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


Blue Öyster Cult


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3.58 | 136 ratings

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Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars The 1980s were unkind to all manner of rock lovers, warping intelligent and inspiring rock bands into plastic clones all apparently vying for commercial viability. While the decade took its toll on Blue Oyster Cult, the band still managed to create excellent songs, including some of their most progressive work.

"Fire Of Unknown Origin" The opener has slight disco leanings, but maintains the true Blue Oyster Cult sound, even if it doesn't rock quite as hard. The bass is the key instrument.

"Burnin' For You" Blue Oyster Cult's second biggest radio hit (following "Don't Fear (The Reaper)"), this one somewhat ironically also features Donald Roeser on lead vocals (my preferred singer). It begins with a fantastic dual lead riff and contains a great chord progression, as well as one of the catchiest choruses the band ever put together. The guitar solo is also a moment of brilliance.

"Veteran of the Psychic Wars" A genuine progressive rock song of the 1980s, this has great percussion hammering things out underneath synthesizer, along with excellent vocals and an intriguing arrangement. The echoing guitar solo works to great effect in this science-fiction song. The music is almost "proto-neo-prog," sounding a bit like Marillion's debut.

"Sole Survivor" An awkward track with a rather annoying melody, this one is probably the weakest of the bunch.

"Heavy Metal: The Black and Silver" A return to 1970s hard rock, this is a riff-based song with a forceful refrain.

"Vengeance (The Pact)" Another moderately progressive work, this begins with quiet keyboard and soon becomes a rock monster. The main riff is impressive, and the lead guitar is tasteful and interesting.

"After Dark" Another blight on a great album, this song sounds like something out of a cheesy 1980s dance film, especially with that goofy drumming and crappy synthesizer. Buck Dharma recompenses the listener with a blistering guitar solo- his third best on the album.

"Joan Crawford" What a fantastic introduction- that haunting, classical piano. It gives way to edgier rock. The eerie song is based on the life of the titular actress and her allegedly abused adoptive daughter, Christina (who wrote Mommie Dearest and made child abuse a hot topic). This song is definitely one of my favorites from the band.

"Don't Turn Your Back" Another song boasting Roeser on lead vocals, this is one of his strongest singing performances, I think. This song sounds quite a bit like Steely Dan, with a prominent bass riff, peppy chord progression, and an easygoing melody. The guitar solo is also similar, but of course far superior. All said, "Don't Turn Your Back" is an overlooked gem from a great and generally consistent band.

Epignosis | 4/5 |


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