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Blue Öyster Cult - Cultösaurus Erectus CD (album) cover

CULTÖSAURUS ERECTUS

Blue Öyster Cult

 

Prog Related

3.44 | 128 ratings

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FragileKings
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I have always loved the cover of this album since I was a kid. My friend's older brother had this on vinyl, and my interest in dinosaurs and science fiction art made this an easy eye-catcher.

Blue Oyster Cult were often said to be the American answer to Black Sabbath but I have never been able to hear that in the music. For this album here, they got Martin Birch as producer, who was already known for his work with Sabbath and Deep Purple's 'Machine Head' and who would go on to produce albums for Iron Maiden. BOC and Black Sabbath toured together, too, on what was called the Black and Blue tour. Still, the band doesn't sound at all like Black Sabbath. But they don't have to.

I'll admit it took me some time to get into this album. Having been sufficiently impressed with their first three albums and having a greatest hits album plus formerly owning two other later albums on cassette, I had more expectations from this one. I kept adding it to a playlist of albums to review and then taking it off again. Finally I decided to give it my full attention and I was pleasantly surprised in parts.

'Black Blade' is a song based on the writings of Michael Moorcock. It's hard rock pop with punk edge in parts and tells the story about an evil blade that possesses its bearer to kill. The story is a bit similar to the Heavy Metal movie theme where a mysterious green orb also causes otherwise gentle people to behave in a bloodthirsty manner. Incidentally, BOC were closely involved in the music soundtrack of Heavy Metal, and some of the songs would end up on their next release. There's some nice eerie music with creepy sound effects in the middle. One of BOC's classic fantasy sci fi type story telling songs, Eric Bloom's vocals are as usual full of passion. This is a great theatrical hard rock number with rhythm changes and synthesizer; like prog hard rock almost. The blade speaks at the end in metallic voice.

'Monsters' is next, and why didn't I notice this one right away? A hard rock track with an almost seventies danceable intro then suddenly goes jazz with sax and piano drums bass and no guitars. That fast boogie part contrasts great with the hard n' heavy part and then another jazz break. What are these guys trying to prove? Then an almost boogie rock prog section, after which the song slows down with some nice piano. A new melody is introduced. The chorus fast with piano bass drums and lead guitar. Seemingly seamless and well- crafted, the song wraps up with heavy hard rock bit but with added sax and groove. Great song!

'Divine Wind' is slow with piano, guitar and a hard bass but has a menacing pace almost. 'If he really thinks we're the devil / then let's send him to hell'. The music is steady and not varied like the first two tracks. Track three is a good spot for it. The backing female vocals sound a bit like heavier Pink Floyd.

'Deadline' is more pop with hard strummed guitar and synthesizer. Donald 'Buck Dharma' Roeser takes the vocals. Again, the music is minimalistic but the lead guitar adds colour.

'The Marshall Plan' is a story about young Johnny who goes to rock show with Suzie but sees her leaving with the band. Johnny decides to take up the guitar and become a rock star. The 'Smoke on the Water' riff sneaks in at one point, the original song recorded by producer Martin Birch. There's a spoken part which sounds a bit cheesy as Johnny talks about his plan to play heavy music. Don Kirshner's voice introduces the now successful Johnny. There's a fast, upbeat hard rock instrumental with lead guitar. The music has become more varied again. The story is a bit trite but it's a fun song.

'Hungry Boys' is a fast paced hard rock with piano and an electric drum break. It's a typical BOC fast boogie rock number. Drummer Albert Bouchard takes the vocals.

'Fallen Angel' features bassist Joe Bouchard on vocals. His singing is rough, almost a shout, but possess a very pop rock / hard rock sound. The synth-led melody is catchy, and the guitar solo like pop-sounding Kansas. The music reminds me of the Canadian pop-rock band, Prism.

'Lips in the Hills' brings us back to the exciting rocker ability of BOC and it was the first song to really grab my attention. Eric Bloom is back on vocals again. This is hard rock BOC! Nothing complex or overly simple, just guitar rock energy and fury with a one of the band's typical suspense story tales.

'Unknown Tongue' concludes the album. It's hard rock with piano and yet another almost horror suspense style story piece about what sounds like a slightly twisted young lady. There's a bit of pretty but horror movie- type piano. A good track though less involved than the first two.

While this is not my favourite Blue Oyster Cult album, it does typify what a BOC album sounds like: essentially a rock band with hard rock and heavy rock up front and occasional meanderings into traditional heavy metal and progressive trim where suitable. What is to be admired and liked is the band's ability to produce exciting and at times very interesting songs about aliens, ghosts, science fiction and the super natural. It's almost as if the members know not to take themselves seriously about their taking their work seriously, if that makes any sense. There's a tongue in cheek quality to the genuine sincerity they put into their entertainment. For that, I like them. But I wish this album had a few more memorable tracks for my taste.

FragileKings | 3/5 |

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