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Blue Öyster Cult - Extraterrestrial Live CD (album) cover


Blue Öyster Cult


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4.00 | 64 ratings

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5 stars Although it is not always rated as high as the first of BOC's live albums, 1975's "On Your Feet or On Your Knees", "Extraterrestrial Live" is to these ears one of the essential live efforts of the golden age of rock. Admittedly, when it was released the musical world was already in the throes of the Eighties' fad for anything electronic, poppy and danceable. On the other hand, those were also the years that saw the rise of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal - and many of the bands belonging to that movement saw BOC as the founding fathers of the kind of music they played.

Now, to call the legendary New Yorkers a heavy metal band seems to be definitely a bit of a stretch. Heavy they can be, and very much so, but always keeping melody and a certain complexity at the forefront. This comes across very clearly on this album, which offers a selection of songs from the band's then ten-year-long activity, with a particular emphasis on their latest album, the excellent "Fire of Unknown Origin" (released the previous year). "ET Live" is also sheer heaven for lovers of the electric guitar played with skill and taste - no pointless shredding here. The criminally underrated lead guitarist Donald 'Buck Dharma Roeser' is augmented by the contribution of vocalist Eric Bloom (on 'stun guitar') and keyboardist Allen Lanier, and there is also a guest appearance by former Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger on the stunning cover of the LA band's classic "Roadhouse Blues".

Though all the tracks are of a consistently high standard, there are some undisputed highlights. "Dominance and Submission" opens the album with a bang, its brisk, dynamic rendition somewhat accelerated in comparison with the original version on "Secret Treaties". Eric Bloom leads the dance, coaxing the audience into singing along to the supremely catchy chorus by stating that we know Poughkeepsie is serious about rock'n'roll. The already mentioned "Roadhouse Blues" is an extended, almost 10 minutes long jam, including another of Eric Bloom's prized raps, and some absolutely sterling guitar and keyboard work. "Godzilla" comes with an ominous spoken introduction, complete with sound effects reproducing the 'giant footsteps' of the titular, blown-up lizard; while the spacey Black Blade sounds even more powerful than the studio version on "Cultosaurus Erectus".

The real gem of this album, however, is the 8-minute-plus version of the marvellous "Veteran of the Psychic Wars" (twice as long as its studio counterpart), one of my favourite songs of all time. Besides the poignant, visionary lyrics by British fantasy writer Michael Moorcock, masterfully delivered by an inspired Bloom, the song boasts in its middle one of those guitar solos which can make you feel as if the instrument itself was 'singing'. The heavy, hypnotic drumming pattern, though simple in structure, is highly effective in adding further interest to one of the band's best compositions, and one of their proggiest.

Talking of prog, as the previous reviewers have already pointed out, there is little trace of it to be found here, with the exception of a few tracks. "ET Live" is nevertheless a great live album, full of all the rawness, the energy, the melodic potential and the songwriting ability of one of the seminal rock bands of the Seventies. Unless they hate hard-edged, classy rock with a passion, most prog fans will find this album a real joy to listen to. Very highly recommended indeed.

Raff | 5/5 |


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