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Blue Öyster Cult - Heaven Forbid CD (album) cover

HEAVEN FORBID

Blue Öyster Cult

 

Prog Related

2.84 | 61 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Shockingly good, catchy & heavy

It took me nearly two decades to finally listen to this album, because frankly, I don't expect much when it comes to new "hard rock" by the geezer set. Thus I tend to ignore albums by bands I feel should have retired gracefully, favoring to spend my time on more youthful artists. Most of the time this geezer apathy has served me well. This time, despite the horrendously bad album cover art, I was wrong.

If you love hard rock, this late 90s offering from Blue Oyster Cult, minus the Bouchards no less.... absolutely, certifiably, kicks ass.

And I mean it kicks ass in a way which pays homage to the much worshipped Black/White trilogy days. Not that it has the exact same aura of 1970s and young blood that those albums did. But it certainly has the "spirit" of those early albums. Geezer context notwithstanding, "Heaven Forbid" is HEAVY, riff-ragin', rowdy, energetic as hell, and....engaging, interesting, yeah that's right....it has a pulse. It sounds like they cared. That is not always the case with 50 year olds trying to do what they did at 25. There are some repetitive verse/chorus/verse sections that give some credence to the "stock hard rock" formula charge but BOC has always had some songs like this-if they're done with passion and the song actually does rock and is fun, it is not a problem. This album has a couple tracks that are pedestrian but it has more of the kind of charm that keeps me coming back for more. The guitars have lots of growl and snarl, the overall production vibe is meaty and in-your-face.

There is groove to Heaven Forbid and the musicianship is as good as you'd expect, especially when Buck tears it up. There is mood, soul, and a little something special when Roeser's pop sensibility and melodic instincts make the material instantly enjoyable. The Bloom vocal tracks are heavier and rowdier while the Roeser-sang tracks a bit more reflective and diverse. "Harvest Moon" is a classic Buck Dharma song with an ethereal feel and soothing vocals, haunting and lovely. "Real World" featured funky acoustic guitar and gorgeous lead work. Some of the Bloom songs get close to Metallica intensity, very tight and gripping. The album leaves room for humor (listen to Buck's playful vocal on "Damaged") and unintentional homage-while Allen Lanier was just fine at the time of this album's release, his passing in 2013 makes the placement of a live "In Thee" a coincidentally beautiful closing number. Normally I'm not in favor of tacking on live stuff to a studio album but in this case it really fits and adds a feather to an album that surprised the hell out of me. In a good way.

This album has many low ratings with some reviewers talking about its failure in the context of "prog", which one need not consider when reviewing prog-related albums. Site Admin have changed the rating definitions for prog-related albums so that that no deduction for "prog quotient" is necessary or desired when reviewing the "related" section. The ratings definitions listed at PA all specify "rock" in lieu of "prog." So listen, love, and review all of our "prog related" titles as *rock* albums and quit worrying about the connection to prog.

Love, it makes strangers of us all / When we part oh, so thoughtlessly / Well, I'll wrap myself in cities I travel / I'll wrap myself in dreams / I'll wrap myself in solitude / But I wish I could wrap myself in thee

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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