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Blue Öyster Cult - Don't Fear the Reaper CD (album) cover


Blue Öyster Cult


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3.96 | 4 ratings

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4 stars Bands with only a couple of hit singles, or less, seem subject to the most shameless plethora of repackagings and so-called best of compilations. Record companies rely on the fact that nobody can agree on what constitutes the greatest hits. In the case of Blue Oyster Cult, only one song has to be included, that being the ubiquitous and excellent "Don't Fear the Reaper", which might explain why at least 3 very different disks exist with that moniker. Everything else is negotiable, and makes or breaks the quality of a release for a particular audience.

Here we are addressing those who want a taste of what BOC can offer, and perhaps from there might move on to individual releases from the group's peak period. The material is all previously available, with a surprising 4 of the songs originally appearing on "Spectres" (1977) and the rest sourced from 5 studio albums and one live album from 1973 to 1981. The watchword is versatility and dark musings for the most part. "In Thee" shows what the band could do acoustically and is a dignified slice of whimsy. "Nosferatu" and "Godzilla" exemplify the band's predilection for the morbid, but are otherwise very different - the praises of the vampire are sung in a gothic keyboard laden prog song, while that horrible dinosaur is sent up in a kitsch description of his favourite environment, that of the big city in which he topples all manner of infrastructure. "Death Valley Nights", "Career of Evil", and "Burnin' for You" are all convincing and catchy rockers.

The missteps are the repetitively uninteresting "Goin' Through the Motions", the ham handed "The Red & The Black", and the horrendous live mess that is "Buck's Boogie", which is assault upon the audience only slightly mitigated by the band's everpresent sense of fun. Indeed it is that quality amidst the general dreariness of the subject matter that raises BOC above almost anyone else in their genres, and this rating up from 3.5 stars.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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