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Blue Öyster Cult - The Revölution By Night CD (album) cover


Blue Öyster Cult


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3.10 | 98 ratings

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3 stars After the stunning double whammy of "Cultosaurus Erectus" and "Fire of Unknown Origin", followed by the superb "Extraterrestrial Live", Blue Oyster Cult should have been poised to conquer the world once again with their unique brand of intelligent, hard-edged, progressive-tinged rock. The two aforementioned albums, produced by none other than hard rock legend Martin Birch, featured some of the band's best compositions ever, and the versions of their classics included on "ET Live" showed a band at the top of their game. However, just as had happened in 1976 with the release of the patchy "Agents of Fortune", the band seemed to have trouble in choosing whether they wanted to be a full-fledged arena rock act, or instead pursue the path laid out by their early Seventies masterpieces. The result is "The Revolution by Night" - by all means a stronger album than 1979's "Mirrors", but undeniably a rather inconsistent one.

To be perfectly honest, BOC's attempts at being an AOR band often come across as somewhat awkward - their true soul is the one shown by behemoths such as "Astronomy" or "Seven Screamin' Dizbusters". That said, some of their more commercial efforts can be excellent, as proved by a couple of tracks on this album. Since the band members' talents lay mostly elsewhere, they enlisted the help of a seasoned AOR writer like Aldo Nova to pen album opener (and hit single) "Take Me Away" - that unique example of a radio-friendly song dealing not with the hackneyed subject of love, but rather with the very unusual one of aliens. And a damn good song it is, with an infectious chorus and some sterling guitar pyrotechnics. Equally good is the long, mid-paced "Shooting Shark", featuring the unlikely combination of lyrics by NY punk muse Patti Smith (a long-time collaborator of the band), and splendid bass lines by none other than Randy "The Emperor" Jackson, sung by Buck Dharma in his typically understated manner.

While "Veins" and the anthemic "Feel the Thunder" are another couple of decent rockers, with touches that remind the listener of the band's best output, the real star of the show here is the dark, brooding "Shadow of California". A slice of menacing, jagged hard rock, with echoing drum sounds and slashing guitar lines, it features eerie vocal effects and a chorus obsessively repeating the words "into the darkness" - easily as good as anything released by the band in the early days of their recording activity. Unfortunately, the remaining tracks are as anticlimactic as they can be, and include a couple of real stinkers. "The Revolution by Night" could easily win an award for the worst album closer ever, the appallingly mushy "Light Years of Love" (light years removed from their glory days) - and "Let Go", with its equally appalling chorus of "B - O - C - we can be whatever you wanna be", would be more suited to a third-rate AOR outfit than to the band responsible for "Cities on Flame" and "Don't Fear the Reaper".

Rating such an uneven album is anything but easy, even for as staunch a BOC fan as I am. Though it would probably deserve no more than two and a half stars, the really good songs present on this disc cannot be ignored, and will therefore boost my rating up to three stars. As it should be quite obvious from my review, there is not much of interest to the hardcore prog fan, unlike the band's previous two albums. It is nonetheless a more than pleasant listen - unless you happen to hate rock, and if you try your best to ignore the stinkers.

Raff | 3/5 |


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