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Blue Öyster Cult - Fire Of Unknown Origin CD (album) cover


Blue Öyster Cult


Prog Related

3.58 | 136 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars After that heavy comeback of Cultosaurus, the idea was to keep a winning formula and let's face it, worked at least for FOUO with its fantastic front and back sleeve artwork. Still the same line-up, same collabs (the usual suspects: Pearlman, Patti smith and Moorcock) but the album gains in commercial attraction with a bunch of well-crafted near-pop tunes (all between 3 ¼ to just under five mins) that signify that the 80's were around and a hit was needed: it would be Burning For You with its catchy chorus, kitsch synths (Lanier is the first to cede in the 80's mould with his synths) and fortunately still safe and sound drumming from Albert Bouchard.

Opening with a good Patti-penned title track, than upping the ante with the hit (saved by Bouchard's inventive drums) and then pulling one more upwards with the Moorcock- penned Veteran of the Psychic Wars (the last of his trilogy with BOC), which turns out to be the highlight of the album with its mid-80's Genesis better ambiances (Shapes album) while remaining Oyster-like. Funnily enough after a real promising three tracks, the Cultmen seem to run out a bit of steam like its predecessor CE did. While Sole Survivor is another catchy would-be hit, sounding much 80's-ish and still a bit fun (Karla DeVito's back vocals brings a little plus here), Silver & Black, a correct Heavy Metal Anthem. Outside the odd good guitar line and some interesting drumming (given the 80's context), there isn't much on this first side for a proghead here unless he wants to feed on Sci-Fi images in the lyrics.

The flipside starts out with the average Vengeance and sub-par After Dark, the latter sounding like a new wave type band between Squeeze and Stranglers. Another biggie coming from this album is the piano-led Joan Crawford, where Lanier gets partly forgiven for some of the vile synths choices on other tracks. Plenty of crashes and fights noises throughout the track makes this track an interesting listen. The closing synth-laden track is hard to believe that it is BOC playing it. Definitely the poor track of the album, they at least placed it last so you could skip it easier by lifting the needle from the wax, and tucking the album in the back of the closet until the next decade's decennial spin.

While this album confirms the return to form of BOC, it lacks CE's surprise and the 80's feel is starting to seep through in BOC's music. One might say that if I grew up with CE in my collection for a decade or so, I never really owned FOUO, which might actually explain the star difference between these two albums.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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