muffling the true power of this material, but the band was rarely this consistently interesting again. Along with Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath, this unquestioningly laid the foundations for the gothic rock genre which was to appear in the late 70's.

Dan804935628@aol.com
Okay,first of all I love this band ,and own their first 9 albums,play most of them constantly,and plan on commenting on quite a few of them if Pringle will print them(he didn't print my KISS comments for some reason,another band I love)[Rich's note: Yeah, that's what happens when you don't follow directions and don't include the name of the band or album in the subject of your message]. I'LL make this short,I like this album better than the second one.

grant@grantedmonds.com (Grant Edmonds)
Strange fucking album. The founders of American metal didn't exactly start out that way did they? Aside from the classic "Cities On Flame..." and "Transmaniacon MC" there is no shade of metal anywhere. There are other good songs, such as "Then Came The Last Days Of May," "Before The Kiss, A Redcap," and "Workshop Of The Telescopes" but nothing that would make you think of the heavy metal genre. In fact, with songs like "She's As Beautiful As A Foot," "Screams," and "I'm On the Lamb, But I Ain't No Sheep," it seems the Cult is still wringing out the acid-hippie cloth. A unique and valuable album, but only for the B.O.C. fan.

chaucer@ix.netcom.com (Ryan Maffei)
Yep--the Blue Oyster Cult's self-titled debut was certainly one of the best they released, the one that started the whole love-it-or-hate-it shebang, and the source of some of the band's most competent songwriting. The satire or social commentary that was supposed to be rampant throughout all of their releases is here in its clearest form, Mr. Donald "Buck Dharma* in the 21st Century" Roeser's solos are as riveting and able as they have remained througout the years, and the production is quite admirable (if you can get past the muddy sound quality on the CD), what with the atmospheric, driving drumbeats you pointed out, and the dark, spooky sort of overtones that hover over the album from start to finish. A reccomended first purchase for those interested, so they can see how the band was before they all became caricatures--back when they were hailed by Rolling Stone as a "boogie beast", and approximately fifty-four seconds before Lester Bangs got really irritated with 'em.

The alternately eerie and funny "Stairway to the Stars" and the gritty-but-pleasant "Last Days of May" are favorites of mine, but doesn't anyone else recognize that the album kind of dies down a little toward the end? I mean, after hearing "Transmaniacon MC" and "I'm on the Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep" I was inevitably disappointed with the dumb anthem "Cities on Flame" (much better in concert) and the just plain weak double entendre of Workshop of the Telescopes" and "Redeemed".

My Rating: 8

Dan.Miller@phs.com
Speaking of Blue Öyster Cult theory table salt, I have a BÖC theory of my own, called the Moody Blue Öyster Cult Theory. You see, Blue Öyster Cult is the Moody Blues of heavy metal. WHAT?! you say ... and I reply: check this out (they might even be the same band):

1. Both bands were unfairly categorized. The Moody Blues are labeled a progressive rock band, but their songs lack the diversity, themes, meter, structure and grandiosity of those by standard-bearers Yes and Genesis. BÖC are labeled a heavy metal band, but, with few exceptions, lack the full-frontal guitar assault and power of, say, Black Sabbath in the seventies or Judas Priest in the eighties.

2. All members of both bands sing lead vocals. Sure, some more than others, and Allan Lanier only sang lead for only one song in BÖC's entire catalog (AoF's True Confessions).

3. In spite of #2, two members form the core of the bands' leadership (MB: Justin Hayward & John Lodge; BÖC: Eric Bloom & Buck Dharma) and thus sing most of the songs, especially later in their careers. Plus, they are all guitarists.

4. All members of both bands play multiple instruments.

5. One of the main members of both bands, both of whom were extremely influential early in both bands' careers (MB: Mike Pinder; BÖC: Al Bouchard) either quit or was fired. Ironically, both would sue their respective former bandmates in the 80s.

6. The replacements for both of the above members (MB: Patrick Moraz; BÖC: Rick Downey) quit out of anger and disillusionment because they were treated as sidemen and were not permitted any more active involvement with the group. Moraz sued his former bandmates as well.

7. One of the other members of both bands, both of whom were influential early in both bands' careers and provided very strong and diverse songs to their catalogs (MB: Ray Thomas; BÖC: Joe Bouchard), slowly faded away toward the end of their bands' heydays and contributed weak songs (Ray: "Celtic Sonant"; Joe: "Light Years of Love").

8. Both bands professed an interest in "space" themes. In order to get there, the Moodies spoked pot. BÖC sniffed coke.

9. Both bands employed well-known producers to "revitalize" their sound, both of whom helped bring some commercial - if not necessarily artistic - success after their prime (MB: Tony Visconti for Other Side of Life in 1986; BÖC: Martin Birch for, especially, Fire of Unknown Origin in 1981).

10. Both bands contributed soundtrack material to shitty movies (MB: Karate Kid II; BÖC: Bad Channels).

11. Both bands released albums in 1986 that were very controversial amongst their hard-core fans (MB: Other Side of Life; BÖC: Club Ninja).

12. Both bands released compilation albums that included re-recordings of their classic material

13. Both bands are flogging the oldies circuit today (MB in Las Vegas, BÖC in a bar & grill near you).

Anyway, on to the first album.

The new remastered version takes care of some of the production problems and gives it a new clarity, but all in all this remains one of the Boc's best albums. My faves are "Transmaniacon MC" and "The Last Days of May" (may be Buck's second-best-ever vocal performance; first? Well, guess!) and "Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll" - likewise one of Al Bouchard's best vocal treatments - he doen't sound so stoned or restrained here and makes this tune sound like a heavy-metal Cream. In fact, Al cites Black Sabbath's "The Wizard" and King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" as influences. Not sure I hear the latter, but the former is pretty obvious. Contrary to popular opinion, I dig Joe Bouchard's "Screams" - little acid-tripped-out spooky tune (tells the story of how the former country bumpkin first came to New York). Play this tune while you're stoned and stare into the perpetual images on the cover, and get fucked up!! Now, while many hardcore fans don't seem to care much for "She's as Beautiful as a Foot," it's too unique and wacky not to like it. "Workshop of the Telescopes" is a psychadelic/sub-Latin workout that kind of doesn't fit - neither does "Redeemed," but at least as a closer it works well as a mood-lifter. "I'm On The Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep" would sound much better on the next album. "Stairway to the Stars" is OK.

The bonus tracks are worthwhile, especially the Soft White Underbelly's "Donovan's Monkey." They should have re-recorded this for "Tyranny & Mutation" - it would've fit right in.

Overall, not a metal album, rather a hint of what is to come, but what a great hint it is. Their second (or maybe third) best overall. Second-best cover artwork. A strong 9.

briantheisen84@yahoo.com
Figured I should add comments after all these years. Besides, I have mono and am really bored (I don't think I have mono because I'm really bored, BTW).

BOC's first album is excellent and in my opinion, in their top three best records. Right now they sound sort of a cross between ZZ Top's hard rock sound without being overly blusey, and Alice Cooper's sinisterness without the theatrics, yet is far more distinct from lesser bands of the era like, Foghat or someone. This album is somewhat more distinguishable for having more of a "motorcycle rock" sound (I guess that's the best term) and cool riffs all over the place-espcially Transmaniacon MC and Cities On Flame, and the awesome rockabilly section of Before The Kiss, A Redcap. What's also to be appreciated about this band (at this stage) is that they seem to do psychadellic songs instead of the obligatory ballad, hence Then Came The Last Days in May, Screams and She's As Beautiful As A Foot. Too bad they would drop this trend, because they really excelled in this genre.

Stephen E. Archer
Great web site.

For what it’s worth, thought I might add that days ago Ohio school shooting suspect T.J. Lane wrote “I’m on the lamb but I ain’t no sheep” (same as the title of a song from Blue Oyster Cult’s first LP) in rambling doggerel posted on Facebook shortly before his alleged rampage. Coincidence?

Add your thoughts?

Tyranny And Mutation - Columbia 1973.
Rating = 8

OBSERVATION: One of the key figures in the history of the Blue OYSTER Cult is producer Sandy PEARLman. OYSTER??? PEARL??? Am I the only one who smells a conspiracy here????

I don't find this one quite as compelling and tunefully obese as the debut, but it does offer some more cool menacing tunes, as well as some less mischief-laden but still great rock tunes like the hardcore speed rocker "The Red & The Black," rockabilly-riffed "O.D.'d On Life Itself" and of course the classic "Hot Rails To Hell." Yep, that's right - the very same "Hot Rails To Hell" that was later covered by Mr. Tesco Vee and his Meatmen on the Pope On A Rope LP! And I really must give it to BOC - at this point in their career, they were able to make anything sound malevolent. Even the "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress" riff somehow winds up sounding as creepy as a spider capturing your soul in its clutches of pure EVIL.

The Blue Oyster Cult 'mystique' and 'concept' is a bit difficult to make out in whole, but it seems to encompass such aspects as conspiracy theory, numerology, alien visitation, vampirism, time-traveling motorcycle gangs, and dying dead people bleeding. And how about these more song titles? "Mistress Of The Salmon Salt (Quicklime Girl)"? "7 Screaming Diz-Busters"? Why only 7? Why not 8 Screaming Diz-Busters? I mean, if you're paying for 7 anyway, you might as well go for 8 in case you get a sweeth tooth after work one day. I realize I'm preaching to the converted here, but if any of you have a tight connection with Eric Bloom, maybe you could give him a call and find out what's up with what I consider to be an incredibly cost-ineffective oversight.

So in short, the arrangements are definitely more ambitious than on the predecessor, but a lot of the melodies aren't as instantly memorable. Still a great piece of hard rock though. I give it a very low 8, where the first one gets a very high 8. If you could do me a favor and draw me up some new little symbols to differentiate "low 8" scores from "high 8" scores, I'll use them and give you no credit whatsoever.

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
A little poppier, but still heavy and dark and creepy! Great melodies abound, there are faster riffs, and the production is vastly improved over the first album...just a bit spottier here and there, but not by much!

Dan804935628@aol.com
Better production,but the songs aren't as good as they were on the first album.That's not to say this sucks,it does'nt,just a little weaker.

grant@grantedmonds.com (Grant Edmonds)
Apparently, so far I'm the only reviewer to think this is better than the previous record. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the debut, but it was unfocused, and it had a little too much 60's influence for me. (FYI-There is little music I enjoyed from the 60's, and NONE from the early 60's, and that includes the Beatles, the Stones, the Who, etc. And that's the good 60's bands too...so you can only imagine what I think of the "hippie" music! It's just not my thing...I did enjoy The Who and the Stones during the 70's by the way) Tyranny & Mutation steps the intensity and rockability (is that a word?) up a notch. However, it is an album of two halves; hence, the "Red" and "Black" sides. The first half of the album (the Black side) is straight-forward classic metal, with "7 Screaming Dizbusters" and "The Red And The Black" being my faves...(I like the "Lamb" version of "Red and Black" from the debut too, but this newer version is the way it's meant to be played. In fact, this is a prime example of the contrast between the first two albums). The second, more colorful half (the Red side), echoes back to the first album's 60's rock, but it is done better; "Baby Ice Dog" and "Teen Archer" being my faves on this half. Sure, the album might not be as intriguing as the first, but as far as the songs go, it is more consistent.

chaucer@ix.netcom.com (Ryan Maffei)
Hmmm...I'm not sure. Tyranny and Mutation doesn't really posess the sophistication of Blue Oyster Cult's first record, nor the polished production--but then again, it's difficult to argue with a raw, energetic piece of metal like "The Red and the Black" or "Hot Rails to Hell", or a great slice of blazing boogie-rock like "OD'd on Life Itself". But about "The Red and the Black"; why did they have to steal music from "I'm on the Lamb..."? For pete's sake, couldn't they write their own goddamn piece of effective music? Oh, well...there's no use arguing with the higher points on the record, because it immediately slips into an easily mock-able period of mediocre mystic-rock right after "Hot Rails" and doesn't redeem itself until the kitschy, demented "Mistress of the Salmon Salt (Quicklime Girl)".

Overall, the album definitely has some low points, which are in turn balanced by the high points, so it deserves credit. And hell, it's not like this is any worse than Mirrors. A shade less effective than the debut, so I'll warrant it a high 7.

Dan.Miller@phs.com
Yes! "The Red & The Black" is the speed-funk-blistering-rock bastard child of its predecessor. "Hot Rails to Hell" is Joe Bouchard's piece de resistance, a pre-punk almost surf-rock-sounding slab of metal that rules no matter how you slice it. And "Teen Archer" is Buck Dharma's hilarious rant (Best line: "Ballin' all night, ballin' all day; she won't ball on me" ... Story of my life) and first-rate jam session tour-de-force.

These aside, it seems to me Tyranny & Mutation struggles a bit living up to the intense, spaced-out cover artwork (coolest for a BOC album if not the coolest of ANY album, EVER). It's also not quite as engaging as the first album. "Wings Wetted Down" is a good mood piece that might have fit better on the first album ("Screams' " little psycho-diddy parts might have worked better here). "Quicklime Girl" is loads of fun, very melodic and has that wavery, sixties-pot-induced organ solo. "Seven Screaming Diz Busters" (diz is a cock cleft, apparently) is almost great, but it strains to sustain its purpose throughout its seven minutes. "O.D.'ed on Life Itself" does little for me, and "Baby Ice Dog" smells like decade-old Alpo. It's Patti Smith's first, but not her best, lyric for the band.

The new, remastered version makes this CD sound bitchin' in my truck, and it sounds better than the first album. Extra tracks include the studio version of the kick-ass "Buck's Boogie" (I find it interesting that Buck didn't even write this piece - Al Bouchard did. He is the dominant writer on this album but does not sing). The rest of the extras are live versions - the best? "Dizbusters," which has Eric Bloom ranting about like Ted Nugent.

As such, I reluctantly bestow upon it the highest seven (with a bullet) I can muster. Cutting "Baby Ice Dog" in favor of "Buck's Boogie" could've been all the bullet it needed, but no! I may like T&M more with repeated listenings, but compared with the schizoid first album and what's to follow, a 7.9 (with that stupid little repeating bar that you learned about in algebra placed over the nine) sounds almost right, dodgammit!

wissahickonkid@msn.com
This piece of music came out back in the midst of Philadelphia's heydey of Crystal Meth. Fast, urgent, and in synch with the Crank Crowd. With due respect to other reviewers, I found it a better produced album than its predecessor...Personal favorites are Hot Rails & O.D.'d on Life Itself

JAVan69@aol.com
Tyranny & Mutation is my favorite B.O.C. album, and I have them all. Why? The 8 songs are all gems and the production, while strange, actually adds a lot to the sound. To me, this is what B.O.C. is all about -- from the frenetic guitar-driven "The Red & The Black" to the eerie keyboard-laden "Wings Wetted Down", it's all here and without any fluff. I like 'em all, but love this one the most.

a_leost@club-internet.fr (Alain_Léost)
BÖC got class, BÖC could swing and stun. A fascinating record. The American answer to Black Sabbath, it’s true but faster, with more style and less suicide, more university and less proletariat, more sixties and less Bible. It works particularly well on vinyl : one side of heavy rock, cold cold rage on speed tempo, no boredom and another side with more psychedelic influences. No reggae side. Bloom’s voice is sounding better than on the first one, the Bouchard brothers at their best ( what a firm and enthusiastic bass and drums family! ), Buck is a real killer, also elegant on “Teen archer”. Alan Lanier on keyboards is more fluid and efficient than Manzarek or Jon Lord. The lyrics, oh well, they should not be taken seriously maybe, it’s just the atmosphere. The band is having fun, clearly on “Teen archer” and “Quicklime”. It’s OK to have a good fun on the B side after the killing on the A side . You write about jazzy chord, Mark, you’re right. If only jazz albums had brutal guitar work like on this one…

pedroandino@msn.com
what do you get when you mix biker boogie, dark mysticysim, screaming metal and 5 guys in whiplash leather and a serious death obssesion??? well this is boc aka blue oyster cult!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1.THE RED AND THE BLACK: BLANG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BLANG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CHA! SPEEDY RIFFS LIKE THE DOORS WILD CHILD! CANADIAN MOUNTIES! BEING CHASED BY HUNGRY WOLVERINES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BUCK DARMA IS AN AWSOME PLAYER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO WANKING! 10/10

2.O.D.'ED ON LIFE ITSELF: SOUNDING LIKE ROY ORBISON THE TRACK BLASTS! ERIC BLOOM TALKS ABOUT COCAINE! REALLY! 10/10

3.HOT RAILS TO HELL!!!!!!!!!!!: FIERY SONG ABOUT A MAN AND HIS CAVE OF FIRE! 9/10

4.7 SCREAMING DIZ BUSTERS: ODD TITLE WITH ODD ARRENGEMENTS! 9/10

5.BABY ICE DOG: HUH? WEIRD! I MET THE BITCH! 8/10

6.WINGS WETTED DOWN: THE BLACK HORSEMAN LONELY ARRNEGEMENT PLUS A LOVELY SWRILING GUITAR SOLO! 10/10

7.TEEN ARCHER: SWEET TEEN ARCHER! TASY LOOKING! BABE I NEED YOU! TAKE ME BY THE ASS AND LICK ME! NO DRUM SOLOS! 10/10

8.MISTRESS OF THE SALMON SALT QUICKLIME GIRL: WHAT THE HELL IS A QUICKLIME GIRL??? YOU MEAN THE LITTLE MERMAID AERIAL! MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM SWEET LOVELY MERMAID ! AWSOME STUFF SOUNDS LIKE 1969!

9.CITIES ON FLAME WITH ROCK AND ROLL LIVE!: SOUNDS LIKE IT RECORDED IN A GYM! BAD BUT YOU GET USED TO IT!

10.BUCK'S BOOGIE!: BUCK RULES! SOUNDS LIKE IT COULD BE IN HAPPY DAYS WHERE THE FONZ BANGED HIS HEAD! AND MR. CUNNINGHAM BANGED HIS GIRL LEATHER TUSCADERO!

11.7 SCREAMING DIZ BUSTERS LIVE: LONGER THAN THE STUDIO VERSION! IT SHOWS ONCE AGAIN BUCK DAHRMA IS GOD! FUCK CLAPTON! FUCK BRYAN ADAMS! HE IS THE ONE! ERIC GOOFS AROUND AS HE SAYS ABOUT ELTON JOHN !

12.O. D. ON LIFE ITSELF! FINAL JAM

THIS IS THE SHIT! 10/10

helios.marzal@club-internet.fr
One of the main mysteries of the Universe, along with " what's in a black hole ?","why does time slow down when speed increases ?", "Is there a God ?" or "How come George Bush is president of the United States ?", is that one : how did B.O.C. manage to release an album that bad between two good ones ( B.O.C and Secret Treaties ) ? Another mystery is : how come so many people think Tyranny and Mutation is a good B.O.C. album ? In fact, the last is the biggest one ...

comandercrimson@velocity.net
This is actually one of my personal favorites. as far as I'm concerned their first three albums were all awsome in their own way, but this one I enjoyed - and here we go with an explanation, helios.marzel- becauuuuuuuuussssee(!)

of it's bizarre balancing of heavy, maniac rock-bordering on metal during the first half with the moody, mellow and subtley creepy tracks that took up the rest of the damn thing. the second half sounds - at least to me- like a bridge between BOC and Tyrrany... heavier, but still with the power in the atmosphere itself, not guitar bombast. blah blah blah-

i'M SURE 100 hundreds of fans have actaully said all this before, and done a better job of it!! sooooo.....5 stars outa 5.

and you know what else is cool? munch'ems. foo.

dementia13@bellsouth.net
You can count me as one of those who much prefers this to the first album. I consider this, along with "Agents of Fortune", to be their best. The first album might have come off better with some production, but the songs weren't all there, either. This is their heaviest album, full of that kind of slow pothead thuddiness that was so typical of early-70's metal. "Wings Wetted Down" and "Teen Archer", in particular, are very close in spirit to Sabbath. The menace and doom are stronger here than on any of their other early albums. This must have been a real shock to those hippies in 1972, still grooving to James Taylor and Pure Prairie League. A high 9-star album in my book.

blanch1000@gmail.com
Y'know, I was a rabid BÖC fan for years, and it wasn't until I saw 'em live in June of 2006 that, for some unknown reason, I kinda stopped caring (though it really was a great concert). Thing is, in all the years I've been listening I could never quite decide on a favorite album. If I HAD to choose, though, I'd go with this one (probably followed by Cultosaurus or Secret Treaties). I don't know how many people agree with me there. In fact, a lot of people seem to see it as the low point of the first three albums, while it's always seemed like the best to me.

It just feels right, sounds right... Side A is a thrill (especially the first three tracks), but it's side B that really hooks me. "Baby Ice Dog" and "Quicklime Girl" are favorites.

briantheisen84@yahoo.com
I disagree-this is my favorite album by BOC! It expands a bit on the previous record, while keeping what I liked about them-while adding a few smarts here and there. Like Hot Rails to Hell-it begins really fast and meanacing, but somehow turns into a surf rock song midway through. Cool! More riffs in Red And The Black and 7 Screaming Diz-busters, plus it contains my all-time favorite BOC song Wings Wetted Down-why couldn't they have done more stuff like this? I love that heavy psychadellic sound-Kyuss must have lusted over it.

Which does bring me to a bit of a complaint about BOC-I really think they should have focused on more serious and darker material as such. Too often they seem to be a bit lazy with their irony/tongue in cheek attitude when they probably could bring forth stuff like Wings Wetted Down (not that they are bad at being toungue in cheek, as I mentioned with Hot Rails To Hell, but then we've had to put up with Godzilla and Joan Crawford). Hell, even Don't Fear The Reaper is pretty much devoid of irony, and most people only know them for that song!

Then again, the band really weren't really behind all the lyrics and concepts (plus it was the 70s, you know...) and there's also some excellent bonus tracks here, including Buck's Boogie and an extended live 7SDB, which has some of the greatest guitar playing ever in the midsection (I could swear there's a point where Buck moves back and forth between Chuck Berry and Sweet Leaf-before Eric Bloom has a corny spoken word section about selling his soul-"You gotta sign in BLOOD!""And I thought, Whoa, that's heavy") that reminds me why I got hooked on BOC: I saw them at a dodgy county fair somewhere in Wisconsin back in 2001. I wasn't expecting much, I wasn't an enormous fan at that point, the No Cowbell movement hadn't even caught on greatly at that point. Yet, they brought the house down-it truly was a fanstasic show and the tune that sticks out in my mind that night was Buck's Boogie. I've seen them twice since, and while they are a worthy live band still, that first time I saw them still tops it.

Add your thoughts?

Secret Treaties - Columbia 1974.
Rating = 8

More great goodness from Ian Astbury's Blue Oyster Cult. One thing I should mention is that part of the overall Flue Oyster Bult approach is to throw in jazzy guitar chords where you'd expect normal r'n'r Johnny Thunders chords to go. For example, instead of "E-A-D," you might get "E-A-jazzy chord that you weren't expecting". Which I find neat because in the history of rock music, nobody has ever used a jazz chord. One question for you though, while I've got your ear in my hands -- on these early releases, Eric Bloom is credited with playing "stun guitar". What the stuck is a fun guitar?

Ah yes, the actual album. Well, not much to say that you can't already guess. More of the same early B.T.O. mayhem on this release, with song titties like "Dominance And Submission," "Harvester Of Eyes" and the AWESOME, HILARIOUS anthem of meanness "Career Of Evil." The record also includes the classic "Astronomy" - later to be covered by Metallica! Did you hear me? METALLICA!!!!! Of St. Flanger fame!

Say - what the donkey is up with this album cover? It's a drawing of the band members (some of whome have mustaches -- remember, this was the height of the drug era) in front of an aeroplane - and guess who's flying the plane! Robert Hays? No - a SKELETON man!!!!!

I'm out of onions. Do you think it's okay if I make spaghetti with bunions?

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
This was the album that brought them much controversy on both sides of the Atlantic, and was probably therefore the album that put them into the mainstream spotlight (there's no such thing as bad publicity!)! Apparently a lot of people got their panties all in a knot over the fact that the plane featured on the front and back of the record is the ME 262, the first turbine engine warplane, invented near the end of World War II by the Germans. Not only that, but on the album there is also a song called "ME 262" which has lyrics written from the perspective of a German fighter pilot shooting down Allied planes, along with other themes here and there (eg. "Career Of Evil", "Dominance And Submission") in some of the other songs that led people to believe that these Brooklyn boys were goose-stepping their way to promoting fascism and glorifying nazism. Kinda funny considering that Eric Bloom, the lead singer, is Jewish, as well as the management/producing team they had at the time. In Germany, where the anti-hate laws are so strong that they infringe on freedom of speech quite a bit more than here in North America, the album was actually banned! I don't know if it still is now, but it was at the time. Mind you, the fact that neither BOC, or their management, OR their record label ever denied all these rumours/allegations only fuelled this erroneous perception. As for the album itself, it's another solid entry musically, with the aforementioned interesting lyrics, but some of the songs are a bit pedestrian. I'd say it's a notch below the first two albums in overall quality. Some of the riffs are quite boring, and there are a few weak hooks here and there, and the production is quite flat indeed. These early albums could have made a much better impression had they been produced better. Still, "Flaming Telepaths" and "Astronomy" are two of the finest examples of the superb songwriting this band was capable of.

Dan804935628@aol.com
My favorite by B.O.C. , All the songs are good.I play it all the time.Best song ---Hard to choose one ,actually.

grant@grantedmonds.com (Grant Edmonds)
Secret Treaties is the best of BOC during their early "metal" (and practically unproduced!) years. Every song has a good riff and a good hook. "Flaming Telepaths" is the best of the lot, with "Astronomy" a close second. "Subhuman" is also an underappreciated classic. If you are eager to hear pre-"Reaper" Blue Oyster Cult, this is the one to get.

chaucer@ix.netcom.com (Ryan Maffei)
As has been mentioned, the Blue Oyster Cult's Secret Treaties was pretty much the commercial breakthrough for the band, which is rather inexplicable, because there's really nothing here that's drastically different from the first two records' material. And it's also the second still-not-as-good-as-the-debut album. But anyway, there's not much to say about what's on here, except there's a bit more humor to be found in the lyrics. I think. As for the high points, "Flaming Telepaths" and "Astronomy" are indisputable, untouchable classics (particularly "Astronomy"--so many different versions the Cult tried out, and not one as good as the original recording found here), "Dominance and Submission" is great (and personally, I like it better when Al Bouchard is singing it), and "Harvester of Eyes" and "Cagey Cretins" are great rockers, albeit lyrically incomprehensible. To be bought if you have the first two records and you liked 'em, or just to get "Astronomy".

Oh, hey, and there's some mediocre stuff here, too. "Career of Evil" is a failed attempt at black humor ("ME 262" works much better), and "The Subhuman" is a strange little bluesy throwaway. But, then again, nothing's really bad, so I bestow upon the record another high 7. Er...bon appetit?

curlew@charleston.quik.com (Michael Wolff)
This was the BOC album that turned me on to the group. And, even though it starts out with the rather limp "Cagey Cretins", I still hold up side-2 to be one of the finest album sides in rock.

Dan.Miller@phs.com
"Dominance and Submission," "Flaming Telepaths" and "Astronomy." When you got three of Blue Oyster Cult's best songs on one album, how can it not be considered one of their best, if not best overall? Now that it's remastered, you get the better sound and extra tracks: "Boorman the Chauffeur, " (Joe Bouchard's only vocal here), "Mes Dames Sarat" (which in English means Mes Dames Sarat), the infamous cover and studio version of "Born to be Wild" and "Mommy" (pre-punk insanity -- perfect for Mother's Day!). But wait, there's mo'!

A few more synthesizers and keyboards come into play to broaden the BOC sound, with good results. "Astronomy" is BOC's ultimate peace day resistance - at times the press often lumped BOC into the progressive rock camp because of this one, but there isn't much in the way of 'progressive' here - just some great soundscapes, a searing vocal and a nice, blistering rush to its conclusion. "Flaming Telepaths" is a building crescendo of mayhem, and the way it suddenly collides into "Astronomy" is one of hard rock's most intriguing moments. And the joke's on you.

"Harvester of Eyes" sounded dumb at first, but it's grown on me with its slow lumbering power chords toward the end and some more Eric Bloom incoherent Ted-Nugent-like rambling. "Cagey Cretins" kicks ass with an incessant riff. "Subhuman" is a moody, almost jazz-like piece that carries you from the commercial but macabre and funny "Career of Evil" to the God-like masterful power of "Dominance and Submission." Yes, Ryan, only Al Bouchard should sing this one as only he can. Together with that opening riff prevalent throughout the song, the funny vocals and lyrics and the hyper-orgasmic guitar solos, this is Blue Oyster Cult at the absolute height of its powers! It will be time.

The so-called Imaginos Strain myth is in full steam by this point (insert sound of flatulence here), but the best way to enjoy Secret Treaties, Tyranny & Mutation and Blue Oyster Cult is to listen to them in one sitting to get immersed into the feel of what Blue Oyster Cult the band was all about at that time. Astronomy's fading winds end BOC's "Black & White" period, probably the most unusual, underrated and obscure chunk of music ever to exist in American rock 'n' roll (but what a chunk it is). A star!

So, is this the 10? Well, probably not. "ME 262" is fun and boisterous but kind of messy vocally, and "Harvester of Eyes" and "Career of Evil" are excellent fillers. Still, with three of the greatest tunes in the world, the cool Cagey and Subhuman and some worthwhile unreleaseds, I bestow upon the beloved Secret Treaties a 9 -- a stronger 9 than the debut, but not quite that elusive 10. Looking out toward the road ahead, I agree, Mark - we may never find it. What you got there, man?

oneofsix1958@networld.com (Douglas Buck)
Love the W-site LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!

I spent my entire Junior and Senior Years of High School with this record (and Jethro Tull Benefit) in art class.........

Ahhhhhhhhhh the still lifes I did to Secret Treaties.........never did findout who's record it was.......but I'm sure it wouldn't have played correctly on a decent turntable after a thousand plays on the record player (with the # 9 needle) from the AV Department. Needless to say.....it became my favorite BOC production.........song for song..........waited a long time for the CD to issue.

The rest of the material produced after this point doesn't hit the same consistancy.............NOT to say they are done as a band after this......WE all have our own taste in tunes.

Check out Kazaa sometime and see what the BOC people have listed as the songs worth owning..................................................that is if Metallica hasn't shut them down.

and the Jokes on you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Daniel
Yeah, this would have to be my fave BOC album with Agents Of Fortune a close second, but both albums have throwaway songs. It’s Dominance And Submission, Subhuman, Flaming Telepaths and Astronomy that do it for me, the others I can take or leave (ME 262 is quite good too). Going by what I’ve read on the net, Sandy Pearlman was the guy who wrote conceptual stuff (eg. Astronomy) and Richard Meltzer was interested in rock music’s urgent side, that it shouldn’t be built to last, there for “the moment” et al (eg. Cagey Cretins, which is going just a little too far with the sarcasm there I think). Without actually knowing who wrote Flaming Telepaths, my guess is that perhaps they both contributed to the words, it seems to be a mix of those two styles. Perhaps I’m wrong though.

BOC’s first three albums appealed to me straight away on first listen because they didn’t sound too slick like anything from Agents onwards. The later stuff took a bit of getting used to. I didn’t know any BOC songs besides “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” until about 1996, and was quite shocked by Agents Of Fortune and Spectres, the first two albums I heard. I was so unsure of whether I could actually say I liked them or not that I listened to the albums over and over again. I still don’t know. I don’t think there’s a single BOC album that’s perfect. There was always good and bad songs on the albums, though I’m being generous where the last few albums are concerned.

I think musically they were very talented. They probably weren’t as accomplished as some of the hair metal that came later, but there’s this musical depth there that the later stuff usually doesn’t have. I think that is the main factor that got me interested. That and the intriguing words. A lot of heavy metal to me is cartoon-like and I just can’t buy it, but somehow BOC have this creepy quality to their music that is like no one else I’ve heard.

briantheisen84@yahoo.com
The production kinda ruins this one for me. The life of the guitars have been sucked out, there's too much organ and not enough cowebell (okay! I'll stop!) Maybe I'm off because I haven't heard the remastered version, and I'm not usually one to complain about production per se, but there's moments like, say how on Astronmomy the kicking in of the guitar just sounds really wimpy when it needs more power (they haven't even mastered that one well on live albums.) The Metallica version isn't great (but better than most of the other covers) but I do think they got the guitar down better. That said, this still is a good album and the change towards the jazzy sounds you noted can be interesting, but I think they can do better. Despite the complaint, Astronomy rules, and I love the segue of Flaming Telepaths into it, and The Subhuman is interesting (I like it better on the following live album). Cagey Cretins is kind of amusing-I could have sworn that it was in a Scooby-doo cartoon (during on of those chase scenes set to bubblegum music where they run past the same table twenty times.)

Add your thoughts?

On Your Feet Or On Your Knees - CBS 1975.
Rating = 7

I'm not the kind of person who finds it necessary to release a double-live album after I've only released three studio albums, but I'm not in control of the record business. Not ALL of it anyway. The sound on this album is disappointingly muddy, but the playing is good. Song selection only so-so, though it's neat to hear three otherwise unavailable tunes (covers of "I Ain't Got You" and "Born To Be Wild," as well as a great guitar "workout," as we say in the business, called "Buck's Boogie" -- you see, the guitarist goes by the name "Buck Dharma" even though it's not his real name. He also has a mustache and looks like an accountant). Also, I like to think of early Blue Oyster Cult as tight and spickle. This album has too much bland jamming and song extension, sucking all the concise malevolence out of the songs. GREAT inner gatefold picture though, showing the band as five guys with guitars on stage -- no drumkit, keyboards, vocal mic, none of that - just five guys with guitars. Still not as awesome as the hilarious dust sleeve pic from their second LP -- it's an onstage shot of two of the guys rubbing their guitars together up over their heads, like swords. Unbelievably dopey, and a move that I once emulated with bassist Nathan Means in my old short-lived Chapel Hill band Lima. The move broke my string, my drive and my career. Nathan, on the other hand, is a huge rock and roll star in the band Trans Am now.

I don't even DRIVE a Trans Am, much less play in the band.

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Pretty good live album, breathing some necessary life and power into their early classics, many of which sound absolutely tepid in their studio versions. That's why live albums at the time were a necessity for any serious rock band, but I think nowadays live albums are totally obsolete. If anything, because today's studio albums already sound perfect, live albums do the opposite and make the material sound weaker. The only cases in which I can see worth in modern day live albums are for bands that play complex music just to see how they pull it off on stage, or for bands that improvise a lot and vastly alter their studio recordings in front of an audience, but there are so few bands with that sort of instrumental skill in the mainstream nowadays that good or interesting live albums are indeed a rarity. I mean really, why would anyone want a live Marilyn Manson album?? Gimme a break.

chaucer@ix.netcom.com (Ryan Maffei)
A seven. Whatever, I say. Because On Your Feet was, essentially, Blue Oyster Cult's first real piece of shit. Not only is the sound quality ridiculously and distractingly bad, but that particular flaw detracts from the power of such classic tunes as "The Red and the Black" and "ME 262". That's a pretty major problem, along with the fact that a lot of great songs from the first three albums are omitted. "Astronomy", anyone? How about "Flaming Telepaths", "Dominance and Submission" or "Stairway to the Stars"? And where's "OD'd on Life Itself"? And why replace these great songs with tunes that represent moments of a Cult show you can only see and not hear, like the guitar duel on "Born to Be Wild"? I'll admit there are some good selections--"Buck's Boogie" is here at its best, raw and exhilirating, "Subhuman" never sounded better, and "Seven Screaming Diz-Busters" is an improvement over its dull studio counterpart--but still, the demerits reign rampant throughout the album, and the BOC would create a much more successful live album seven years later with Extraterrestrial Live, which renders On Your Feet somewhat obsolete. My Rating: A mildly generous 5 (for the fact that the album doesn't forget "The Last Days of May")

sarin13la@aol.com
Hey, krinkledick,

(a few minutes later)

That should've been all I needed to say but I fuckin' hit the return key by mistake, (fuckin' computers, y'know, just like a broad, push the wrong the button and they just split) like the MISTAKE you've made about B.O.C. You seem to be a person of considerably good taste so why haven't you given at least one of these albums a 10.

I think this is a really shitkickin' live document of a band during their peak, though, I could do without the covers. I really don't think the sound is all that bad, in fact, on headphones it's a pretty awesome brain taser.

You gave a 10 to all those shitty bands like Led Zep, Rush and CHRIST, you even gave Bad Religion a fuckin' 10. Personally, I would give the first 3 albums a 10 (they're available in a boxed set). Come to think of it you didn't even give one of these a 9!!!

I think you really are gay and the broad you pose with is really your sister helping you cover up for reasons for liking bands like ... The Cure, for one. Just kiddin', man. I'm just a little bit disappointed with your decision. Listen to the first 3 in one sitting and maybe you'll catch that creepy vibe; but what could give YOU a creepy vibe when you're already fingering your sister, eh, Pringle?

That upside down coat hanger crack was hilarious, though.

Success sucked the soul out of this band, even though Cultosaurus Erectus showed a flash of their earlier genius.

Didja know that Richard Meltzer actually wrote some of the early Angry Samoans stuff, too?

wissahickonkid@msn.com
From now on,the band would never create an album with the cohesiveness of Secret Treaties....

a_leost@club-internet.fr (Alain_Léost)
Nice confusion on this live album : an explosive « Subhuman » to begin with, a wilder sound than on the studios lp’s, feedback and larsen, a huge « Last days of May », a raw and long « Seven screaming ». The slowest track on it, “Last days”, is the most violent song, cool thing. It’s Albert Bouchard ‘s favorite. This man has taste : no drums solo on it ! I think it’s their better live album. It’s not polished or kinda “Star Wars” show like « Enchanted evening », not a tired and old band like on « ETL ». “On your feet” sounds perfectly vicious and top of the seventies. Anyway, the Sabbath live are catastrophe ( have you heard Ozzy ruin the “Sabotage” tracks on “Past lives” ) “R’n’r Animal” is overrated, “Steppenwolf live” not so bad and more bluesy. Even “Space ritual” doesn’t stand the comparison though it has a much more beautiful cover. So, you’ve got this one, you metal freaks.

Add your thoughts?

Agents Of Fortune - CBS 1976.
Rating = 8

Has "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" on it. Not sure why "Don't Fear" is in parentheses. This album (another super-high 8 on the Mark Prindle Scale Of Death!) features more piano in the mix than the others and more sort of "arrangements" going on the songs rather than the straightahead creep cock rock they put on the first three records. Might have been an attempt to have some radio hits, dunno! Worked though. Really enjoyable, diverse and accessible album with forboding tunes like "Tenderloin" resting right alongside bouncy pop tunes like "True Confessions" and "Debbie Denise." I still have no clue what it is that Blue Oyster Cult were trying to accomplish, seeing as how their image was a heck of a lot more macabre than most of their tunes, but I'm glad they were at least capable of writing tons of boner rock wickies. Fuckin' NYC leather-clad weirdos.

One thing though: "Sinful Love" is one ugly, shitty song. In fact, I hate it so much, I mixed up the letters and got "This Song Sucks Dicks."

Look, I don't know letters. What do I look like, Captain Kangaroo or some shit? Lick my twat.

Look, I don't know anatomy. What do I look like, a twat doctor?

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com
OH YEAH BEBBE.

You hit the nail right into tha coffin, mate! This album rules! Easily the most consistent, diverse, and sonically interesting album BOC ever made...it seems to have the right balance between heaviness, moodiness, creepiness, poppiness, and bizarreness to really give the album that signature Cult sound. All of their other albums have too much of one of the above mentioned qualities, resulting in inconsistency because when they try to lean too heavily in one direction their material sounds a little forced and suffers as a result. Just listen to the fantastic songs on here: "This Ain't The Summer Of Love" opens the album and immediately sets a dire tone. It's awesome! That song would be very effective as the main soundtrack to one of those slasher movies! I'm not crazy about "True Confessions" though...very poppy and not even cool poppy like Alice Cooper's 70's ballads! Then we have "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", which of course is the one song by BOC that everybody knows, and it's a pretty damn fine tune, although it sounds nothing like anything else they ever recorded! Very eerie, mellow vocal melody and sort of a laid back, sleepy feel to it. "E.T.I." has an interesting riff, but it's kind of weird sounding...not one of their best rockers. "The Revenge Of Vera Gemini" is a damn fine song...again eerie sounding and with Patti Smith (ooh! another rebellious artist!) doing some guest vocals. Ya gotta love the signature BOC sound...eerie, yet catchy melodies, lots of layered vocal harmonies, awesome guitar playing courtesy of Buck Dharma, who I think is one of the most underrated guitarists in rock, strange subject matters and lyrics (often sci-fi influenced) and Eric Bloom's almost ghostly vocal delivery (when he wants to at least). Anyways, on to the other tracks! Unlike our derranged Prindster, "Sinful Love" is actually an amazing tune...one of the best on the album! Undeniably catchy melodies yet with a dark under-current...I love that style! "Tattoo Vampire" is a great rip roarin' rocker! "Morning Final" and "Tenderloin" are both awesome funkier spacey sounding tunes...just great stuff and all very original. That's what's great about this album...it's the one they least veered toward cliches on. I'm not crazy about the album closer "Debbie Denise", a very poppy little number...if they really had to keep it on the album, then they should have stuck it somewhere in the middle, leaving the amazing, darker "Tenderloin" at the end, which I think would have a more powerful effect. So, I would give this one a 9 out of 10, simply because the 2 poppy songs seem a bit uninspired and out of place, and "E.T.I" is a tad generic...otherwise, fantastic! Also worth mentioning is that the production on this album is far superior to the first 3 albums...it's very thick, layered, and generally more bombastic. Lotsa cool uses of different instruments and melodies.

Dan804935628@aol.com
Sounds nothing like their first three,no better no worse.Tenderloin is awesome,another one that sticks out is The revenge of Vera Gemini,Patti Smith helps out on that one.Great,just like the others!

grant@grantedmonds.com (Grant Edmonds)
One of my favorite albums of all time. My first BOC album, which led me into the rest of their stuff. And this has it all! The great newer metal of "Tattoo Vampire," and "E.T.I.," the classic rock of "This Ain't The Summer Of Love," and the Stonesish "True Confessions," the twisted Cult classic "The Revenge Of Vera Gemini," and finally the new element of Cult music: pop rock; featuring the three best songs on this masterpiece--"(Don't Fear) The Reaper," "Tenderloin," and my fave "Morning Final." All is great, all is good....well, maybe "Debbie Denise" could go...but it's a nice warm down nevertheless. The production is better too. A good pickup for all fans of music.

chaucer@ix.netcom.com (Ryan Maffei)
Hmm. Not really sure why everyone's so crazy about this one record (I've seen five star reviews from people who gave Paranoid a four). If anything, it's a step down from stuff like the debut album, with poppier songs overall and annoying production that relies too much on some sort of reverb effect. I guess it's supposed to be "atmospheric". It probably should've induced a massive pants-shitting amongst fans of the band, but instead, the BOC became stars. And even more mystifying is that this sudden change of style wasn't induced by any member, producer, or label change. Weird.

But flaws aside, there's still a lot of great tracks on here. I'll admit Al Bouchard's "Sinful Love" does suck, lyrically and musically, and I'm not too big a fan of the man's "Revenge of the Vera Gemini", but his "Debbie Denise" is a rather heart-tugging tribute to old style rock (you do have a heart, don't you, Mr. Fratzl?), and one of the best numbers on this album. As for the others: I always found "Tenderloin" a bit too sappy at first, but then I heard it again, and recognized its greatness, "True Confessions" is a great, rowdy pop number, "This Ain't the Summer of Love" is an excellent heavy metal addition to the record, "Morning Final" is an overall tolerable Joe Bouchard piece, and "Tattoo Vampire", later cited in works by Stephen King, is the most macabre thing the band ever did. Oh, yeah, "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" is also great, and always will be. But that was a given. However, I will say that even better is the follow-up track "E.T.I.", a solid, catchy alien abduction number, and the only song on here that's helped by the strange production. Pity Eric Bloom doesn't do his "they've found the saucer nooooooooooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOS!" thing he does live. It's entertaining, in a stupid sort of way. Like the Blue Oyster Cult overall. Huh.

My Rating: A High 8, but a lower one than I gave the debut.

wardwh@home.com (Ward Whetstone)
Leather, Leather, everywhere leather. Geez, wasn't it required by law to own this platter back in the 70's? Gawd awful car wreck musick. Just what da fuck is a Blue Oyster Cult anyhoo? OK, how to describe what's here. Imagine, if you will, NSYNC with testicles and a serious death obsession. No Kiddin' this is bubble gum boy band metal!!! Agents O' Fortune is the good puddin.

The delights of cosmic smurfdom reign supreme on several trax, check out ETI. Perfect. Shows what you can do with five notes and a fuzzbox. Great lyrics too, something about anal probing aliens. The truth is out there, and man you can bet that ole Cris Carter waz paying attention. Vera Gemini is sorta like attending a baptismal for Virginia Wolf. When I mixed up the letters to Sinful Love I came up with "Boot Boys Kill For Kicks", go figure. Look, I don't know Prindle. For my money, the most eerie track is Morning Final- hamburger all over the highway(thanx FST). Finally, Reaper is the one song that I'll request at YOUR funeral.

Final grade, a nine with a silver tipped bullet.

sarin13la@aol.com
This one is the beginning of the end for a band that once meshed an acidic morbid wit with a crunching down tuned boogie and churned out some mesmerizing melodies that made you feel very, very ... odd. True originals. I can't believe how much people rave about this release considering it's a precursor to the heap of dung that amassed their later works. "Tenderloin", "True Confessions" and "Debbie Does Denise" seem like rejects from another band like ... I don't know, The Starland Vocal Band, for example. I remember hearing this when it came out and the one track that stood out was "The Revenge of Vera Gemini." I've since bought the remaster with the bonus tracks (the bonus "Sally" is the best song on the whole thing and, of course, it's a reject from this album) and the liner notes state that they all had bought 4 tracks for their homes to come up with their own songs to offer up (or up chuck) to the contribution of this album. Who did they think they were anyhow, Queen? I don't know, this stuff is so fuckin' far removed from the first three albums it seems like all they did at home was have a buncha groupies lounging around saying, "So Mister rockstar, why doncha play me a song?" As he huffed up another rail of coke and replied, "Sure, baby, here's one I wrote 'specially for you called ummm... True Confessions." While she accompanied him on the skin flute. This sounds more like a couple of solo efforts than by a band as a whole. I would love to hear what E. Bloom came up for this since he has no song credits at all. "Tattoo Vampire," "E.T.I." "This Ain't the Summer of Love" and "The Revenge of Vera Vagina" are the only real ensemble pieces here or show any resemblance to B. O. C. of old. I left out the hit because it reminds me of Classic cock radio, but I did enjoy the demo of it with somebody doing the drum track by pounding on a coffee table. Surprised it doesn't have somebody in the background reacting to it and griping, "Hey, man, watchit, you're gonna spill the coke!!!!"

Don't get me wrong, I love this band. They kicked some shit when I saw them live. I fuckin' love the first three records and Cultosaurus Erectus, some of the finest and strangest straight up hard rock to ever be recorded, but this stuff is just mediocre radio friendly tripe. What's with all the multiple backup vocals on this, huh? Sounds like the Osmonds. Sabbath must've seemed relieved that they could still be leaders of the pack, but, shit, look what THEY came up with in '76, fuckin' Technical Ecstasy!!!!! Rock'n Roll Doctor, in deed. 1976 was a bad year for rock with the exception of AC/DC's High Voltage, but nobody even heard that until like 1978. Oh yeah, there was Aerosmith's Rocks, too. I still have fond memories of sucking face (with your mother) to Frampton Comes Alive, though.

No, I didn't forget the Ramones came out in '76 too, but that was pretty underground. Whom, by the way, were fans of those of the upside down coat hanger persuasion: which, FYI, is a symbol for Kronos (Saturn) a Greek God who in a fit of disgruntlement ate out his niece or something. Fame or the nexus of the crisis?The origin of the storm has passed FFFOOOOOOOSSSSSSSHHHH!! Time to fertilize the fields.

jdecuir@satx.rr.com (Jeff DeCuir)
Imagine my surprise when my wife announced that we were going to New York to see the latest Broadway smash "AGENTS OF FORTUNE"! Finally, someone did this fine album justice and presented it the way it was truly meant to be!

As we stood in line at the theatre, my heart raced. Would the songs be as good as on the album? Would it be better than RENT? Inside, a smelly dude in a Kingfish Trident shirt assured me he'd seen the production ten times, and that it was even better than MAMMA MIA. Of course, I had my doubts.

When the curtain rose, all my concerns were laid to rest as the cast broke into the opening number, "This Ain't the Summer of Love": 30 bikers who all looked like the leather guy from the Village People scooted their shiny new Harleys around the stage in tight formation. Their brand new leather jackets were as shiny as their hogs. As the all male chorus repeated "This ain't The Summer....This ain't The Summer..." chorus for the last time, parking their bikes center stage, and slapping each other on the ass in time with the drums, chills ran up my spine. Absolutely perfect. The numbers kept coming: each one a knockout: "True Confessions" with it's Fonzie piano, "Don't Fear the Reaper" sung by a soprano seated on a pink grain thresher, and the show's highlight, "The Revenge of Vera Gemini", which bore an incredible resemblence to WEST SIDE STORY's "Somewhere", with the male and female leads looking heavenwards, singing "We're gonna swim like the fish".

I don't want to spoil the rest for you, because you MUST see this production for yourselves. Let me just say this: When the hero returns at the end, wearing his dried-cum-incrusted leather pants, and sings to Debbie Denise, I cried....and I don't cry very often. So forget CHICAGO - theres not enough lingere in the world to save that stinker. And forget CATS.... AGENTS OF FORTUNE is the finest Broadway Musical ever.

MatthewByrd@hotmail.com
Ha ha, we COULD'VE used more cowbell.

pedroandino@msn.com
gotta have more cowbell, baby! yeah snl! mr.walken as a record producer and the band played the songs and someone bangs the cowbell! bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang! las agentes de fortuna!

1.THIS AIN'T THE SUMMER OF LOVE: you and your hippie dreams are over!!!! as 5 bikers gang up and with gold leather on the jacket and pants.

2.TRUE CONFFESIONS: IF USHER IS WHINING ABOUT THE CONFFESIONS THEN THIS ONE SOUNDS LIKE CHICAGO! YES IT'S CUTE BUT IT DOES SOUND LIKE RHODA!!! THE SITCOM!

3.DON'T FEAR THE REAPER: DO DO DE DA DO DE DA DO DE DA DO DE DA! YEP! THE METAL VERSION OF TURN TURN TURN! SWEETLY LAID BACK. USED TOO MANY TIMES BUT STILL IT REMINDS YOU OF ROMEO GETTING A FACE FULL OF COKE AND JULIET AND HER CUTE UNDERWEAR. MMMM.

4.ETI- EXTRATERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE: COSMIC TUNE. DIG THE LASER SOUND AFTER THE SOLO! MEN IN BLACK!

5.THE REVENGE OF VERA GEMINI: PATTI SMITH. MMMM SEXY ENCOUNTER WITH THE POET AND THE LOVER. NO MORE HORSES WE GONNA SWIM LIKE THE FISH. MMMM VERA VAGINA!

6.SINFUL LOVE: SOUNDS LIKE CHICAGO! MOST OF THE SONGS DO SOUND LIKE ROHDA!

7.TATTOO VAMPYRE!: SWEET JULIYA IS THE TATTOO VAMPYRE!

8.MORNING FINAL: DEATH OF THE SCHOOL TEACHER WHO BORES YOU! PIANO LED INTRO INTO SMOOTH JAZZ BACKING. EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA! XCLUSIVO! XCLUSIVO XCLUSIVO! XCLUSIVO XCLUSIVO! XCLUSIVO! XCLUSIVO!

9.TENDERLOIN: SWEET MIMI LEMUX! TASTY TENDERLOIN! SWEET TASTY TENDERLOIN! SMOOTH ROCK BAKING, PRETTY SYNTHS, HARD GUITAR.

10.DEBBIE DENISE: I LOVE SWEET SEXY PRETTY DEBBIE DENISE! I WAS OUT ROLLING A JOINT WITH MA BAND! SWEET PRETTY DARLING. GREAT BALLAD

11.FIRE OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN: 1976 DEMO. DESERT FEEL. NOT UNTIL LATER YOU CAN POLISH THE DEMO.

12.SALLY: SUCKS!

13.REAPER DEMO: SOUNDS LIKE A CAMP FIRE DEMO.

14.DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY; COMING SOON THE POP HIT SPECTRES.

agents of fortune is boc at the peak of the arena rock throne. yippe! a 10.

briantheisen84@yahoo.com
This one I don't get. Everyone raves about it, and it was the first album I got by them (mainly due to Reaper, and I heard that they were more of a heavy band that didn't sound like Reaper) but even without hearing anything else by them I thought it was a sell-out. This Ain't The Summer of Love made things sound promising from the get-go, but after that most of the album sounded like a friggin' ELO record. Reaper is by far the best song here, and I'll also give it ETI and Morning Final (reminds me of the Futurama theme, what with the bells and New York location and whatnot), but nothing else comes close to the earlier albums.

Add your thoughts?

Spectres - CBS 1977.
Rating = 4

Great news! The success of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" made Blue Oyster cultstart trying too hard for hits and more coke money! Their songs are no longer fucked up beyond repair, instead relying more on tired "scary" riffs that aren't scary, as well as incredibly stupid audience pandering like disco beats, predictable hard rock chord sequences and a song entitled (are you ready for this? I'm embarrassed to even write it) "R. U. Ready 2 Rock." And oh yes, the song is every bit as inept as the title would imply.

After four really good albums, Spectres comes a major, major letdown. For the first time, B.O.C. don't seem like freaks from a sickass part of New York who have an incredible way with a riff - instead, they seem like a group of tiring musicians who are trying really hard to create songs that radio DJs will enjoy. If it's any indication, that stupid single "Godzilla" is one of the most memorable tunes on here. Please, top musicians, you must stop snorting cocaine! Everybody! Nazareth, Patrick Hernandez, everybody! Cocaine is destroying your ability to tell the difference between good music and bad! And that means YOU, Mother's Finest!

Walter Egan?

YES! Everybody!

Boz Scaggs?

No, not Boz Scaggs.

No wait! You were trying to fool me!!!! YES, Boz Scaggs too! EVERYBODY!!!!!

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
WHOA! Major letdown after the brilliant Agents Of Fortune! Mark, I think you're dead on when you accuse them of clamouring for more hits after their first big taste of success. This is a completly disjointed album that veers way too far towards predictable pop rock for my liking...while Agents Of Fortune was a masterful blend of pop and their early dark, eerie style, this is a mess. Some of the songs are downright GAY, and makes you want to flog them for so ruthlessly whipping out their wannkers and jacking off over a hairy ass while abadoning their trademark style. Some of the melodies are very well done however, but they often suffer from the wussy pop production. They sound so desperate that it's actually embarrassing to listen to certain parts. "Godzilla" was the big hit and has a neat heavy riff, but it's just silly and overblown...when did they become a novelty act? "Fireworks" sounds like an attempt to copy "Don't Fear The Reaper", "The Golden Age Of Leather" has some nice vocal harmonies at the start, but the lyrics are a stupid low brow nod to bikers and the riff is something I've heard a million times before. "Searching For Celene"?? What a gay fuck-ass song. "Going Through The Motions"? It's pathetic keyboard boogie!And don't even get me started on "R U Ready 2 Rock", with quite possibly the worst song title (AND spelling!) in rock history...is this Quiet Riot?? Where did the witty intelligence go? Quite frankly, this band has always sounded out of place and awkward playing happy music. Man, there really isn't much here...I still like "I Love The Night" because it's haunting, ghostly melody is more in the style that they pull off so well, even if it's a bit long, and "Nosferatu" is an awesome goth song that sounds much more like it was recorded for the great Agents Of Fortune album than this smorgasbord of shit.

Dan804935628@aol.com
I'm suprised you gave this one such a low rating,Pringle,It has some pretty amazing songs on it ,actually.I agree witth you on R.U. Ready 2 Rock though,it sucks.Some good songs include Fireworks,I love the night,and one of the creepiest songs they ever did,Nosferatu. Oh,and Death valley nights kicks ass too!

grant@grantedmonds.com (Grant Edmonds)
Another solid effort, but how could it be anything other than a letdown after their masterpiece of '76? This is really the only album BOC put out besides the debut that seemed to lack a focus, and the ONLY album that lacked cohesion. A hard pop-rock anthem, then weird cheese rock, then slow pop rock, then hard rock, then radio-friendly rock, then super-cheese, then just two stupid, gay-rock songs, followed by (should have been radio hit) soft-rock tune, then strange rock again. The only constant is that it is all still rock music, but it's a "Singles" album. Some of these potential singles are great, like "Godzilla," "Death Valley Nights," "Fireworks," and the absolutely amazing, "I Love The Night." But some like "Going Thru The Motions" sound exactly as the title suggests. Then some are just fucked up, like "Nosferatu," and "Golden Age Of Leather." What the fuck is that? BOC at this point is becoming Buck Dharma's band. And this direction is what works at this point. Any attempt to capture the classic BOC (Eric Bloom) sound, is decent at best. Luckily Al Bouchard is adaptable. Still a good album, just super-uneven.

chaucer@ix.netcom.com (Ryan Maffei)
All right, calm down, now...Spectres was a letdown, but it wasn't a bad album. A lot of the songs on here are well written...they just lack the identity and originality of the past Cult stuff. Okay, ther is some crap, like the (b)anal "Searchin' for Celine", which is borderline disco and much too bass-driven, or the too-poppy "Fireworks", or the kitschy "Nosferatu"...but there's some great stuff as well. "Godzilla" is a genius song, and the culimnation of everything the Cult had stood for as a musical outfit up to that point. "Death Valley Nights" is another indisputable classic, the best thing on here, and the most touching hangover song ever. And they may be kind of...okay, really light, and really commercial and really unoriginal, but I still have a small place in my heart for the closing trilogy of "Celestial the Queen", "Going Through the Motions", and "I Love the Night", which are good in a kind of succumb-to-the-loveliness kind of way.

Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. No, screw that--I do. This album deserves at least some minor attention. The BOC released a lot of other, more offensive pieces of crap throughout their career, allowing this album the rating of a high 6. Of course, with the big man Mark and sidekick Roland here calling the album "stupid" and "gay fuck-ass", respectively, I guess my comments won't assist anything. But my opinions should be voiced, right?

Right, guys?

Am I out of the club now?

Dan.Miller@phs.com
Hey! Mark, Roland, hold up! I'm gonna back Ryan up on this one and even surpass him. Why? Because Spectres is a fine Blue Oyster Cult product indeed! I bought the used LP after reading your comments and waited for a "stupid-gay-ass-fuck-smorgasbord-of-shit." It's not. In fact, I find it overall more pleasing than "Agents of Fortune" (pleasing, but not better). I think this is because I went into "Spectres" with low expectations, and when I purchased "Agents" (the new, remastered version with extra tracks), I went into that with very high expectations that were not met ("True Confessions," anyone? And yeah, Mark, "Sinful Love" does smoke a snausage). Anyway, looks what's here: "Godzilla" is a hoot! Kind of an "Iron Man" with a sense of humor. Come on, man, it's not like it's called "Barney" or "Big Bird," for cryin' out fuck! "Golden Age of Leather" takes some silly lyrics and backs them up with a real tough rocker. Ryan got it right - "Death Valley Nights" IS the perfect hangover tune. "Searchin' for Celine" is a funky pop-rocker that fades out with a terrific, rollicking solo, and "I Love the Night," more so than "Fireworks," reminds me of "(Don't Fear) the Reaper," but it's one of Buck Dharma's finest. "Nosferatu," if it actually did belong on "Agents," would blow away most every tune on that album (save "the Reaper"). Another Joe Bouchard triumph! Unlike "Celestial the Queen," which sounds like a metal Moody Blues - Mike Pinder in leather. "Goin' Through the Motions" is pure pop made worthwhile by Eric Bloom's psychotic voice. Perhaps if the title "R U Ready (Eddie?) 2 Rock" was spelled out, it might have received a little more credit. It's really a cool anthem. Better than "Heavy Metal - the Black and Silver" and the anemic "Let Go" of a few years later. Shit, Quiet Riot, my ass. Close the curtains, light a candle, have a smoke and a glass of port, and give Spectres another chance, got it? Good!

dziemer@peoplepc.com (Don Ziemer)
This is in support of spectres. I rank this as one of my favorites. Right up there with Cultosaurus Erectus,Fire of Unknown Origin, Agents of Fortune and their first two albums. I think Agents of Fortune is overrated and a LOT of people associate their best known song (Don't Fear (the Reaper)) with it being from their best album. Maybe nobody but true fans would buy their less known albums and know others are just as good. The biggest complaint would be the lack of continuity. Take it for what it is. Seems like a lot of people want the "old" sound. But I think by staying with what's working you become stale and don't grow as a musician. How can you criticize someone for wanting to be successful? BOC gets into my soul and makes me feel connected to the universe. The lyrics are great and sung with passion. This is one of my favorite bands and it seems to me their sound grew as they did.

mabewa@yahoo.com (Matthew Ward)
I want to add my voice to the chorus of those defending this maligned work. Yes, after 4 great albums (all 9's, in my opinion), this was a bit of a letdown--only a low 8 or so. So, what was the matter with it?

Well, mostly the production. This isn't all bad, by any means, it helps increase the spooky atmosphere of fantastic songs like "Nosferatu" and "Death Valley Nights," but, for the first time, the production IS a bit overdone and weak-sounding, detracting from the band’s power. This is most apparent in the two songs that would appear on their next live album: "Godzilla" is still great here, but it sounds more like a novelty tune than the stomping rocker that it would soon become. RU Ready 2 Rock is not as bad as you make it out to be: OK, it's a goofy song, but it KNOWS it's goofy, and it's winking at you. But, the production here makes it sound pretty wooden--another example of a song that needed to be stripped of the overproduction to really come into its own.

But, aside from the production, it's hard to escape from the fact that this album has a bunch of great songs on it. Aside from "Godzilla," how about "Golden Age of Leather"??? A spooky multipart biker epic that manages to rock out and swing from boogie-rock to a freakin' boys choir without missing a beat. And yeah, "Death Valley Nights" IS one of the best hangover tunes ever written, Alfred’s weary, audibly pained vocal is perfect, and here, the atmospheric production and tinkly piano really add to the effect. The last three songs are all great: “Goin' through the Motions” is one of the poppiest things they ever recorded, but it’s a great, quirky glammy pop song, infinitely superior to, for example, almost anything on “Revolution by Night.” “I Love the Night” is one of Buck Dharma’s best creepy-yet-sweet ballads ever (how about a love song about a VAMPIRE?). Speaking of vampires, BOC really had a thing for ‘em, because the NEXT song is an even better vampire tune—Joe Bouchard’s SUPER creepy and nasty minor-key rocker Nosferatu. Love how that classical-sounding piano goes with those guitars, and the way that Bouchard sings "he vanished into DUST, left her all alone!."

The rest? They ain’t bad, folks. Yeah, the disco beat on “Searchin’ for Celine” is a shock at first, but they manage to make it weird and ironic, as usual. “Fireworks” has its strange, Albert-Bouchard sung descending melody, only to become corny and poppy on the chorus, but those kinds of contrasts are one of the things that made BOC interesting. Like most everything Joe Bouchard has ever written, except for a couple of those 80’s tunes, Celestial the Queen is really quite good, with that kind of stately, almost baroque-sounding piano stuff that this album features a lot of (did you know that Joe Bouchard is a kick-ass classical piano player, and that he made up the great intro to “Joan Crawford, although Allen Lanier played it???)

Anyway, back to this album: it’s a bit less consistent, and the production, while it sometimes goes with these tunes well, sometimes gets in the way. But, it’s still a damn good album.

welsberr@austringer.net
"relying more on tired "scary" riffs that aren't scary"

I can't speak for anyone else, but I've never played "Nosferatu" and not had the skin on the back of my neck crawl during the instrumental part following the death of Nosferatu. Plenty scary enough for me, every single time.

boscho1@optonline.net (Eric S.)
You nutwads who are putting this album down are so far from reality you should be working for Fox News.This is BOC's greatest record-a classic-better than most bands greatest hits-I Love The Night IS BOC's best tune-the album is consistently great from start to finish.I luv the first three studio records but this is THE ULTIMATE BOC.Could have used a better EQ though.

comandercrimson@velocity.net
i love this fucker- what was so great about agents of fucking fortune that made it any better than this? For fucking chrissakes, Nasfaratu is one of their finest tunes. I'll take nasfaratu over five fucking reapers and E.T.I's, thank you. Death Valley nights, Golden age of leather, Fireworks. and godzilla- yes FUCKING GODZILLA, people, because the monster king commannds our obedieance! (ugh, alright so im a shitty speller. but i don't care about spelling when I'm pissed off. WAAAAAAAAAAUUURGH!) I make no apologies for my love of this album- would you rather I sing high praise of Club Ninja? I thought not!!!! I'ts got that eerie vibe of their first album, all the way down to the lost-in-the-corridors-of Dracula's castle style reverb. even the weaker sections are nowhere near as pathetic as the stinkatude of some of the stuff off Agents(debbie denise? sinfull love? true confessions? ETI? What kind of crap is that?)

In short, I'd have to say I agree with welsberr and boschol who are above me. god, that sounded wrong

briantheisen84@yahoo.com
Being less than thrilled by AOF, I thought I'd give them another go with their other most acclaimed album, and found more of the same. I think Godzilla could have been alright, but the lyrics are beyond lame-amusingly though, I can picture them messing around in the studio, stumbling across the riff and one of them declaring, "Whoa, that sounds like a dinosaur, man!" (producer Bruce Dickenson marches in and tells them "Work with it, baby!"). But the one song here I'll give props here is the Golden Age Of Leather. That one doesn't seem to be held in high regard, but I think it's well arranged with the multi-parts and rocks more convincingly than everything else here. Everything else blows, though.

Add your thoughts?

Some Enchanted Evening - CBS 1978.
Rating = 8

Jesus christ, didn't they just put out a live album like five minutes ago? Do we honestly need another one this soon? Apparently so, according to Eric Bloom and his minions (the ones with less facial hair who don't wear leather pants and actually write the songs), if for no other reason than to give us a couple more energetic cover tunes ("Kick Out The Jams" and "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place"). Plus, oddly enough, it turns out that "R.U. Ready 2 Rock" actually WORKS in a live setting! It's a very appropriate way to get a crowd roused up. Didn't work worth a crap as a studio song though. Sterile. Bland! Anyway then, the recording on here is much clearer and crisper than on the last live album, but it's only half as long so keep that in your panties, Johnny Carson.

No, your other panties, Johnny Carson!

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
What the fuck is this for? There's only been two studio albums since the last live album, and they were recorded and produced better than the early albums, so why the hell would we need this? It's just another obvious cash-in, of course. Seeing that their two most recent studio records were very successful, and since at this time in the 70's live albums by rock bands were extremely popular, they must have figured releasing another live album now that they had become a household name would cement their popularity. What a cheesy, if logical, marketing ploy. Just get one of their three live albums...there's no need to own all of them.

chaucer@ix.netcom.com (Ryan Maffei)
Listen, please, and this is primarily directed toward Mr. Roland Fratzl (by the way, good call, Mark!)-- Blue Oyster Cult's Some Enchanted Evening can, I suppose, be labelled a marketing gimmick, and a somewhat blatant one at that. It was released, yes, a mere three years after the first live album, On Your Feet or On Your Knees, and it's really only half the record it should've been. Back in 1978, Sandy Pearlman probably was thinking "Okay, another year, another album...just something to hold off our 652 fans while we work on our next genius piece of work, Mirrors!". But, then, if this really puts you off, consider these merits: a) The sound quality is a shit-load better than that of On Your Feet, allowing maximum enjoyment of the record, b) we get blazing, energy-feuled versions of both pairs of favorites from Agents of Fortune and Spectres (including a stellar version of the mediocre "R. U. Reddy 2 R.O.C.K.in the USA"), c) the album nearly makes up for the great tracks missing from On Your Feet by including one of the best omitted songs, "Astronomy", and d) to top it off, we get two great cover songs. What the hell more could you want out of a one-record album? Fuck, if you wanted a COMPLETE concert, go out and buy the damn Concert for Bangladesh. And to all other BOC fans--go out and buy this!

Hey, if you skeptics still aren't convinced, consider how important an album this was. On Your Feet captured the band live when it was a big act. Some Enchanted Evening captured them live when they were MEGASTARS. Oh Yeah!!!

My Rating: A high 8

oneofsix1958@networld.com (Douglas Buck)
LMFAO again......like ya! 5 Minutes ago.........Just saw them live during the 4th of July.........at Ogden Utah...........crowd of about 300.........

THAT'S what a live album every two years will do to ya.................

.....I was wondering at this time(such a LONG time ago)...........what happened to the band?????????????????

NICE album cover though........and the best version of Godzilla..............but hey, when you have stuff like Van Halen, Styx and Kansas this one pales by comparison.

WuChi7@aol.com
The cover of "Kick Out the Jams" is interesting but the only reason I own this CD is the live version of "Astronomy". The Secret Treaties version is great, but the addition of a great Roeser solo makes the live cut much more powerful.

Add your thoughts?

Mirrors - CBS 1979.
Rating = 4

This was their attempt to leave their macabre image behind and 'go pop,' with Cheap Trick producer Tom Werman along for the ride. Looks like somebody's run out of inspiration though, because even the BEST songs on here sound more suited to Boston and Foreigner than that cool band who once serenaded us with "You're As Beautiful As A Foot." And yes, it's hilarious that the Bouchard brothers wrote a parody of The Cars' "Just What I Needed" that wound up making the final track listing (check it out - "You're Not The One (I Was Looking For)" -- the similarity is a hoot!), but otherwise this is a bunch of suckass blow. The band looks like a bunch of tools on the back cover too. Did somebody replace the original Blue Oyster Cult with a bunch of Hall and Oates sidemen or something?

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Very similar to Spectres, and that's not good. While Spectres has at least a few great songs and a lot of shit, this one doesn't have any songs that are great, but the overall quality of the writing is probably a bit higher here. It's certainly moer consistent and less maddening to listen to. "Dr. Music" starts off ok but then steals the riff from Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman"...do they think people are so stupid that they wouldn't notice something that obvious? The chorus is pretty bad too, with stupid bitch back-up singers. What happened to this band?? I mean, "In Thee" is a nice soft ballad, and "I Am The Storm" is the best song here, but then there's that disco song at the end, which, instead of being an over the top campy number that I could have respected is actually quite lazy and boring, and while there are some good riffs and melodies here and there, like in "The Vigil", "Moon Crazy", and a few others, the production is bland and slick, and there's nothing even remotely threatening or off the beaten path...they've become a simple pop rock band that really isn't unique in any way, and they can't even do pop rock very well. But you can bet your stainless steel cock ring that they had plenty more gays waiting for them backstage.

Dan804935628@aol.com
I disagree again,I think MIRRORS is a pretty descent album,a lot poppier than what your used to hearing from B.O.C.,but does that make it a bad album,no.

grant@grantedmonds.com (Grant Edmonds)
I don't know what everyone else is hearing, but this is a damn good album! "Dr. Music," okay--it's cheesy, I understand that one. Other than that, how can you not like these tunes? "The Great Sun Jester," "In Thee," "Mirrors" (oh so good!), "The Vigil," "I Am The Storm," "Lonely Teardrops,"....This is a more focused Spectres, with BOC going with what's been working since "Reaper" hit the airwaves. The old BOC is officially no more, but that's good since they seemed to lose that part of themselves on the last album. This album is tighter, better produced, and more consistent than any previous effort minus Agents. Tom Werman surprisingly cleans up the sound a bit too much...but it's definitely still loud and clear! Other than this possibly "overly-cleansed" sound, and possibly "Dr. Music" I cannot see what everyone's problem is with this album. Yes, it is poppy, but it's good pop-rock. And that's only a few songs, the rest is deep and heavy (albeit in a radio-friendly way)! I dunno, I give up trying to convince anybody...try to accept the new direction and see the songs for what they are, if not necessarily for how they are recorded, and you'll love it too...

chaucer@ix.netcom.com (Ryan Maffei)
How, a mere four years after they were playing such great, dark, hard rock, did the BOC decsend into the level of some sort of third-rate radio-friendly crowd-pleaser piece-of-shit (AAAAAARRRRGHH!!!!!) pop band?

I mean, I don't think that this stuff was in Sandy Pearlman and Richard Meltzer's original vision. Why'd they let such a great metal outfit go south? So quickly?

Tom Berman, who was hired by Columbia to work on the record, produces here (instead of the Clash's Pearlman), and the album sounds great, but not one song sounds like a Blue Oyster Cult song--even if some are kinda catchy--which is extremely disappointing. "Dr. Music" is a piano-driven, banal Kiss ripoff ("Calling Dr. Love", anyone?), "The Great Sun Jester" is sappy arena rock, "In Thee", despite how well it's written, isn't anything more than a adult-contemporary staple of 70's AM radio, "Lonely Teardrops" is very disco-ish, "You're Not the One I Was Looking For" might as well have been a 1983 Billy Joel hit, and "Moon Crazy" is some kind of freakish cabaret thing that I never want to hear again or I'll have to tear somebody's throat out and hurl it at a nice old lady trying to cross the street.

I will admit that aside from that last song, I am able to allow myself to be immersed in some of the music, particularly "In Thee", if I just forget it's being played by the BOC. So the album deserves some points. And--surprise, surprise! Two songs are actually good Blue Oyster Cult songs! Don Pedro Roeser's "The Vigil" is pretty slickly produced and relatively unclassifiable style-wise, but I really like it for some reason. It just seems like...the smartest thing on the album. "I Am the Storm" is a little more of a guilty pleasure, but it's still a piece of fun, if conventional, metal. Of course, the subject matter is rather untruthful. The B.O'Cult hadn't been any kind of storm for three straight years.

My Rating: A very well-produced 4. Swallow that, Tom Berman!

briantheisen84@yahoo.com
Ehh...this isn't a good album, but I get a lot more enjoyment out of this one than Specters at least, if only for the Vigil. That is a cool song! Very epic, rockin', and has several melodies running through it. It's kinda of a precursor to the next album. I think there's one or two other songs on here that aren't bad, but I don't feel like relistening to it again.

Add your thoughts?

Cultosaurus Erectus - CBS 1980.
Rating = 8

FUCK YEAH!!!! The Blue Oyster Corporation is back playing GRITTY WEIRD GUITAR ROCK again!!!! No more dippy pop aspirations, this is the Cult as they began and should have always stayed - a little off the mark, a little too skrewy for mainstream success, but perfect for guitar rock fiends like me. The song titles still aren't as cool as they were back in the old days, but the riffs and slightly menacing air are! For example, dig the first song "Black Blade" - That ain't no guitar playing a chunka-chunka guitar line. Sit between your speakers - it's TWO guitars! One is playing "chunk" and the other is playing "-ah"! And how about that bizarre chorus -- "BLACK bla-bla-bla-bla-blade! BLACK bla-bla-bla-bla-blade!" That'r teahre CTTOPREDSe! TORPSE! TORPSE! For elsewise, have you ever heard a goodtime rocker as bizarre as "Hungry Boys"? It's just an ODD way to approach an otherwise tired musical cliche, eh? Good stuff. A really low 8 sure, due to a few overblown Who-esque moments on side B, but an 8 nonetheless! An ignored comeback from a band that has never made a perfect album, but has made several really good ones.

However, even I am astonished by the stupidity of the "rock n' roll celebration" in the middle of "The Marshall Plan." What is this, Tormato?

And if so, can I have a copy? I really like Tormato.

Reader Comments

pfaigan@zfree.co.nz (D. Zarakov)
The stupid "rock'n'roll celebration" section in "Marshall Plan" I figure is a joke, a goof on this album's producer's most famous producees (Deep Purple)(Martin Birch).I guess it's still pretty stupid tho'.

Incidentally I don't think he makes much of a job of this, it's nowhere near as good as Pearlman & Krugman's production of their early stuff (or M.Birch's work with Deep Purp either)(of course). Their last album you could call "really good" though.(I haven't read that far yet, but I bet yr going to give fuckin Imaginos a 10.)

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
My sentiments exactly. A vast improvement over the last two studio efforts, but I think the eight is a knee jerk reaction on your part Mark, after listening to those bad albums...it isn't that good either, not like the first four albums anyway. It's a real treat to hear the mean, weird, sci-fi influenced BOC back again though, virtually dropping all of the recent misguided and ill executed pop leanings. The best song here, and an unknown classic, has to be "Unknown Tongue". It should be a goth anthem! "Black Blade" isn't too bad, but why does the echoey chorus make me think of the intro to the 80's cartoon Thundercats, where their brave leader Lion-o holds aloft his magic sword and screams "HO!!!!!!!!"?? Hmmm, kinda reminds me of He-Man too!

Dan804935628@aol.com
Black blade rules! So do all the rest,I especially like DIVINE WIND,kinda creepy!

grant@grantedmonds.com (Grant Edmonds)
I knew the instant I saw Martin Birch's name on the back cover this would kick ass! He is definitely my favorite producer of all-time. (Check out his shit with Maiden, Sabbath, Rainbow, MSG, Whitesnake, Deep Purple, it all sounds great!) I was not disappointed. This is BOC at their heaviest! It is NOT a return to form. This is nowhere near the music of Agents or Treaties. It is a more mature weirdness, and definitely calls for heavier production unlike those older albums. It is a natural progression from Mirrors, because the songs themselves aren't that different. It's just the production job that's definitely night-and-day. Mirrors could have benefitted from a heavier sound like this (and if it did, you'd all agree that album is just as good as this one). Anyway, the rock hits hard with tunes like "Black Blade," "Monsters," "The Marshall Plan," and my fave "Lips In The Hills." (Just a side note--notice how the "Alien" track on each BOC album tends to be one of the best songs from that particular album? Just a thought to ponder.) And the lighter tracks are treated nicely too: "Deadline," and "Unknown Tongue" are Mirrors-type tracks which fit in quite nicely here. Has anyone noticed how "Fallen Angel" sounds exactly like The Who? Great tune too. This is my second favorite Cult album, and damn... it's weird too!

chaucer@ix.netcom.com (Ryan Maffei)
Much better than Curse of the Mainstream Mirrors, but still a little poppy and commercial. Critical thoughts aside, I really like the album, and enjoy it every time I put it on. Then again (back to criticizing), the only songs on here that I can hold absolutely nothing against are the bone-crunchin', ass kickin' rocker "Black Blade", which would still melt ears today if people would go out and buy the damn album, and the macabre closer "Unknown Tongue", whose demerits are forgivable because the song obviously strives for the campiness it reeks of. Love the piano part on there, too.

The rest, unfortunately, isn't as easily rave-able. "Hungry Boys" and especially "Monsters" are excellent, and really, yes, bizarre, and I guess that's what makes 'em great tunes. "The Marshall Plan" is also a solid rocker, and I can deal with the "rock'n'roll celebration", even though Don Kirshner, in a guest spot, sounds as bored as a robotic priest. I also like "Divine Wind", which is reportedly a jab at the Ayatollah Kohmeini, and the speedy, heavy "Lips in the Hills" too. But all of these are sabotaged as classics in my mind when I think of "I'm on the Lamb and I Ain't no Sheep", and how stellar, un-commercial, and dark it was, and the Cultosaurus Erectus stuff seems like it suffers from the known syndrome of GOING-FOR-MAINSTREAM, which scientists are trying to find a cure for in Monrovia, which is the only country named after an American president, which is irrevelent in this review.

But seriously, add to the above list of selections the mediocre synthesizer-pop of "Fallen Angel" and whaddaya get? A relatively good record called Cultosaurus Erectus that's worthy of a middling 7. Thank you, good night.

DArmstrong@bryson-architects.net (David Armstrong)
Bout ye Smark arse?

Just got all my old vinyl out of storage at long last, played this lp after reading your review and thoroughly enjoyed it, (the record that is). I've got a copy of Tormato too by the way. Saucy ninety million marvellous !

briantheisen84@yahoo.com
Moving on into a more fantasy-based territory with the return of the emphasis on guitars, they now kind of sound like a bridge between arena rock and Iron Maiden or someone. Which really isn't a bad thing, but the songs are a bit more power chord-y (as opposed to the old riffs) than I'd like, such as the opening to Black Blade, which gets better midway through (cool ending with the vocal effect). I also like Monsters and Divine Wind, but could have done without the Marshall Plan and Unknown Tongue (both lose points for ugly Ian Anderson-esq lusting over teenage girls).

Add your thoughts?

Fire Of Unknown Origin - CBS 1981.
Rating = 7

I really enjoy odd melodies. Like "Don't Turn Your Back." Simple, but there's just something *different* about it. Bass guitar bouncin' around between those tentative, questioning chords. Blue Oyster Cult are good with stuff like 'at. You've heard "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," right? Just strange little riffs. Not necessarily SCARY and definitely not heavy metal (thank god -- they'd suck at that); just slightly strange. It's when they go OVERBOARD trying to create a threatening ambience that they just fail. Their harder rock tunes, for example, are generally pretty lame -- predictable, bland fist-thumpin' singalongs (the chorus to "Sole Survivor" is a perfect example of this - it's even dumber than the Asia song with the same title! And that's saying quite a hell of a bit of lots!). And what the funk is up with "Joan Crawford Has Risen From The Grave"? There's NOTHING good about that song! Is it meant as a joke? It doesn't even work as a joke!!!! Sheesh.

Fire Of Unknown Origin is good old classic hard rockin' (w/keyboards!) leather pant wearin' Blue Oyster Cult (as opposed to the more radio-friendly shyt), but the set list here isn't quite as consistent. Still has oodles of well-arranged music though, including the classic "Burnin' For You," which will have you burnin' for yourself.

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Continuing the comeback! Never in my right mind would I have ever even remotely thought that a 70's band's early 80's albums would actually be better than their late 70's ones! People, you have to understand that this is a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, rare exception to the rule! This is one of their best albums in terms of songwriting, once again finding a consistent balance between melodic pop and forboding hard rock. I think they were inspired to write strong material because originally this whole album was going to be the soundtrack to the Heavy Metal animated movie that hit theatres in 1981, so there was more at stake than usual. It certainly would explain why a lot of this stuff is diverse...they had to adapt the individual songs to the corresponding scenes in the movie. Unfortunately for them, the film studio told them rather late in the game that only one Blue Oyster Cult song would be included on the soundtrack, with the rest coming from various other bands. So the band then just released the material they wrote for the film on this album instead. The album is kinda hard to describe...there are very solid poppy melodies from start to finish, but they are catchy without sounding stupid or commercial as on past efforts. 1981 being the height of the new wave explosion, there are a shitload of keyboards and synthesizers here, but they never become overbearing, and actually, dare I say it, help greatly in creating the moody soundscapes that make this a great listen. Again, I can't effectively describe how it sounds, but like Mark said, there are tons of really unique, catchy, yet ODD melodies here that aren't necessarily heavy, but create a very dark, gothic, brooding atmosphere that only BOC could create, and boy do they do it well. The production is very clean and crisp, but I would say that at the same time it blunts the potential power of some of the harder songs, like "Heavy Metal", which sounds rather impotent compared with other bands at the time. More vintage haunting vocal harmonies everywhere. "Veteran Of The Psychic Wars" is the only song that was included on the Heavy Metal soundtrack, and it's one of the most interesting experimental tunes ever made by this band. It sounds like a death march awash in electronic keyboard sounds...I just love it. Unlike Mark, I think "Soul Survivor" is a great song...it's not a "fist pumping hard rock" song at all, but rather a dark pop tune with a great groove driven by a simple yet beautiful bass line and gothy chorus. And how about that sudden shift into a cool speed-metal jam in the middle of "After Dark"? Awesome! And "Joan Crawford Has Risen From The Grave" is also great, with it's eerie classical piano intro (showing off the talents of Allen Lanier) leading into a weird sounding dark boogie section with a chorus that won't leave your cranium! The middle part is silly though with the dumb sound effects. It was one of the hits, along with the huge hit "Burnin' For You", with the obligatory early 80's music video set in some post apocalyptic setting with big titted girls straight out of Mad Max/Blade Runner staring lustily at the camera, just like in Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself" video, and Kiss's "Lick It Up" video, and Helix's "Rock You" video, and Motley Crue's various videos, ad nauseam...why did so many bands have videos like that back then?? The only song I don't care for is the last one. This was their last good album for the next 17 years, so the road's getting very bumpy just ahead. If they had spent their whole career putting out albums like this their legacy would certainly have been much greater. 9 out of 10.

grant@grantedmonds.com (Grant Edmonds)
Just when you think they couldn't get any weirder than the last album, they do. And it's with mixed results. To this day, I don't get why everyone praises this album so much. Sure, it's got a few things going for it: "Burnin' For You," "Heavy Metal...," "Don't Turn Your Back, " and a really good eerie vibe through it all; but it just doesn't quite deliver the goods for me. And what the fuck is with "Joan Crawford?" To me, that's WAAAYYY OVERBOARD!! It's creepy, scary, and humorous just for the sake of being creepy, scary, and humorous. IT'S A TERRIBLE SONG!!! How this is a hit is beyond me...

Anyway, the album lacks the punch of it's predecessor, the songwriting of Mirrors, and the overrall QUALITY variety which made Agents so good. It's even lower on my list than Spectres, 'cause it has less strong songs. The vibe is definitely cohesive, and it sounds like an album unlike Spectres, but it's just not as good overrall. The only thing I come away with is a creepy enjoyment...which in itself is good, but I just can't remember the songs very well....

chaucer@ix.netcom.com (Ryan Maffei)
Essentially, this is a sort of retread into the territory of Agents of Fortune--the attempt at a new, more commercial style after some heavy stuff that is respected by critics and audiences. That's how I see it, at least. And, like Agents, it is one of their best, and it has some great tunes on it that you get to like if you can ignore the plaguing synthesizers courtsey of Mr. Allen Lanier. Ooh, by the way, the musicians diversify their work on this record, with a bunch of non-bassists playing bass on some tracks and the bassist playing keyboards and the lead guitarist playing percussion and it's a whole bunch of complicated shit. Like the music.

Martin Birch still produces, and this is Albert Bouchard's last album with the group. Let me just say that he was a great songwriter, and a great drummer and probably wouldn't have left after he heard his brother Joe's "Light Years of Love" on the next album, Revolution by Night. But he did leave. Bastard. As for the songs, highlights include the opening "Fire of Unknown Origin", which is really dark, cool, and well-written, "Burnin' for You" of course, the great rocker "Sole Survivor", "After Dark", which is both poppy and morbid at the same time, and "Veteran of the Psychic Wars", which has some great guitar parts and will be recognized by sci-fi geeks everywhere and was the only good part of the movie Heavy Metal. They should have a director's cut of that movie with everything edited out except that song and the gratuitous female nudity (yeah, I'm kidding, I ain't no pervert).

Well, I guess I'm done--this record is difficult to review for me, because it has something that's kind of...off about it. Something that hurts it critically all along the way that I can't put my finger on. Otherwise, it's great stuff, even though not exactly faith-keeping for the B.O.C. Oh, well.

Finally, let me just say something critically that isn't difficult for me to discern: "Joan Crawford" is the best damn song the band ever did. It's dark, heavy, catchy, macabre, and FUNNY AS HELL. I mean, you have all of these wierd lines about a town reacting to some kind of horrible occurrence as if Godzilla was coming their very way, ravaging and pillagine and destroying, and then--bang!: "Joan Crawford has Risen From the Grave!!!" Let me tell you, I'm not the kind of guy that likes to laugh, and I fell out of my chair. That part with "Christina...mother's home" is also great. And fuck, the song's much better than Mommie Dearest.You all who hate it have no brains. Sorry. I'm done now.

My Rating: A high 8

pedroandino@msn.com
1981 was the year of the synthesizer. computers and rick james were hot at the secne and boc needs a hit. a cover of dwarf people and wizards look at you and this is fire of unknown origin

1.FIRE OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN: MOODY DISCO TUNE WITH DARK SYNTHS AND THE VOCALS ARE EVEN DARK. DEATH COMES SWEEPING AND DEATH COMES DRIVING.

2.BURNING FOR YOU: MUCH OF THE ALBUM WAS ORIGINALLY SET TO BE THE SOUNDTRACK TO THE HEAVY METAL FLICK BUT THEY ONLY HAVE ONE SONG.

3.VETERAN OF THE PSYCHIC WARS: A DEADLY DEATH MARCH WITH DARK SYNTHS AND A STELLAR VOCAL BY RIC BLOOM LEADS YOU INTO THE MIND OF A SPACE MAN. HEAVY DRUMS AND SYNTHS CRASH ONTO YOU.

4SOLE SURVIVOR: BASS LINES AND SYNTHS LEAD THE SONG INTO A DARK PLACE WHERE A MAN CHEATS DEATH AND ESCAPES THE STARSHIP!

5.HEAVY METAL: GREAT FLICK GREAT SONG. THE GUITARS SOUNDS LIKE LASERS.

6.VENGENCE THE PACT: BASED ON THE MOVIE THIS IS THE ADVENTURES OF SEXY WARRIOR PRINCESS TAARNA THE MUTE WARRIOR WHO KICKED ASS IN THE HEAVY METAL FLICK! OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO YEAH!

7.AFTER DARK: SPEEDY TRACK WITH A KILLER SPEED METAL SOLO BY BUCK DARMA!

8.JOAN CRAWFORD: SPOOKY PIANO, DARK MUSIC, SOUNDS, SYNTHS, A CRAZED MANIAC OF A MOM! JOAN CRAWFORD HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVE!!!!

9.DON'T TURN YOUR BACK; AAAAAAAAAAAAAH MORE SWRILING SYNTHS.

COOL ALBUM. 10. WHERE IS THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIVE ALBUM?.

briantheisen84@yahoo.com
I kind of disagree again and find this to be one of their more consistent albums. The only song I really dislike is Joan Crawford, and the first song sin't as good as everything else, but this might be my favorite since at least Secret Treaties. Despite more synths here or there, it doesn't become painfully 80s sounding, and they have some interesting guitar tones on here (like Heavy Metal.) Don't Turn Your Back returns to that dark tone they used to do well, while sounding different musically, After Dark is intense (nice solo!) and that weird laughing in The Pact fits what you said about how they can come up with odd melodies. I thought for a while that Veteran was a rip-off of Hawkwind (that title appears somewhere in Warrior at the Edge of Time) but then, Micheal Moorcock co-wrote it (as with some stuff on the previous album.) I wish they would have kept up this allience.

Add your thoughts?

The Revolution By Night - CBS 1983.
Rating = 3

I don't like to cuss, so I'm going to restrain myself here and simply ask, "What the fornication is this defecation?" Bad pussy metal, that's what it is. Bad pussy metal with godawful chord sequences that make you feel like you're listening to Poison or the Bullet Boys, but without those bands' highly developed senses of charisma. Disgustingly bad. One of the choruses is: "B! O! C! You can be whatever you wanna be! You got the power, we got the key! B! O! C!". I think it's about eating corn backwards.

I honestly don't know what happened here - they had to replace their drummer (one of the main songwriters), but I'd hate to think that that would affect the GUITAR lines in such a drastic manner. Two of the songs have that old magic -- "Shooting Shark" and "Veins," which reminds me of the fine early 80s TV movie Rona Jarrett's Mazes And Monsters, starring a young Tom Hanks in his finest role since He Knows You're Alone. It was about a fantasy gamer who got so caught up in the fantasy that he lost his mind and wakes up with blood on his hands thinking that he may have killed somebody. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho! He he he he he he he! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Which reminds me: Don't buy this album; buy something by Flipper.

Is it gramatically correct to use both a colon and a semi-colon in the same sentence like that? I don't want to end up getting butt-entered in grammar prison.

Reader Comments

errado@ruralsp.com.br (Bernardo Pacheco)
Ah, I see Prindle's got his touch back. "What the fornication is this defecation?" will be plagiarized by me many times in the years to come. Their first album rules. I should get more stuff by BOC.

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Fuckola. Easily the worst album yet, probably at least partially a result of one of the original members of the band leaving before the album was recorded. Partially also because once again, they've abandoned what they do best in order to cater to the trends of the time, in this case bad hair/pop metal. I just don't understand why they kept doing this, because they always fall flat on their faces when they take on styles that don't come naturally to them...will they never learn?? I can understand that they thought they had to do this to make "hits" but the problem is that their material really suffers when they try hard...as you can see, all the albums in their history where they just concentrated on writing in their own unique style were really solid efforts with nary a dud, while the rest are mostly unimaginative trash. And why use so many outside songwriters on this album? Last time I looked, they were a solid rock band with a decade long legacy at this point, not N'fucking Sync. All this did was dilute the sound and make the band not really sound like themselves anymore, although they really took this to the extreme on the next album, Club Ninja (see my scathing review below). It certainly starts off promising enough with "Take Me Away", a charging, energized sci-fi inspired song in the vein of their classic style...this is the sort of fast driving rock song that should have been on the last album. But the album immediately goes into a total nosedive right after that...it's almost like "Take Me Away" was a leftover from the last album's recording sessions because the rest sounds nothing like it, ranging from nauseating pop metal to gut wrenching new wave...terrible album, with maybe only slight glimpses of improvement in patches of other songs, but nothing concrete. A 3 is about right, but the next one hits rock bottom quite predictably actually.

grant@grantedmonds.com (Grant Edmonds)
Oh no...I understand and agree with much that has been and will be written about this album. Birch has left, and an unproven Bruce Fairbairn takes over (you know, before he knew what he was doing). Damn, bet you all would listen to Mirrors now won't ya?!? Well, maybe not...but it's a hell of a lot better than this. I must say though, once you get used to the super-poppy sound, it grows on you. "Take Me Away," "Shooting Shark," and uhh...others I cannot seem to remember right now are actually pretty good songs...just produced waaaayyyy too poppy. And I enjoy Mirrors' production too. Where's the bass and drums and all the bottom-end shit? Verdict: The album can stand as is...barely...but it needed the bottom-end at the very least so the production, for me, wouldn't be an issue. Song-wise, it's bright and well-written for the most part, a nice change of pace from the bleak and uninspired last album. But the darker, moodier songs on Revolution (ie. Shadows Of California) should not be on an album such as this.

chaucer@ix.netcom.com (Ryan Maffei)
Well, Mark, Roland, and Grant. I'm going to get really controversial now. I, a legitimate Blue Oyster Cult fan, as well as a legitimate amateur critic, do not find this record to be bad. In fact, I find it to be merely mediocre. I would warrant the record a 6, and here's why.

When I first heard it, yeah, I was left on the verge of vomiting, shocked at how despicable a piece of shitty 80's rock could've wandered into such a great metal band's catalog. But after several listens more, and then several critical listens, I discovered that only a few songs could truly be deemed shitty. "Shooting Shark", "Veins", and the abysmal "Light Years of Love", which is most certainly the worst song ever recorded (hear that, Dave Barry?) are my picks for the black spots of the record. The former and its follower are both just too-traditional 80's style synth-pop, the first with a mechanical-sounding bass line and drums that may as well have been programmed on a screwed-up computer and then played backwards onto the track, and the second with synthesizers that shroud the guitars. And crummy lyrics. Of course, they're by Richard Meltzer, so that was a given. And don't even get me started on "Light Years", which is "Hot Rails to Hell"'s Joe Bouchard's songwriting death knell. Hell, it even dares to castrate Buck Dharma's solo by handing him an acoustic guitar. Sappy Disney crap, I say. And Bouchard's voice even sounds like a Sesame Street muppet getting a root canal without anasthesic.

But some of the other tracks are more forgivable. "Take Me Away" and "Eyes on Fire" are two classic-style rockers, the best on the album, and some of the best the band ever recorded. "Shadow of California", "Feel the Thunder" and especially "Dragon Lady" are quite admissable heavy tunes, and "Let Go", which is a return to form musically for the band but has the prestigous "B.O.C.!..." lyrics, may be a piece of "pussy-metal" crap, but consider this: the band was always intended to be a musical comment on the industry of the day, so...could the song maybe be a parody of bad metal anthems? Just a thought...they should really make a karaoke version, though.

All in all, the album really isn't the "defacation" certain people (ahem) have made it out to be. Mark and the rest of you, give it a few more listens, and you may soon see what I mean. Or not. Oh, well. My Rating: Once again, a low 6.

mabewa@yahoo.com (Matthew Ward)
OK, this one DOES bite it, big time. I remember being back in 9th grade, in the early 80’s, already being somewhat of a BOC fan, and hearing “Take me Away” and “Shooting Shark” on the radio. At the time, I thought “Pretty good songs. Kind of like BOC Lite, but good nonetheless.” Anyway, for some reason, this was one of the few BOC albums I never owned, and never really heard, excepting probably a couple of times when I was at some teenage kegger and too wasted to pay attention. Finally, last year, I bought it, with reasonably high expectation. I think I was thinking that it would be like “Fire of an Unknown Origin,” only poppier, something like that.

Well, to my astonishment, this is the FIRST Blue Oyster Cult album that I’ve been completely unable to like! OK, so I don’t really know Mirrors, and Club Ninja is fairly weak, if underrated, but this one actually manages to suck. The problem? Well, as eloquently stated above, this is pussy-metal. Bad candy-ass cock-rock. WUSSY metal would be more like it. It really does sound kind of like Survivor or something! Of course, a lot of it is the production, with those huge, booming, ugly reverbed 80’s drums, but I can think of badly produced BOC tunes which are actually pretty good, once you get past the production. Here… THE SONGS SUCK EVEN WHEN YOU DISREGARD THE PRODUCTION.

OK, so the two singles, “Take me Away” and “Shooting Shark” are still pretty good, if overproduced, but I was kind of thinking that they would be the weaker, poppier tracks, and that there would be some much better songs here somewhere. Boy, was I wrong! OK, so I do like “Feel the Thunder” pretty OK, for the atmospheric beginning part, and the fact that it does manage to rock fairly hard. But the rest? Eeew! “Let Go” is easily the worst song that the band has ever done (unless “Mirrors” actually contains a worse one that I haven't heard). Since we already have quotes from its lyrics above, I’ll spare y’all. “Eyes on Fire” is actually a reasonably well-written song (written, in fact, by an outside writer) but it’s so incredibly predictable and bland—a perfect Survivor tune. Plus, it’s almost heartbreakingly pathetic to hear Eric Bloom sing lines like “Don’t she, don’t you see I’m crying out loud can’t she tell I need her now?” Whatever happened to singing about wholesome subjects like horny toads, doing it to your daughter on a dirt road, cagey cretins, vampires, drug murders, and alien abductions??? Then, “Dragon Lady,” OK, there’s a melody there, but, again, pathetically cliqued cock-rock lyrics. Unfortunately, most of the album is like that.

I’ll venture that “Veins” is probably the closest to being an OK song, besides the singles, has a bit of a new-wave feel that I'm partial to. “Shadow of California” starts out like a very ugly, weird ZZ-top number, but by the end, it the weirdness gets somewhat endearing, and I will admit a slight soft-spot for one of the most hated songs in the band’s whole catalogue—“Light Years of Love,” which sounds like some of Neil Young’s confused-sounding synthesized 80’s stuff. But, this is grasping for straws. This is a bad album, people! OK, so it’s BOC, so it’s a high 3 or maybe even a low 4, but that’s pretty pathetic for the band that recorded “Secret Treaties”…

Was it because Albert left? Well, he WAS one of the bands most interesting members, as well as a prolific songwriter. You would think that he wouldn’t have allowed that horrible drum sound, although Imaginos started out as an Albert solo album, and the drum sound is that album’s biggest weak point… Anyway, I don’t think he would have allowed the band to make such a bad album, but obviously, there was more than just his absence making this album suck.

pedroandino@msn.com
hey man! I do have a sweet daughter who loves debbie gibson ! and tiffany! do not blame me or flame me I like it! no no no no no no no ! do not flame me ! shooting shark is like a journey/genesis/duran duran song! it is superslick dance rock so sweet and tasty! my 6 year old kira loves the song and she does a dance that it is kinda like punky brewster! drum machines are like very 1986!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! take me away is computer space rock! I mean it is not starship! very cool! debbie gibson can dance to that! I picture her and tiffany In a slumber party in their panties aka valley girl! yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean critics are asssholes! man! if I can start my own website I can have all the reviews but I may get tired. me and my kira both gave revolution a 9!

Add your thoughts?

Club Ninja - Columbia 1986.
Rating = 4

This is an oddly scattered record that tries to be an awful lot of things at once. First of all, what would YOU think if you brought home the latest album by your favorite hard rock band and discovered that the first THREE songs (out of a mere 9) were all written by outside songwriters -- as is a FOURTH track later on the disc? You'd have to figure that either your favorite band is in creative turmoil or the record company is pushing them around for not selling enough records. And then wouldn't you feel a bit queer (gay) when you discover that three of the four outside songs sound like bad Judas Priest??? No joke - especially the lead-off track "White Flags," which is a hilarious Billy Idol/Iron Maiden soundalike that has since gone down in history as "eww". As for the originals, there's definitely a few memorable melodies in there (the catchy chorus and overdramatic fade-out in "Madness To The Method," lots of neat bits in the sci-fi "When The War Comes," the wicked-cool guitar stomp of "Spy In The House Of Night," the pleasantries of "Perfect Water"), but none of the songs totally "doit" from start to finish. They careen around between BOC-style hard rockin', off-kilter jazzy chord sequences and disgustingly bad '80s metal with no regard for theme, flow or my unbelievably huge fuckin cock.

Certainly an intriguing record filled with whimsy and whirligigs, but if it's a choice between purchasing this CD or giving $16 to a homeless person so that he can eat for a few days, buy the CD and give it to the homeless person as a gift.

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
1/10

Ok, would somebody please explain to me how the hell a great band like BOC, who put out a lot of magnificent music, especially in the early 70's, could create something so putrid??

It's that same old disease again...ya, you know what I'm talking about...the one that almost never ever fails to take hold...the one that grabbed all the great classic 60's and 70's bands by the balls and made them completely shitty in the 80's. It has struck again! And this just might be BOC's worst album. Actually, never mind...IT IS their worst album. I would have given Imaginos a 3 or a really low 4 at most, and The Revolution By Night maybe 4. In fact I almost feel guilty giving this album a two because it probably deserves less than that. It's just really really lame mid 80's commercial pop rock that goes nowhere, has almost no interesting melodies, and just sounds like they're trying so hard to have a hit. It has none of the qualities that made vintage BOC so great. It doesn't even really sound like them anymore and the fact that two of the original members were gone by now, and more inexplicably, the fact that FOUR entire songs on this album were written by outside writers has a lot to do with that...

What the fuck?? Did the band members have so little confidence in their own ability to write ten decent songs for the first time in three years that they felt it necessary to hire outsiders to do the work for them, who then actually made it even worse by contributing really terrible songs? What poppycock! Why did they even bother putting out an album at all then under the BOC name? Almost half the album isn't by them...as a fan I would have felt really ripped off by this at the time...where's the logic?? Actually, FUCK THIS!!!!!! Just for that alone I'm taking one point off...THERE! A ONE!!! LIKE THIS GARBAGE TRULY DESERVES!!!!!!!!!

mesmith@cyber-quest.com
While agree that BOC's Club Ninja is probably the lest liked of all, It does, in my opinion, have value. You should listen to the Perfect Water track sung by Buck once again. Listen to it objectively. I liked your sight however.

ballen@chartermi.net (Bryan Allen)
Madness to the Method is an awesome song. I suggest you get your club ninja album back out and spin this tune a few times, puts goosebumps on me everytime I hear it. Sometimes a BOC album can be an aquired taste, and you know what they say about aquired tastes... that there more pleasing to the senses. By the way Donald (Buck Dharma) Roser is the greatest guitarist on the planet.

bens@lvcontrol.mb.ca
Wow. What a wonderful review on Club Ninja and Revolution By Night. Personally, I don't think you're fit to review anything. I bet people try to run you over with their pickups everyday. You aren't fit to be reviewing BOC albums. Take your reviews and shove them up your ass - really hard. Maybe you'll choke and die on them.

chaucer@ix.netcom.com (Ryan Maffei)
I'll try to make this brief. But do you mind, if I start with a quote from Mr. Roland Fratzl that I think applies to this album? Ahem...

YEAH BEBBE.

That's right. Had the band not prepared listeners for this with their crummy pop experiments beforehand, I may be reacting differently. But though it's not a heavy metal comeback, this is the album where the BOC found a sound that gelled and employed it throughout, and disposed of all of the possibly weak tracks, and made audiences and critics want to RESPECT their more mainstream work. Okay, so that's not how history shows it, but that's how it should've been. Joe Bouchard hated the record so much, he left the band (hypocritical bastard--did he even listen to his "Light Years of Love" on The Revolution by Night?). But not one track should've induced that. Okay, maybe ONE: "Dancin in the Ruins", no matter how catchy, was still a "Burnin' for You" ripoff. But everything else is perfect. "Make Rock Not War" exceeds its predictable title, and "Beat 'Em Up" is just as good, both really hard and memorable. "White Flags" and especially "Perfect Water" are excellent, well-written tunes, each very stirring. "Spy in the House of Night" and "Shadow Warrior" have some great guitar parts, and "When the War Comes" is the most intelligent thing the band did, even if not the most metal-ish, with a cool, incessant riff. And everything comes together to pull out all of the stops in the eight-minute centerpiece "Madness to the Method", with some absolutely breathtaking guitar and keyboard work, the most fitting finale on all of the band's albums. It's all great! It's all genius! It's no "Flaming Telepaths", but it's better than the album THAT was on! Hahahahhahahahhahahaaaahaahaha!!!! No, I'm not going insane! This is a great record that deserves to be hailed as a classic, second only in the Cult's catalog to Extraterrestrial Live and Heaven Forbid. No, I'm not on any drugs! I'm perfectly clean! And I'm right! Buy this, friends! BUY IT NOW! My Rating: A high 9! Take a look at THAT, Mr. Fratzl! Hahahahhahahhahahaha! Hahahaha!! I'm going to go put it on again RIGHT NOW!

mabewa@yahoo.com (Matthew Ward)
This album is possibly even more hated than Revolution by Night, but, to me it’s actually a noticeable improvement. RBN was totally generic 80’s wussy cock-rock, but CN supplants the 80’s overproduction with a kind of high-tech, space-age sheen, which, while still pretty bad from a production point of view, is at least interesting in places, and not nearly as generic. It seems that BOC was trying to draw on some of their past sci-fi imagine for a high-tech 80’s version. It didn’t succeed very well, but at least the band was trying to do something mildly original.

Also, fortunately, at least some of the songs really ain’t bad. OK, so they didn’t WRITE about half of them, and “Beat ‘em Up” is as bad as anything on Revolution by Night, but I’ll take “Dancin’ in the Ruins” and “White Flag” over “Let Go” any day of the week, despite the fact that BOC wrote the latter steaming pile of dog crap themselves, and the former two were written by outsiders.

The first side is mostly shorter, catchier tunes, and the second side has a few long high-tech epics. The first side actually works better, despite the fact that the first three (!) songs were written by song-doctors. “White Flags” and “Dancin’ in the Ruins” are pretty OK examples of high-tech BOC lite, and “Make Rock Not War,” while stupid as hell, is at least catchy and funny and stupid in an original way. Meanwhile, the first original tune on the album “Perfect Water,” is actually a great song, albeit somewhat buried under the production. You really have to hear the version on the latest BOC live album “A Hard Days Night,” er “A LONG Days night” or something like that. Anyway, they’ve totally rearranged it, and made it sound just fantastic. That song reminds me of some beautiful princess who was locked up in a horrible dungeon of 80’s overproduction, but who was finally set free by a new millennium live arrangement.

The second side, once you get past the horrible opener “Beat ‘Em Up” actually sounds fairly original, with these long, droning, almost progressive-sounding songs, but these songs don’t have a lot in the way of melody. Still, if you like long, spacey sounding tunes with lots of synths, you might like it.

A couple of observations: before this album was recorded, Allan Lanier, one of BOC’s most interesting members, left the band, apparently because he noticed that RBN was a horrible album. He was replaced by some guy named Tommy Zvoncheck, who is apparently responsible for all the high-tech synths on this album. Rick Downey, who did the horrible drumming on “RBN” was also out, to be replaced by Jimmy Wilcox, who manages to do a bit better, although to tell the truth, I think that the drum parts were actually played by some studio guy. Anyway, this version of BOC was sometimes known as “3OC,” having only three original members. Also, a song-doctor by the name of Bobby Halliday Jr. wrote TWO of the songs, “Make Rock Not War,” and “Beat ‘Em Up.” Now, how do you like that? He writes an anti-war song, and then a song urging the listener to “Beat Em Up.” The 80’s, you had to be there…

I’ll give it a high 5. A HIGH-FIVE. How about that? Still wasn’t good enough to keep Joe Bouchard in the band—he was so depressed after he heard it that he left the band, leaving Bloom and Dharma the only original members left, AKA “Two Oyster Cult.”

OSLANE@student.gvsu.edu
Actually the three or four songs on Club Ninja written by the outside writer were done by Rob Halligan Jr. who also wrote two songs for Judas Priest during the early 80s.

Come on mark, Priest rocks, listen to their head banging albums. great riffs and hooks, killer solos, great singer, cheesy sci-fi lyrics...

pedroandino@msn.com
1986!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what the fuck!!!!!! what? high tech production? computerized synthesizers? drum machines??? NO! I WILL NOT STAND FOR IT! HOLD ON! YOU! MATT! DID YOU SAY ABOUT A PRINCESS? YES! A HOT SEXY BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS WHO IS LOCKED INSIDE A DEADLY DUNGEON OF NASTY SYNTHSIZED POLISHED PRODUCTION? I WILL RESCUE HER! I TELL YOU THIS: I WAS WALKING AND PROTESTING MAKE ROCK NOT WAR! I PROTESTED UNTIL I GOT A CALL FROM THE PRESIDENT AND I SAID WHAT? A PRINCESS IN TROUBLE?! I AM ON MY WAY! I got to be running around and dancing in the ruins until I saw punk assed rap faggots and I SHOT THEM ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!! BLOOOOOOOD STAINS! CARNAGE SMELLS! TORN LIMBS! AND SEVERED HEADS OF BUSH AND POWELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I FORMED A REVOLUTION CALLED CLUB NINJA AND WE STRIKE! I GOT TO WATCH OUT FOR THE SHADOW WARRIOR! WE RAISE OUR WHITE FLAGS AND THE REVOLUTION BEGAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHEN THE WAR COMES WE STRIKE! IT IS A MADNESS TO THE METHOD AS I ZOOMED IN MY ROCKET PACK AND FLY THE HELL OUTTA HERE! CARNAGE!!!!!!!!!!! 97 MEN DIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 697,952 VILLANS DIED! I AM A SPY IN THE HOUSE OF NIGHT AND I KILLED THE VILLAN, TURN OFF THE MUSIC, GOT MY GUITAR AND CLANG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 THE LOUD, DEFANING SOUND OF A LIVE GUITAR FREED MY LOVE AS WE ZOOMED OUTTA HERE! BLAM!!!!!!!! NO MORE SYNTHS! WE DUCKED AND HID UNDER THE WATERFALL AND YOU KNOW WHO THE PRINCESS MATT AND I TALKED ABOUT? tifa lockheart! her sensual breasts and legs stun me like no other before! as kissed and caressed in the perfect water. story. 10. album. 1.

bens@lvcontrol.mb.ca
Holy crap, just saw an email of mine posted under your review of BOC's Club Ninja. When the hell did I write that? Must have been years and years ago, and I wasn't very nice. My apologies

Add your thoughts?

Imaginos - CBS 1988.
Rating = 2

This isn't really a Blue Oyster Cult album, though it features all of the members at various times. It's some concept album dating back to the early BOC albums - developed by ex-BOC drummer Albert Bouchard and producer Sandy Pearlman, and featuring the unique talents of such unique and talented talents as Robbie Krieger (from The Doors!!!!), Joe Satriani (from Joe Satriani!!!!) and Marc Biedermann (from Blind Illusion!!!! HOLY FUCK!!!! BLIND IFUCKINGLLUSION!!!!! I JUST FUCKED MY SHIT UP THE DICKCOCK FUCKING SPRPISS!!! FUCK!!!! "THE MIDDLE EAST WILL RIDE THE BEAST"!).

So now let me go into detail about the album itself: it's overblown cornball bad heavy metal. Like Dio or Tyr or some such balderdash. They even re-recorded "Astronomy" and ruined it. Why couldn't they saved that task for Los Angeles' Metallica?

Reader Comments

Persing.Phillip@PBGC.GOV
In response to a query about a great Blue Oyster Cult compilation, I would suggest that Workshop of the Telescopes fits the bill. It's a very reasonably priced double cd featuring every semi-hit you may have heard on the radio, plus several live gems. I'm not exactly a big B.O.C fan, but I think I used to be. Anyway, Workshop is the perfect reason to avoid any of the Cult's studio albums (although their first record may be worth getting just for "She's as Beautiful as a Foot"), and I would give it a ten.

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Yeah...hehe...justice is served.

Dead on, once again my friend! This is quite refreshing. I've been on quite a number of BOC fan sites over the years, and consistently over time I kept coming across rave reviews over the obscure Imaginos album saying it's their masterpiece, and how it's this endlessly complicated storyline, and how it was going to be made into a book and movie, and how it's one of the most ambitious musical projects ever, and nearly twenty years in the making, and that it is criminal that this was the only BOC album out of print on cd, BLAH BLAH BLAH and other such totally exaggerated fan based hogwash. Naturally my curiousity soared about this album considering the kudos given to it by die hard fans. For years it was that "lost" album that I never saw anywhere, and had never heard any of the "brilliant" music contained within. Well, recently it was re-released on cd, so I bought it instantly, with glee shining in my eyes. And then I listened to it. Folks, if this is brilliant and their best effort, then their entire discography deserves to be used as coasters for all eternity, and the New Kids should be mentioned in the same sentence as Mozart. This has to be a big joke. How could anyone not making the nuthouse their home think this is their best album, especially someone who claims to be well versed in all their material?? This is a simply baffling phenomenon...it's not even close to being somewhat ok. The guitar playing, while heavier than the last two albums, is as boring as I've heard Buck play, and he's changed the tone of his sound to a more processed, horrible 80's sound and plays the solos not like he used to, but like the typical hair metal wankers just doing lifeless scaling. The vocals are just as bad, with Eric Bloom singing like he knows that this stuff is actually shit. The drumming is simple and straight forward...no personality. The production is terrible! The whole thing has an echoey sound as if it was recorded in a cave, which is typical of many "big rock" records of the 80's...this makes the album sound way more dated than anything they recorded in the early 70's, and that's quite a feat. The really frightening thing is that even if all those points were very good, it wouldn't save this batch of shitty songs from oblivion...the songs themselves are such ordinary, cliched cheese metal that it's sickening...there's nothing interesting in sight anywhere...you sure this isn't a Night Ranger record?? Only slightly better than the career nadir Club Ninja, and that's pretty bad company. I cringe when I think that I spent 19 fuckin bucks on this asshole...don't ever buy an album unless you've listened to a good portion of it first! HAIL NAPSTER!

grant@grantedmonds.com (Grant Edmonds)
I have only heard this album once, and like you all, I have no great desire to hear it again. I found the LP for $2.00, listened to it once, tried to make sense of the "story" and noticed a couple of good things, but....IT'S JUST ONE BIG CONFUSED PIECE OF CRAPOLA! I'd rather listened to an "acquired taste" (ie. Club Ninja or Revolution By Night, neither are really good, but both can be appreciated for what they are. Speaking of appreciation....) I think this album could become an appreciated "acquired taste" as well, but unfortunately, the lack of any comprehensive storyline or engaging music may prove to be a detriment to a possible further listen on my behalf...for a long fucking time...

ggreaney@jsr.cc.va.us
Back in 1988, when I got to see Blind Illusion at the Bayou in DC on their one and only US tour (opening for - ack! - Hallows Eve) I asked Marc Beiderman how he ended up on "BOC"'s Imaginos album. Is seems that at the same time as Albert Bouchard was recording his album (originally a solo album, retitled "BOC" by the record company, against Bouchard's wishes, to sell more copies) Blind Illusion was recording the "Sane Asylum" AND Possessed was recording their swan song "The Eyes of Horror" with Joe Satriani - Larry Lalonde's guitar teacher - doing the producing. So they all hung out together and naturally Albert suggested that Joe + Marc play on his album, while Marc suggested that Larry fill in on the Blind Illusion album since John Marshall has just split to join Metal Church. And so history was made, as Possessed folded, Laryy joined Blind Illusion and the next year, when Todd Huth quit Primus, Les Claypool got Larry to go full time with Primus. Incidentally, Blind Illusion live - with Larry + Les, as well as Marc and Mike Miner, were absolutely unholy live, and even though certainly now Larry Lalonde and Les Claypool are way more famous, Marc Beiderman (to me) ranks with Lemmy, Jeff MacDonald and David Allen in terms of raw charisma. Plus is was so weird to see the kid (a vetern at age 19 then) from Possesed wearing a tye-dyed Jerry Garcia shirt (and still playing unbeliveably fast!).

Incidently Imaginos sucked, but the flair for great song titles was still there. I mean "The Seige and Disvesture of Frankenstein's Castle in Westeria"??? Who writes song titles like that???

"Mammoths will waken from their tombs of icy hibernation, sprout wings and fly". Hell yeah!

chaucer@ix.netcom.com (Ryan Maffei)
Hey, I'm back from hiatus, with little to say about this album, 'cept that I like it. It's got the hard-riffs with the "Seige and Investiture...Frankenstein" song--kind of silly, yes--and "I Am the One You Warned Me Of", and the band still proves themselves masters of the whole pop-metal format with "Del Rio's Song". "Astronomy" sucks to an extent, though. The parts of the original, excellent song make this one good, but the band could never really get the first 'un right after they recorded it for Secret Treaties. You should hear it on Cult Classic--it sounds like 80's synth-pop and cured my constipation easily.

I also think Imaginos works as a concept album in that you...er..."get immersed in the feel" of the record. But then, hell, fuck what I think, right? I liked Club Ninja--great stuff! But no, Mr. Fratzl has to beat down my skilled criticisms with his harsh earlier comments, as with Revolution, as with Imaginos, as with Spectres...aargh. I don't like never agreeing with anyone on this page. Why doesn't Dan Miller write more comments here?

slayerrob@yahoo.com (Rob DelMedico)
Just to see what Mr. Fratzl is talking about ,visit this amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000008DKN/ref=cm_cr_dp_2_1/103-3842765-8942248?v=glance&s=music&vi=customer-reviews

My god. I haven't heard this album but I sincerely doubt it lays waste to "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" like some little tool says.

mistress.sadie@verizon.net (Sadie Fijalkowski)
First off...ggreaney (poster from above) it's INVESTITURE....not disvesture(?).....written by Sandy Pearlman and Albert Bouchard...that's who writes "song titles like that."

Second...a few of you have claimed to have been big fans of BOC, and I don't doubt that, but to hear a total trashing of an album by a band you all love is sad. You can't even find ANYthing redeeming about it?

Third...I will not rave about this album. It is not my favorite by far, nor will it ever be. I have yet to see it re-released as another person mentioned here and I have looked everywhere....even abroad. Remember when the album was produced/recorded and think of all the other crap that was popular at that time and to what legnths even phenominal performers will go to try to recreate that #1 hit or to finally achieve one. And to put Mozart and *GASP* New Kids in the same sentence...you should be slapped....

It was ambitious for them to release this album, concept and all...and maybe you just don't appreciate the story or are not a fan of sci-fi or the supernatural (a regular theme that occurs thru most songs/albums by the band).

But again, even I don't rear this as their best work. Hell I can't stand Albert solo work...TBS...I think they flat out suck.

(I love Buck but I too also find Flat Out to kind of be just a little lame.)

I don't think the re-record of Astronomy is as terrible as people think...you are putting it up against the original re-cording (and need I remind everyone that one MR. Bloom screws up the words in it and STILL sings them that way to this day as if they really do make sense....."4 winds at the 4 winds bar....DUH?" Try Bucks on the "new" version..."4 DOORS at the 4 winds bar...2 doors locked and windows barred....." There you go......

And a very prominent author....Neil Gaiman borrowed the concept of "The Four Winds" Bar in his comic book series "The Sandman" . Story concept also made famous by Douglass Adams..."Restaurant at the end of the universe".

The story is great, concept is great...musically it slipps....but over all not too shabby if you appreciate that kind of thing and if you listen to the tracks in the order they were supposed to be in and not the way Colombia arranged them on the album.

Thats the fan I am...the stories...LDOM, GAOL, Vigil....not a lot of their Testosterone crap...again for the record here as well as the NG..I was and never will be a 13-17 year old boy in the early '70's.

mabewa@yahoo.com (Matthew Ward)
Now, this is another example of where these reviews are really going wrong. This album still suffers from the disease called Eighties Production, but it is drastically better than the two albums that preceded it. It still has those booming drums and overdramatic guitars, but it also has stuff like wild, classical-sounding pianos, choirs, a “guitar orchestra,” menacing deep backing vocals, and titles like “The Siege and Investiture of Baron Von Frankenstein's Castle at Weisseria ,” “Les Invisables,” and “Magna of Illusion.” This album returned BOC to all of their gothic weirdness, albeit with a production that’s almost orchestral (good!) and quite 80’s (bad!).

But, hey, the TUNES are there. I mean, listen to “Revolution by Night,” and then cue up “I Am The One You Warned Me Of,” and tell me that this isn’t a VAST improvement. This album has some of their creepiest stuff ever, like “In the Presence of Another World,” and the “Subhuman” re-write “Blue Oyster Cult” with Albert Bouchard doing his patented tortured-sounding vocals…

Wait a minute! Didn’t wunderkind Bouchard LEAVE THE BAND? And hey, the magnificent “In the Presence of Another World” is co-written by his bro JOE BOUCHARD, who had already left the band as well.

Well, it’s a long story. These were all lyrics by Sandy Pearlman, their old manager/producer/lyricist, and he always wanted them to record them as a concept album, but they wouldn’t do it, so, after being kicked out of the band, Albert Bouchard decided to do them as a solo album, seeing as he had co-written a majority of them. But, the record company didn’t want a AB solo album, so they persuaded the other members of the classic BOC lineup to come in and record their own parts, mostly lead vocals, but some guitar and keyboard parts, too, so that they could slap the BOC moniker on it. Really, of the "classic" original lineup, this album is mostly Albert, Eric, and Buck (the latter two do most of the lead vox) with Joe and Allen just overdubbing some keyboards here and there. Most of the rhythm section was done by studio hacks, but Club Ninja keyboard guy Zvoncheck is there, and then-BOC touring bassist Jon Rodgers, while he doesn't get any bass playing it, actually gets to sing a lead vocal. So, it’s not really a reunion of the classic lineup, but a whole bunch of past, present and future BOC people contributing on various levels. It DOES have Sandy Pearlman producing, which probably explains why the production is about 50 times dense, weird and BOC-ish than their last two albums, although Pearlman apparently couldn’t resist the 80’s Big Production which mars this otherwise fine album. Still, it’s at least a low 8.

jaklr@wmdata.com
Though luck. I Like this one sorry that's the truth =)

Randy Stovall
Marc Biedermann was laying down a monstrous track for an as of yet, un-released, Blind Illusion album, recorded and mastered at Hyde Street where Sandy Pearlman overheard. Pearlman on the spot, went over, introduced himself, and persuaded Biedermann to be in the Guitar Orchestra of Imaginos.

Add your thoughts?

Bad Channels Motion Picture Soundtrack - Moonstone 1992
Rating = 1

More like "Bad SOUNDTRACK Channels Motion Picture," if you ask me! Luckily you're way over there, so I can't quite make out whether you asked me or not.

This is one album that you should definitely not judge by its cover, for while the cover reads "music composed and performed by BLUE OYSTER CULT," what you'll actually find inside is a bag of severed dog testicles collected by a janitor at the ASPCA. I know! It seems odd that he'd secure national distribution for such a fringe product, but t

"Demon's Kiss" and "The Horsemen" are the only new Blue Oyster Cult songs to be found here, and both are corny Imaginos-style hair metal Tuff Rokkkers. The rest of the 71-minute CD is devoted to (a) nine songs by other awful bands, and (b) 19 pieces of incidental music recorded by BOC's keyboardist and guitarist for use in the film. The latter mostly involves sissy synth bombast and corny axe lickin', almost none of which stands on its own as listenable music. The former introduces the world to such unstoppable artistic forces as:

- JOKER - Pathetic '80s glam metal
- FAIR GAME - Hideous power balladry and pop metal
- SYKOTIK SINFONEY - Big fans of the first Mr. Bungle album
- DMT - Hard rock/grunge idiocy
- UKELALIENS - Double-entendre polka

It's amazing to think that an album so vehemently screaming "EIGHTIES!!!" came out a full year after Nevermind. Music itself should be embarrassed by this worthless garbage.

I suppose I could've made a Killing Joke gag back there, since I referenced both Nevermind and "Eighties" in the same sentence. But we don't cross the intersection of Dumb Street and Obvious Boulevard here at MarkPrindle.com. No, we prefer to go for the more literate joke or intellectual piece of tomfoolery. Because we care. That's the MarkPrindle.com promise.

Also, I guess I could've just typed "garbage" instead of "worthless garbage," since the word "garbage" implies worthlessness anyway. But here at MarkPrindle.com, we always try to give you more for your money. You pay for "penis"; you get "big ol' smelly American penis." You pay for "poop"; I give you "corn-flecked diarrhea from the mouth of a vagrant coprophile, into your eyeball." Because we care. That's the MarkPrindle. compromise.

Reader Comments

Billy Barron
Granted, this is bad but not nearly as bad as you make it out to be. God, it's much better than "Mirrors". I remember my reaction when this came out, which was "BOC is still a band?" and bought it. I'll admit that I soon wanted my money back.

"The Horsemen Arrive" I love. "Demon's Kiss" is okay. I give you that "19 pieces of incidental music ... almost none of which stands on its own as listenable music". Out of the other bands, I forgot what most of them sound like and I'm not going to dig out the CD to remember. OTOH, I enjoy the complete silliness of Sykotik Sinfoney.

I'll go with a 3.5/10 I guess. I just pretend it is a 4 song EP with BOC and SS.

I've always wondered if the movie was worse or better than the soundtrack but given the trailer I just found (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4VJb1zRZB8), I think the movie is worse.

Add your thoughts?

Cult Classic - Caroline 1994
Rating = 7

The Chinese call it "Curt Crassic." HA HA! AHHH HA HA HA!!! HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!! AHHHHH!!!! HA HA HA HA HA!!!!! AH HA HAHA HA HA AHHAH! AH HAH !!!!

I suppose I would find that less amusing if my name were Curt Crassic, but it's not and it's impossible to make fun of "Mark Prindle" so HA HA HA FUCK YOU PISS-SKINNED RICE ASSES!!!!!!!!!!

Oh don't worry - it's okay to refer to the Chinese as "piss-skinned rice asses" as long as you do it over the Internet. Similarly, if you're on a message board and a girl shows up, it's okay to call her a "sperm toilet." You see, the Internet isn't real. It's all just me! Buying a DVD on Amazon? That's me! Hitting on a cute girl in a chat room? That's me, wearing a dress! Sharing an online videogame world with thousands of other competitors? Sure, if you count my genital lice! Yes, the Internet was a wonderful and revolutionary idea for connecting the world that unfortunately didn't work out, so now everything just comes to me. Especially those thousands of penis enlarger ads you people feel the need to mail out every goddamned day. When will you learn that size doesn't matter? Ask any woman and she'll tell you that it doesn't matter how big your penis is, as long as it's strong enough to bust through the vaginal membrane and come out her ass.

In 1994, absolute years since their last major hit, Blue Oyster Cult decided to issue a greatest hits CD. But this wouldn't be your everyday ordinary hits compilation. No sir, B.O.C. (short for "Big Ol' Cankersore") were determined to follow in the footsteps of such winners as Suicidal Tendencies, Agent Orange, and TSOL by RE-recording a whole bunch of great songs they wrote when younger and more talented. Never mind that the raw excitement a band feels when creating a great new song isn't exactly comparable to the clockwork doldrums of running through a song they've been playing at every concert for the past two decades. And never mind that the legendary Bouchards have been replaced by a "Jon Rogers" and a "Chuck Burgi." What's important here is that B.O.C. (short for "Billy 'Ocean' Crystal") have drained the songs of any hyperkinetic sleaze energy they once possessed, and replaced it with a flat '80s metal guitar tone.

Most of the songs themselves remain spectacular -- the vocals seem a bit more nasally in "Burning For You" (what happened to the apostrophe? I LOVED that apostrophe!), but "E.T.I.," "O.D.'d On Life Itself" and "Harvester Of Eyes" are still fun as shit, "Godzilla" and "Cities On Flame With Rock 'N' Roll" are still hilariously stupid (but catchy!), and best of all, "Don't Fear The Reaper" now has an even LOUDER cowbell!

It's just that, by attempting to create exact facsimiles of the original recordings, the band essentially ensured that the remakes wouldn't hold a candle (or a flashlight for that matter - Ha! I'm a professional humor columnist!) to the exciting '70s/'80s versions that their fans had been listening to for years. You can't improve on something by merely IMITATING it. You have to at least try to do something new and interesting with the source material. You know, like "Weird Al" does. Except that you should try to do something 'new' and 'interesting' with the source material.

Other plusses? The non-LP instrumental "Buck's Boogie" features about a hundred different killer riffs, and isn't at all the tedious jerkoff presentation you'd expect. Okay, that about covers it.

Other minuses? "M.E. 262" and "Flaming Telepaths" sound like lame Dio-style '80s metal when performed with this guitar tone, and "Astronomy" has somehow been converted from threatening sci-fi malice into schmaltzy cocktail jazz. Plus the disc ends with instrumental versions of "Don't Fear The Reaper" and "Godzilla," a complete waste of space that should have been devoted to the best songs from Mirrors, Cultosaurus Erectus, The Revolution By Night, Club Ninja and Imaginos, none of which are represented on this collection. Come on - nothing from Cultosaurus Erectus!? That's one of their best albums! As it is, we've got four from Secret Treaties, three from Agents Of Fortune and one each from Fire Of Unknown Origin, Tyranny And Mutation, Spectres and the debut. So can we take this to mean that Secret Treaties is the band's favorite of their releases? Or did they just really hate the mix on that one? I guess we'll never know.

I guess we'll never know.

Maybe there was a time when we might have been able to find out, but that time is long, long past. No use beating ourselves up over it.

It's such a pity what syphilis will do to the memory.

Not to mention the PRICK!!!!!

Yes, it is indeed a shame what syphilis did to Mike Love.

Reader Comments

Marc.Kreienbrink@qatar.soccent.centcom.mil
Blue Oyster Cult actually managed to rerecord a version of a song that's superior to the original: "O.D.'ed On Life Itself", which is way better here than it was on "Tyranny & Mutation".

Add your thoughts?

Heaven Forbid - CMC 1998.
Rating = 5

Back from the ghostly dead of nightfall, Blue Oyster Cult find themselves in a bizarre supernatural world where nobody really cares that they exist. And for good reason - you'd have thought that they'd have gotten "bad metal" out of their system on Imaginos, but such is not the case. This CD is smothered in stupid cock rock riffs and tight leather pant macho tough guy vocals. It gets off to an enjoyable start with "See You In Black" (with interesting lyrics about wanting to murder a woman's husband because he abuses her), but even at this point, it's pretty clear that these 50-year-olds are setting out to prove they can "keep up with the young kids" (they can't). This first blast of asinine cock rock goes down fine - after all, it's been a while since we've heard these guys and it's nice to enjoy a fast little headbanger. But as the album continues, we're subjected to not one or two or even three but FOUR MORE of these songs, each more bloated and stupid than the last! "Power Beneath Despair" has cool lyrics about breaking out of jail to murder the guy who hung you out to dry, but the music is garbage. "Hammer Back" is ten times worse than the worst Dokken song you've ever heard. "Damaged" is... oh god, unmentionably embarrassing ("I'm damaged.... And I live for rock and roll!"). And finally there's "Still Burnin'," which tries really hard to convince you that "Burnin' For You" had no discernible melody at all, but luckily fails to succeed, only succeeding at failure.

But the rest of the album is pretty good! Four of the new songs feature that old Black Magic that brought us such classics as "In Thee" (which is actually featured here in a lovely live acoustic rendition), with slightly menacing vocals, eerie lyrics about death both unnatural and supernatural and best of all, haunting guitar melodies to carry with you to your bedpost. I am of course referring to "X-Ray Eyes," the almost folksy "Real World" and real-life drunk driving death tale "Live For Me." That's what I'm referring to. "Harvest Moon"? Mmmm..... I don't know. Spooky lyrics but the melody is kind of Gary Wright, if you ask me.

My advice is to not buy this album, but if you're like 50 and want to "rock out!," this'll let you knock your head around a bit without upsetting the grandkids.

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
9/10

They're baaaaaaaaack.....

YIPPEE!!!!!!!!!

Ok, BOC creatively really went off the rails after about 1981 or so, which is when they put out their last decent album. Subsequent efforts were horrible attempts at 80's shit rock and hair metal. After the Imaginos album in 1988, they really disappeared from the radar screen, touring occasionally, putting out a lousy soundtrack to a lousy movie (Bad Channels, 1992), then putting out a completely pointless studio album of re-recorded classic BOC songs in 1994...however, they continued to tour at an ever increasing pace. Mind you, no longer were they playing in stadiums to thousands of people like they used to, but rather a continuous stream of shitty little bars and clubs in front of like 30 people...I know, I know, how utterly depressing and pathetic does that seem?? It's a complete riches to rags story, but I guess they just really love doing it...it's all for the power and love of the music...

BULLSHIT!!!! They just can't do anything else and need to scrape by on the little dough they probably make by continuously touring...don't believe me?? Check out their official website at www.blueoystercult.com and look at the tour dates...they are constantly on tour!!

Anyway, this ongoing gruelling schedule had really toughened them up it seems and they finally, after a decade of touring, signed with a new label (CMC, who specialize in old fogey bands who haven't been in the limelight since 1978), and released Heaven Forbid in 1998...like I said, their first new material since the late 80's. Well, guess what? This album ROCKS, and ROCKS, and ROCKS. This is gritty, bare bones rock 'n roll that doesn't let up for an instant...their years of playing in small bars has miraculously transported them back to their roots, playing mean, slighty menacing, slighty poppy, somewhat eerie hard rock! This isn't just straight forward dumbass rock though...like in their peak period, they never played anything straight; always with an unpredictable edge to their music...I've often read the term "thinking man's metal" in reference to them, and this album would fit that description once again. The production is fantastic, and the musicianship is really tight and inventive again. Buck Dharma, STILL one of the most underrated guitarists ever, just goes nuts on this record! There's just great heavy riff after riff, punctuated all over the place by his enthusiastic, bluesy, hyperactive yet melodic solos! I would almost say he has never played this well on any of the other records. And Eric Bloom, the lead singer and frontman, sounds so energetic! His voice has not changed at all...if anything, he's a better singer than ever, and that at 55 years of age! He still has a youthful, poweful delivery that makes him sound more like 30. The new bass player and drummer on this record are awesome musicians as well, and compliment the music really well!

The album starts with "See You In Black", a rip roarin' metalfest! This song doesn't really sound like anything else on the album, or their whole career for that matter...it sounds a lot like the newer Metallica stuff, and is easily their heaviest song. Unlike the bad hair metal they attempted in the 80's though, this meaner, downtuned type of metal seems to kind of suit them, but I wouldn't want them to do a whole album like this, and wisely they didn't do that with this one.

Next up is "Harvest Moon", a song that sounds like classic 70's BOC. Very nice mid tempo tune, clean guitar riffs with a gorgeous vocal melody along with vintage sounding ghostly vocal hamonies that repeat the song title, before the song breaks out into a wicked speed metal jam in the middle section before returning to the first part...awesome!

"Power Underneath Despair" is a great moody sounding energetic heavy stomping rocker with oodles of great melodies all over the place! Eric Bloom really shines on this one.

"X-Ray Eyes" is another poppier, but still rocking song with more great melodies, while "Hammer Back" is a little uninspired, but still pretty good.

"Damaged" starts off with a bluesy riff and call and response style trading off with the vocals before it transforms into a heavy groove filled gallopping jam with some awesome organ melodies added to fill out the sound a bit more...very much a bar sounding song, and totally awesome! "I'm damaged...I like it" always makes me smile when I hear it!

"Cold Grey Light Of Dawn" is another melodic heavy creepy song with that vintage sound that only BOC can create...amazing song, maybe the best on the cd. Those chords! Those solos! Those searing, passionate vocals!

"Real World" is a weird, almost heavy countryish song, but quite unique and very well done once again.

"Live For Me" sounds like the melodic cousin to their 1981 hit "Burnin' For You", which basically means that it's an amazing uptempo song with really catchy verses, choruses, guitar riffs, and more of those great vocal hamonies! This song should have been a fuckin hit....*sigh* maybe in another era it would have been, but nowadays it's really asking a lot to compete with all these great new bands with superb musicianship, like Limp Bizkit.

"Still Burnin'" is another great tune that rocks out relentlessly, without ever becoming a predictable bore. Once again, great energy, great playing, etc etc etc!

The album ends with a live rendition of "In Thee", one of their nicest ballads, taken from the 1979 album Mirrors...they sound great live as well I must say, even though it really does sound like it was taped in front of 10 people.

Well, there it is...who would ever have thought that these guys could ever come back with a really strong recording again, after such a long time in limbo? Excellent record from start to finish...this one holds its own next to all their classic 70's output, and should definitely not be overlooked by anyone who likes the band...you hear me MARK??? Go get it now! All the songs are really well developed, written, played, and recorded, they are all unique and not predictable, which is what this band always did best. And there are no throwaways on here! That's remarkable for these guys!

Thankfully this album sold well enough that CMC has asked them to record a follow up...they've been in the studio since late 2000 and are finishing the new album up as we speak...it should be in stores by summer, so I'm really looking forward to that one as well! See ya then!

groke@mindspring.com
Hola Senor,

I've been perusing your BOC reviews, and thus I feel it necessary to tell you that on July 4th, 1981 I saw BOC at the Oakland Coliseum (Blizzard of Oz and Loverboy opened). While they weren't very good at all, they did have a giant Godzilla monster that roared and waved its fearsome arms.

A few years ago, I saw them again...this time, it was at the San Mateo County Fair, playing in a tiny tent near the "Hall of Vegetable Curiosities" or some such. Only Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma were left from the original band, and the new musicians were atrocious. They played a lot of stuff from the first three albums; it was nice to hear those songs live, even though they sounded terrible and were full of half-hearted admonitory interjections about "rock and roll."

At one point, Eric Bloom made a really disgusting hip-thrusting motion while talking about "making love." If the image haunts me on my deathbed, it's nobody's fault but mine. Buck Dharma looked embarassed and apologetic all the way through; I guess he's always looked that way to a certain extent, but without his moustache it was more obvious (a group of concerned fans are taking up a collection to buy him a new one; I suggest you go to www.bucksmoustache.com and make a donation).

The giant Godzilla was gone, sad to say (not that it would have fit inthe tent anyway; my head was touching the canopy and I'm only 5'10"). However, BOC are nothing if not survivors; they set the scene for "Godzilla" by putting an approximately 7-inch Godzilla statuette on their bass amp. It had red LED eyes, hearkening bacck to those great light shows they used to have. They also had some guy in a puffy rubber Godzilla suit who played air guitar along with the song. He looked like a silver-skinned Barney. I felt bad for them, but I made fun of them anyway just to fit in.

The saddest thing of all was that they were touring in a '75 Volvo station wagon with a U-Haul trailer attached. Even worse, they were paid for their show at the fair in ferris wheel tickets. While neither of the foregoing statements is true, they do demonstrate the sorry state into which these former "Monsters of Roock" have fallen.

See you at the NH shows, no doubt.

boc_fan@hotmail.com (Brian Walker)
you don't know shit about BOC

grant@grantedmonds.com (Grant Edmonds)
I'd say this album is right up there with Secret Treaties--it's consistent, well-written, and packs enough variety for any Cult fan. It's just a couple strong songs short of greatness (ie. Agents Of Fortune). It's definitely the heaviest thing they've done aside from Cultosaurus, and Roeser and Bloom trade shots on this one to provide a good blend of songs. "See You In Black," "Harvest Moon, " "Real World," "Live For Me," "Still Burnin'" are all solid, and another rendition of "In Thee" doesn't hurt either. Heaven forbid you don't buy Heaven Forbid...

mabewa@yahoo.com (Matthew Ward)
Yeah, for once I agree with Tears for Fears main man Foland Ratzl or whatever his name is. This album was a MAJOR comeback. Maybe not a 9, but a high 8 at least. OK, so I thought Imaginos was an 8, too, but that was kind of a fluke, not a BOC album in the normal sense.

Anyway, Allan Lanier had rejoined the band (although the Bouchard bros had stayed gone) and together with Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma they had spent about ten years playing in dirty, dark clubs, essentially becoming an underground band again. And, yes, it did ‘em lots of good! Anyone fearing the return of 80’s production was almost instantly ecstatic on hearing the enormous crunch of “See You in Black,” which sounds like the best song Metallica have recorded in about 15 years. OK, so it’s a bit derivative, but Metallica borrowed heavily from BOC, so why can’t BOC borrow back? The rest of the album seems to be divided by big, riff, heavy biker-style rockers, mostly sung by Eric, and more eclectic, subtle numbers sung by Buck. So, you get hard stuff like “Hammer Back” and “Power Underneath Despair” which sound almost perversely menacing the way only Eric Bloom can pull it off, and then you have great melodic (but NOT overproduced!) Buck anthems like “Harvest Moon” and “Live for Me,” mixed in with weirder stuff like “X-Ray Eyes” and “Real World,” which are almost quirky. “Damaged” is a kick-ass, barroom rocker with some of the band’s best “Born to be Wild” style organ ever.

No, not everything kicks ass: “Still Burnin’” sounds a bit generic, although the clean, crunchy, no bullshit production keeps it rocking, and “Slow Grey Lights of Dawn” is a bit morose—Eric sounds better when he’s scary rather than depressing.

But, damn, that production! It really is such a miracle night-and-day difference from their last few albums. “Keyboardist” Allen Lanier is playing a lot of the rhythm guitar, like he used to in the early days, and that contributes to the huge, immensely satisfying guitar sound.

The only thing I can really bash this album about, aside for a slight drop in songwriting quality towards the end, is that while Eric and Buck are both great singers, I do miss the variety of having four lead singers. They gotta get Allen to try out his raspy pipes again, or get that bass player to sing a number or two. Otherwise though, as said above “They’re BAAAAACK.”

briantheisen84@yahoo.com
Yeah, this isn't too good. Unessential at best. Everything sounds circa 1988, and the only song I really like is Real World. And what's up with those horrible group harmonies? It may have worked on Don't Fear The Reaper, but on this and the next album it sounds painfully middle-aged. I dunno, I wish I could appreciate their new stuff, but just because it doesn't have the synths or pop of their other weaker albums doesn't mean that the songwriting has improved.

Add your thoughts?

Curse Of The Hidden Mirror - CMC International 2001.
Rating = 7

Not perfect. But still, THIS is the comeback album. FINALLY! No more (or at least, very little) dumb 80s-style hard rock. These riffs are straight out of the 70s and all the better for it. Reach in for a grab bag of very melodic hard rock, ranging from poppy "Burnin' For You" type stuff to funky Deep Purple keyboard jams to odd time-signature trickery to straight-up Chuck Berry rock and roll stylings with a TWIST! Buck produced the record by himself (YAY!) and pumped the guitars way up in the mix, making them sound real and vivid and mean. And his voice, as always, is as smooth as a buttery popsicle, as opposed to ol' Eric, who's singing in a higher register for some reason, giving his macho guy-with-a-beard-isms a more desperate flavor.

But where's the lyrics sheet???? "Showtime" appears to be about being in prison and "I Just Like To Be Bad" is about a girl who makes sweet love with a variety of men, but surely a band cannot expect me to pay attention to all the lyrics when the guitar is kicking so much '70s guitar god ass!?! And I DO mean that about "'70s". This music is a complete anachronism - this isn't what rock bands sound like anymore. In fact, youngsters might even find this stuff laughable in places, since they're busy listening to modern new wave bands like Nirvana and The Go Gos. But fuck 'em! If you like good solid '70s hard rock, you probably don't get too many chances to enjoy new riffs in that genre, so BUY THIS! Certainly a few of the songs have a bad habit of skipping from an everything verse to a nothing chorus or vice-versa, but what Blue Oyster Cult album is free of this sin? Jesus, it's 2001 and the new Blue Oyster Cult album is nearly as consistent as any album they've ever done! Am I wasted or something?

As a matter of fact, I AM. Wasted on life.

I feel really bad not giving the coveted 10 to any of BOC's albums, but to my ears every single one of them has a couple of duff tracks. Just buy them all and see what you think. Or maybe there's a great compilation? You do the legwork - I'll sit here and jack off while Mickey Rooney sits on my face!

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
*AHEM*

I, Foland Ratzl, decree that your insight into the new work by BOC is virtually perfect, seeing how it is nearly identical to my own point of view, Mr. Park Mrindle. An low 8 is precisely where I would place it. Seems that I was a bit carried away with my glowing review of the previous album, Heaven Forbid...it's not quite as strong as this one, but not nearly the embarrassing 5 rating it got from Mark...I think we both overeacted to it, but from opposite viewpoints. Heaven Forbid is a good solid 7.

Anyways, Curse Of The Hidden Mirror is a blast from the past extaordinaire! I amazed how truly 70's it sounds, but like Mark said, that's precisely its strength. Most of the songs are very well written, and have the vintage BOC sound, comprising of raw, inventive guitar riffs with very impressive blues licks, eerie melodies, ghostly vocals, mysterious lyrics, and odd little shifts here and there. The overall style reminds me the most of BOC circa 1980-81. They've managed to find that nifty little groove once again between being too poppy and being too heavy. Man, I'm just amazed that these old farts still manage to write such beautiful music that is easily on a par with anything from their 70's peak. "Pocket" and "Here Comes That Feeling" brilliantly evoke the spirit of "Burnin' For You", but without sounding like copies...man are those melodies ever seamless and sickeningly well written. Buck's singing is still as soothing as ever, and his guitar playing is just our of this world! Such a criminally overelooked player in rock history. It makes me sick how much more skill is on display on a single 2001 album by a long forgotten and allegedly washed up band than there is in just about any entire discography of the average newer rock or meteal band...where would we be if it weren't for stubborn old veterans continuing to create high quality musicianship in this day and age when there is very little value placed on skill?

"Stone Of Love" is another excellent eerie yet maddeningly catchy Buck tune that recalls "Don't Fear The Reaper". Notice how Buck writes all the more upbeat material and lead singer Eric Bloom sticks with the moodier side of things? I love the contrast...that's what has always made their albums so entertaining. "The Old Gods Return", "Out Of The Darkness", and "Eye Of The Hurricane" are three of the finest moodier gothic numbers they've ever made...I don't agree that Eric's singing in a higher register than in the past though...he just sounds as powerful as he always did, and I just love his creepy vibrato! Man, it's such a shame that this one didn't turn out to be their finest hour, because they were damn close..."One Step Ahead Of The Devil" sucks ass. It's too macho in its heaviness, Eric's singing is silly, and the chorus is fucking gay. "I Just Like To Be Bad" has some very challenging music, but once again, the chorus falls very flat. Can't really criticize too much else though...just a great album once again from a great band with a very unique sound, proof that they still have a lot to contribute.

By the way, they purposely didn't include lyric sheets in their albums in the past because they wanted to maintain an aura of mystery, and wanted fans to come to their own conclusions as to what the meanings may be.

victorprose@yahoo.com (Victor Prose)
Au contraire (or however the hell that's spelled) Mr. Fratzl. "Harvest Moon" was the one that recalled "Reaper". "Stone of Love" just recalls how terrible a lyricist Meltzer was (heard the Stalk-Forrest Group Recordings, which chronicles the pre-BOC, Sandy Pearlman and Meltzer-fueled band? It's a good reference point). A great critic, but a lyricist, no.

mabewa@yahoo.com (Matthew Ward)
They’re WAAAAY BAAAACK. Better than ever. I can’t really add much to what has been said above, but I will anyway. Yes, the album has an incredible 70’s simplicity in the often 3-guitar attack (again, Lanier barely touches the keys here, preferring that monster rhythm sound), but with a perfect, clean no-bs 90’s production, resulting in one of their best sounding records ever. Play this next to Revolution by Night and marvel at the 180-degree difference. OK, so the guitars don’t sound QUITE as mean as on Heaven Forbid, but the rest of the production is even better.

And, once again, the tunes are mostly great. “Dance on Stilts is almost elegant in its lumbering grace,” “Pocket” is one of their best poppier rockets, with funny, ironic lyrics and Allen Lanier (!) LEADS (Buck isn’t the only great guitarist in this band!) and the Eric Bloom-sung “Old Gods Return” and “Eye of the Hurricane” are delightfully menacing. “Stone of Love” is another classic Buck moment, with its circular chord progression and the incredible melodic leads contrasting with the acoustic rhythm guitar strumming.

The band also throws some great left-fielders, like the eerie forbidden-love ballad “Out of the Darkness” (the ONLY ballad on the record) and the wonderfully perverse, funky “Good to be Hungry,” which sounds more like the spirit of their twisted early records than just about anything they’ve done in the last 25 years.

Even the more minor tunes connect: “I Just Like to Be Bad” is the one song on this album that usually gets bashed, but hey, it’s a dumb song, but it’s not Sammy-Hagar dumb, but more like Diamond-Dave winking/leering dumb. BOC may be intellectuals, but who says they can’t have some dumb fun instead of smart fun sometimes? Plus, musically the song is great—sounds like the Who at their best, with the driving bass and drums and slashing guitar and Lanier’s cool piano. “Showtime” also has a slightly “dumb” lyric, but Eric pulls it off perfectly, sounding stupid-yet-menacing. And then, the MUSIC—just a wonderful song, with that heavy-but-syncopated sound, and then the reggae coda—after decades in the business, they finally throw a little bit of reggae in the mix, and it sounds unexpectedly killer. “Here Comes that Feeling” is one of the weirdest things on the album: it was written in the 80’s, back in their Wussrock period, and you can totally imagine it with huge drums and reverb and everything, but, with this hard, clean sound, it actually sounds like a good song—it got lucky, I guess, because if it had been on Revolution by Night, it would have been raped brutally by the production, but, stripped back to basics, you can focus on the good melody and melancholy lyrics, delivered by Mr. Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser.

Some credit has to be given to the new guys, Bobby (bass) and Danny (drums). They aren’t quite as original as the Bouchard bros in terms of playing, but they have incredible energy which constantly gives these songs mighty kicks in the posterior—light-years better than the hacks that BOC employed in the 80’s. They even contribute to a lot of the songwriting. I still do miss the Bouchard bros vocals, but Eric and Buck do so well that you barely notice.

OK, so BOC has basically become an underground band again, but at least they are a good one!

joe2m@sbcglobal.net (Joseph Mayer)
Yeap, COTHM is a great comeback with a late 70s classic style. I say comeback because this CD brings them full circle. I really like Heaven Forbid, it is so intricate. When you listen to it on a really good stereo the sounds can just about over whem you. But it was not typical overall for them (for that matter though, what is typical about them). This album sounds more like "Secret Treaties" and "Agents of Fortune" mixed together. The faster harder edge of ST and the moodiness of AOF. Other then "Imaginose" and "Club Ninja" I have liked all of their stuff. Some more then others, but all in all it is their diversity that I truly like.

Buck is one of the finest guitar players to ever pick up the instrument. It is un-fortunate that many people have never really listened to him play. He is highly regarded in the field, however, he is interviewed in Guitar magazine and many other publications both in paper and on the net. And at one point, AMG stated that he is regarded by many critics as one the best guitar players that ever lived. Saying that, this is one hell of a live band. You can see them sometimes for nothing! If this opportunity comes don't miss them.

How come you don't have the live DVD posted. That is one superb DVD, I have that thing cranking around here. Even converted a couple of neighbors to BOC fans. The rest, well if they don't like listening to it, go inside and shut your windows!

By the way, I consider BOC a metal band PLUS. Two differences exist from their peers. 1) They don't over produce their stuff. I like the cleaner sound personally and I think the other metal bands would benefit from this philosphy as well, 2) They are very diverse, most metal bands tend to be very cliche, not these guys.

blanch1000@gmail.com
It's always a bit of a suprise to me how good this album is. The reason is because, well, without Albert Bouchard around things never quite felt right. Not suprisingly, the band Al started after getting booted out of BÖC, The Brain Surgeons, is full of the edge, soul, creepiness, and tongue-in-cheek humor that BÖC had back in the day, with a newer sense of power that I never really associate with BÖC (especially these days). Despite being occasionally cheesy and/or lame,and ignoring the fact that few people seem to care about 'em, it seems to be where the energy is.

Anyway... what?

Oh, right. So that's why I'm suprised by Curse of the Hidden Mirror. The album isn't perfect, but it's certainly solid. The guy who wrote most of the lyrics for it (as well as most of them on Heaven Forbid) really does blow, and if the band manages to put out another album I really hope they don't use him. No good. Regardless, some of these tunes seem to have popped out from earlier in their career ("Showtime", "Here Comes that Feeling", "Stone of Love"), which probably helps to give that classic feel. The last four tracks on here are probably the best, with "Stone of Love" easily being my favorite (I don't care what anyone says, Richard Meltzer is an awesome lyricist). Great album, always worth a listen.

briantheisen84@yahoo.com
I tried hard to like this one, but I don't hear much difference between it and the previous one. Dance On Stilts begins with a really good riff and has a decent hook, and maybe overall the guitar sounds better, but I'm not convinced. The lyrics can be pretty dumb, and there's more those bad harmonies. Plus, the riff to Pocket rips off Thin Lizzy's The Rocker. Hell, Pocket is about being middle aged, from what I can gather. I don't like my BOC going on about suburbia!

Add your thoughts?

St. Cecilia: The Elektra Recordings (by Stalk-Forrest Group) - Elektra 2001.
Rating = 4

Here's something you don't learn everyday (most likely because once you've learned it once, you can't really learn it again the next day unless your memory is particularly poor because of too many Doritos, which cause cancer) -- did you know that the Blue Oyster Cult for a while went by the name "Stalk-Forrest Group"? I didn't. I knew that they were called "Soft White Underbelly" for a while (which reminds me -- did you know that for a while, Pink Floyd went by the name "Megadeaths"? I'm serious -- this isn't a joke. Though it is funny as hell!!!), but the whole "Stalk-Forrest Group" thing, aside from making NO SENSE AT ALL, was never made aware to THIS guy (in the computer chair wearing boxers with blue and green stripes on them, shaking his right leg up and down, listening to the dishwasher run through its cycles, chewing on a piece of gum that lost its flavor about 45 minutes ago). Until that fateful day when an enormously famous musician lent the disc to me to illegally record. "Here it is!," he announced proudly. "Even though it's not very good." And could a man be more right?

I'd put a George W. Bush joke here, but my wife is afraid the CIA is going to hunt me down and kill me because of my Smashing Pumpkins Adore review (apparently they're more fond of the album than I am), so I shall refrain.

We're Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band! We hope you will enjoy the show!"

DO YOU GET IT???? I "REFRAIN"ED!!!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! THAT'S THE FUCKING "REFRAIN" OF "SGT. PEPPERS LONELY HEARTS CLUB" BAND, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHHAHAHAHAAHHAAHAH! I FUCKED YOUR SISTER IN THE HOLOCAUST MUSEUM!!!

They were clearly just finding their feet here, as evidenced by the sissyass country-jam Grateful Dead sound permeating through sickening garbage like "What Is Quicksand" and "Gil Blanco County" and wimpy, stupid attempts to be DARK on the way overdramatic "Donovan's Monkey" and "I'm On The Lamb" (which, thankfully, they got a handle on before re-recording it as the Blue Oyster Cunlt. At this time in their development, they must have been superproud of "Buck Dharma" because every song is awash in lengthy notey guitar solos, especially "St. Cecilia," which is pretty much nothing BUT a guitar solo. And here's a question for YOU -- did they ever do anything with "Arthur Comics" or "A Fact About Sneakers"? Because the former is an absolutely KILLER groovy fast jazzish song and the latter -- though weakened by a lame chorus and overlong jazz breakdown - features one of the strangest chord sequences (in the verse) that I have ever heard in my short, meandering life. And while we're asking each other questions like this -- what's up with this happy bouncy uptempo slightly irritating song called "Curse Of The Hidden Mirrors"? I don't know if you are aware of this, but many many years later, the Blue Oyster Cult would release a COMPACT DISC entitled Curse Of The Hidden Mirror. Now I don't think it takes a genius to put one and one together and realize that one begat the other. But how? And for god's sake -- WHY????

The disc is lengthy, by the way, featuring not only the full album they submitted to their record company (it was rejected - and for good reason!), but their original demo tape as well. So, aside from "Donovan's Monkey" and a passable soul-style tune called "Bonomo's Turkish Taffy," you get to hear every single song on here TWICE!!!!!!!!!!! This is great news for people who like songs that aren't very good!

Reader Comments

Panzer3rip@aol.com (Lloyd)
you should listen to the words...and the rifts

wjbell@mail2.gis.net (Warrick Bell)
re: Blue Oyster Cult, Bad Channels Soundtrack album

I'm not quite sure where this would go in your listing of BOC albums, as you don't mention this album in the lineup anywhere, presumably because you don't own it. But then, why would you? Unless you're a foaming-at-the-mouth BOC fan who was wallowing in the Middle Of Nowhere, New Zealand, in the album-free years between 1988's bewildering Imaginos and 1998's befuddling Heaven Forbid. The Bad Channels soundtrack album came out in 1992 on Moonstone Records and was notable only for its predominant awfulness.

BUT! It had two new BOC songs on it, songs which don't appear ANYWHERE ELSE! AND THEY'RE NOT TOO BAD! Well, that's pushing things a bit. "The Horsemen Arrive" is a plodder; "Demon's Kiss" has a shount-n-repeat chorus. But they proved that at least some of the band members were still alive! And that gave us all hope. The rest of the album, as I say, is pure shit. Utter, unrelenting, sandblast-the-toilet-bowl dribbly shit. There are 9 revolting songs by forgettable bands (Sykotik Sinfoney, The Ukelalliens, et al.) and a whole mess of "sound effect" tracks that were used in the Bad Channels movie. These were all written and performed by Don "Buck Dharma" Roeser and mostly sound like the bleepy-blorpy noises from a Pac-Man game accompanied by someone gently squeezing a duck way off in the background.

Of course, 2 years later there came the Cult Classic album, which I imported as a 24k gold-plated disc and which I think I've listened to ONCE. Re-recording your great early tracks so they sound crisp and clean and fresh is NOT what rock and roll is all about, guys. It never worked for The Troggs and it will never work for you. Rock and Roll is supposed to be messy and sloppy and quite quite dirty; why do live albums sell, after all? If BOC ever tried to record a studio version of "Kick Out the Jams" it would spoil and ruin the grotty little gem that appeared on the Some Enchanted Evening album.

And on a tangential note, why is there no mention of No Sleep 'til Hammersmith on your Motorhead review page? That album is like, um, sort of, like, Motorhead warting it up on stage with, like, tens of thousands of people roaring at them and it's really really fucking good. It's an "official" Motorhead album too. Have you ever seen the movie Eat the Rich? Lemmy and the rest of the band are in it. It's rather jovial.

crd422@hotmail.com
BLUE OYSTER CULT IS A CLASSIC AND THEY ARE ONE OF THE MOST TALENTED ARTISTS OF ANYONES TIME. BLUE OYSTER CULT SHOULD BE HONNORED AND REMEMBERED AS ONE OF THE MOST CLASSICS. I AM ONLY 12 years old of age and i thin this...they were popular when my parents wer emy age which was over 25 years ago!!

tvillefla@hotmail.com
Anyone who says they like rock,,,but, dosent like B.O.C,,is obviously a dumbass and a stupid shmuck...and have no clue as to what rock is all about....so,I would suggest to them, to keep moving on, with there head's stuffed far up there ass.

jed@dickson171.fsnet.co.uk
Blue Oyster Cult unfortunately are a band who's image is a lot cooler than their music. As a typical 16 year od rock fan I was irrisistably drawn towards their enigmatic album covers, but upon hearing the band I was rewarded with an above average pop/rock band, with more than hint of radio friendliness to them . And lyrically?...

"I love you like sin

but I won't be your pigeon"

Route66@adelphia.net (Murphy)
Met Blue Oyster Cult in california when I was Married to my First wife Debbie Gambino Buck Darma's Relative........

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