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Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I think that Secret Treaties is the most important and representative album of the so called "black and white period" in the Blue Oyster Cult's discography. Not to say they are one of the most favourite bands of mine 'cause their genuine and polite hard rock sound well balanced with delicate arrengements, intriguing lyrics and concepts and even with sparkling variations. It's not prog, obviously, but it smells of it, often.

That's quite normally accepted by many of their followers, especially for their third record Secret Treaties, where the choice toward keyboards are more clear and evident. Allen Lanier found one of the first moog synthesizers and was fascinated at the point he useed it to build the memorable excursion on the highlight "Flaming Telepaths".

This is an album that features also the contribution of singer-songwriter Patti Smith who had fallen in love with a certain member...and helped in writing the opening piece "Career of Evil".

In this album you can find one of the most aggressive and fiery pieces from the hot electric guitar of Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser: the fascinating "Dominance and Submission" while the main contribution of Erik Bloom is the most introvert "Subhuman".

On all the immortal "Astronomy" from the pen of drummer Albert Bouchard and his brother, the bassist Joseph. An anguishing piece of art with wonderful lyrics by Sandy Pearlman and melancholic piano introduction.

This is a must have, clearly. No doubt about that.

Report this review (#118747)
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Yes!Yes!and Yes! I was intimidated into foolishly believing that this immortal non-prog recording would never see the light of day on this cherished site. Ah! the true progressive spirit demands of its fans to go out there beyond the stars and find new planets and cultures. Just like Star Trek! There are only 2 non-prog albums in my desert island selection (of which there are 50): Robin Trower's intoxicatingly majestic "Bridge of Sighs" and this sly, greasy , sweaty recording by the Blue Oyster Cult. The band is unfortunately focused on the "one song-that's it- syndrome", whereby "Don't Fear the Reaper" seems to be the only stop. Wrong! BOC has tons of brilliant proggish compositions littered thoughout their initial discography , of which no finer testament exists than this priceless jewel. "Career of Evil" has been regularly appearing in my mindless yet loud riff exhortations (Yeah! "Smoke On the Water")because its nasty guitar fueled rhythm is simply devastating. Simple, rude, sarcastic , metallic, very New York . The crown jewel here is the blistering and theatrical "Dominance & Submission" , shuttled by a driving pace and topped off with a ridiculously tortuous Buck Dharma salvo. Downright frightening! And the brilliance does not fade there , the last three cuts pushing the pedal to the metal..... No prisoners taken, heady rock music , with synths to boot . In many ways, BOC is a lot more progressive than meets the eye , but the first 6-7 albums in the 70" s were really as-kickingly good entertainment, loaded with amazing rythms, a very unique and highly ingenious sound , pre-"The Wall" symbolism (that foolishly and erroneously caused a neo-fascist labelling) and memorable compositions. And of course, don't forget that the real reaper was Buck Dharma's legendary guitar. Thank you for including this worthy iconoclast. 5 crosshookers
Report this review (#118761)
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Assimilating an enciclopedic stuff of musical genre (rock and roll, swing, beat, blues-rock, psichedelia, hard rock, sud boogie, honky-tonk), the Blue Oyster Cult grow up in the decadent circles of New York (they are the creature of the journalist Sandy Pearlman, they inventor, producer and composer), they become the leader of the heavy metal of the years ' 70.

Secret Treaties (apr 1974) picks the fruits of the maturation: dramatized theirs make more macabre , expanding and slowing down the sound in a fluid wrapped guitarristic boogie in atmospheres noir (Career Of Evil writed by Patti Smith, Subhuman) two masterpices that follow are between concern us of the rock all: "Flaming Telephants" all are 5 minuteren of commotion where the black ropes (the extraearthling) and white women (the land commotion), typical of the Blue Oyster Cult, come capacities to the maximum of their tones, between shadows and lights; "Astronomy" is to the previous one like the epic to the lyric one; without doubt the better song of the Blue Oyster Cult. Formally it would have to be dancing hard-rock, but it it is like a splendid sculpture would have materially to be a marble piece.

In the complex a beautiful album, an optimal soundtrack.

Listen to it

Report this review (#118784)
Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This band is not your typical heavy metal group of the 1970s. They used to be called "intellectual metal" band due to highly elaborated lyrical images of horror and sci-fi, sound and production design. The third album "Secret Treaties" brought them close to the progressive rock audience, because it contains excellent songs, wonderful melodic solo parts of guitars and keyboards, confident performance and progressive arrangements. Highlights include "Dominance and Submission", "Flaming Telepaths" and "Astronomy", while semi-hit "Career of Evil" was penned by punk diva Patti Smith. Even the weakest and rather mediocre hard rocking' track "ME262" makes a meaningful break between the two sides of the album, which flows almost uninterrupted from start to finish. Then, you are prompted to start it all over again. Is there a better way to recommend this excellent work? And yes, the listeners of "progressive metal" are very much advised to listen to this album - they might be witnessing the very "proto" of their beloved genre!
Report this review (#118800)
Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars taking a break from Battiato to indulge a favorite.

Oh I've wanted to do a review of this one since that fateful day the mighty B.O.C. were inducted into the hallowed halls of ProgArchives. Along with my friend Andrea this is my favorite of the 3 'Black and White' albums. They might not have been what some here consider prog (shhh.. might have a bit to do with being American hahhahah ).. but if interesting clever arrangments with significant prog moments, great musicianship, and thoughtful and downright prog-like nature of the lyrics are your thing which of course they are... you're a prog fan right. Then Secret Treaties should be your point of call if you want to see what the fuss is about with BOC and why they are here. . It may not be deemed prog by the site.. and taking the whole career into account... then they shouldn't be.. but this album is close. Astronomy and Flaming Telepaths willl jazz up any self respecting progger.

5 stars... close enough to prog for any open-minded prog fan. Simply a fabulous album, with possible exception of ME 262, from start to finish. HIGHLY recommended.

Michael (aka micky)

Report this review (#123128)
Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Nice and catchy with some of the best lyrics and concepts I've ever heard, but it isn't a progressive masterpiece. I enjoyed it for a while, but after listening to the same A-grade lyrics and melodies over and over again, it just became boring. A true progressive masterpiece (something with a close to 5 star rating on here!) just shouldn't do that - the music must be "deeper" and your enjoyment should enhance as you listen to it multiple times and discover new things.

Also, something unavoidable (being released in 1974) that I really shouldn't complain about is the sound quality... It's fine, but of course you don't "feel" the sound surrounding you as you do with many modern releases.

Either way this is better than the average "listenable" album (3 stars), so I'm giving it 4.

Report this review (#134496)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I will begin like BobFrank on my review, nice and catchy tunes but not a masterpiece and not a prog album in my opinion, only fiew passages here and there but as a whole sounds sometimes like hard rock tipical for early '70. For sure is a good album, and has very good lyrics , but not one of the milestones albums from prog. They have to do more with hard-heavy side, in the years to come they become one of the intetlectual band from metal, and it's clear that is the main purpose here, not to sound like a prog band (for ex. Genesis) but not to sound like heavy bands from early '70 (Black Sabbath), they've done a mixture and the result is Secret treaties. In fact i think that this album has a typical american sound. So, highlights include "Dominance and Submission", "Flaming Telepaths and the Cagey Cretins. Worth listening, 3,5 rounded to 4.
Report this review (#139520)
Posted Friday, September 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars The third chapter of BOC's so-called 'black-and-white trilogy' is rightly seen by many as the band's finest hour. Indeed, though during their long, venerable career the mighty New Yorkers have released a number of good albums, none of them are as solid and consistent as "Secret Treaties" - which vies with its predecessor, "Tyranny and Mutation", for the title of best ever BOC effort.

While the somewhat boring, lacklustre "ME 262" (the plane depicted on the cover) is widely held to be the weakest track the album, and "Cagey Cretins" is a catchy but ultimately inoffensive tune, the closing trio of songs raise ST to stellar levels once again. "Harvester of Eyes" boasts some of the most chilling lyrics ever written by the band (which is no mean feat), and an hypnotic, synth-laden tune; while "Flaming Telepaths" sounds like a skewed, pitch-black love song. However, "Astronomy", with its wistful piano intro, powerful, almost operatic musical crescendo, and cryptic, thought-provoking lyrics, is surely the defining track of the album, and one of the band's highest moments.

The 2001 remastered edition of ST contains three unreleased songs (quite pleasant, but not on a par with the rest of the disc), plus the single version of "Career of Evil", and BOC's cracking take on Steppenwolf's legendary "Born to Be Wild" - probably the best cover of the song among the many available so far. However, as good as those bonus tracks may be, they are just the icing on a cake that is already extremely tasty as it is.

Though "Secret Treaties" may be seen as more hard-rock than prog, it is definitely one of the classic albums of the Seventies - intelligent, well-crafted, passionate music performed by a unique band at the top of their game. Approach with an open mind, and you'll be rewarded.

Report this review (#159834)
Posted Saturday, January 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Maybe Blue Oyster Cult's best album I think. I only knew their great hit song Don't fear the ripper. I liked the song. And now not much as yesterday. After hearing Secret Treaties album I was facinated and like the album very much. In fact I purchused this album after reading its high rating on this site. and it did not disappointed me at all! if you like progressive music then you like this album, I thing. so don't have it just get it.
Report this review (#165515)
Posted Tuesday, April 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is an excellent straight ahead rock album with a couple of proggish elements sprinkled the weird interlude between 'Harvester of Eyes' and 'Flaming Telepaths'. 'Astronomy' is a very kool tune that starts off with light piano and progresses up to a rollicking good tune.... I really do enjoy listening to this album a lot....but I can't call it a masterpiece....
Report this review (#166768)
Posted Monday, April 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The peak of a career of evil

While best known by most for their immortal smash hit (Don't Fear) The Reaper of their best selling Agents of Fortune album, fans will almost always shrug that one off and point at this as their favorite Blue Oyster Cult [BOC] album. The third and final album in the band's opening trio (the black and white era), this album epitomizes everything that made those albums great and takes the entire being of their music to the stratosphere. Propelled by rocking riffs, haunting keys and very evil lyrics (and vocals), this is a decidedly non-prog album (but close! So close...) that no prog fan should miss out on.

What puts this album so high above it's brethren is a number of things. Almost every BOC album will have everything that was mentioned in the previous paragraph, but this one is a paragon of everything their other albums did well. While their debut disc showed a band with promise and the sophomore showed a huge lean towards the heavy, fast and dark with a great maturity in lyrics this album is a greater leap. The playing is tight, the lyrics are chilling and well thought out and there's not a weak track to be had on the album (something BOC are usually guilty of). In fact, this album hosts a multitude of songs that (while lesser known) are probably the best in the band's entire career.

In my review for the band's debut I noted that Eric Bloom had not yet found his ''voice'' yet. Well, while he found it on their second outing, it's very clear that here the man knows what he's doing. In the rare case of Bloom voicing just about every track on the album (Only Laneir steps in for a moment on the third and fifth tracks), but while other members definitely had voices for specific types of songs, Bloom's was certainly the best choice for this album. Emotional, powerful, moving. Bloom really decided to let loose here, as evident on songs like the chilling tale of Subhuman

Synths pack an extra punch on the album behind the trio guitars of Bloom, Lanier and Dharma, another thing that separates this album from their others. This is also a big thing that will entice the prog heads! Yes, they use this instrument quite well on the album as evident with the pressing yet almost floating keys that open Career Of Evil. Another part where these keys really make an impact is after the stellar drum wailing that opens the terrifying Flaming Telepaths.

As usual, the band excels when heavy and fast, laying on the rock. As evident in songs like the jet-powered ME 262 with its frantic pace in the harmonized vocals, and the rocking riff of Dominance And Submission is only made better by the breakdowns which have Bloom's voice (effectively and dissonantly) cutting off the backing vox.

And while the first half of the album is very very strong the second half simply blows the first half out of the water. Cagey Cretins is a scorching opener with tight playing and solos from one mr. Dharma, but that's only the start. Harvester Of Eyes is a surprisingly upbeat considering it's lyrics are some of the most twisted ever written by a human being. Or a harvester of eyes for that matter. Flaming Telepaths takes that evil, however, and just makes it all the more scary. Bloom's vocals are soft and emotional to open the frantic piece of work that is the track but soon move into the darker territories. Those synths don't let down and the backing piano only adds more mood to something that just keeps getting better until it reaches its climax which is inhabited by a wonderful tradeoff piano-synth solo along with the repeated hook (''And the joke's on you!'').

Astronomy is likely the most ''progressive'' song the band has ever record and its caliber is right up their with the more catchy The Reaper. A 20+ minute epic captured in a mere 6:28 with it's soft and peaceful piano opening leading into it's spine chilling end in which Bloom's vocals punch as hard as being hit by a bus, this track is simply put - stunning.

Though perhaps not progressive this album comes pretty darn close. Regardless, this album is completely essential to anyone who likes anything even slightly heavy. The material on the album also warrants enough of a prog feel thanks to it's many layers, complexities, mini-epics, synths and wonderful writing. 5 stars! Recommended to each and every person who fancies music.

Report this review (#170728)
Posted Monday, May 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars And the joke's on you!

Secret Treaties - the third installment in BOC's "black & white" trilogy which occupies a unique place in the hard rock pantheon. The boys had come a long way from the psychedelic ramblings of former incarnation The Soft White Underbelly , and their adopted brand of heavy metal made an interesting counterpart to the dark phenomology of lyricists & producer Sandy Pearlman (also manager, consultant, and producer!) and Richard Meltzer (and in fact, Pearlman would split following Secret Treaties). Meltzer was responsible for some of the most twisted lyrics to hit the press, notably "Cagey Cretins" and "Harvest of Eyes." Pearlman deals more with cosmic fantasy, contributing "Astronomy", an excerpt from the saga Imaginos written by Sandy years before and finally recorded as a concept piece by the band in 1988. The song itself lives up to the galactic expanses touched in lyrics, providing BOC one of their most enduring pieces, a constellation that remains as bright in the rock universe today.

After the large sonic jump between the debut and "Tyranny and Mutation", there were only more subtle tweaks on this one, but there is a sense of more definition in their confident muscularity. The songs are heavier, more brooding in places perhaps, and the atmosphere is more intoxicating, often creepy and evil, but you just can't look away. In fact, more likely than not, you will join the droves flocking to the forbidden shrine, an ever growing following that garnered BOC headline status when they toured the album. And boy were they ready for it! When Secret Treaties hit the streets in April '74, the Cult had gained a ton of creative energy to go with their growing experience and commercial potential. energy that translated beautifully onto the album and live shows.

When this thing takes off, it's hard to imagine anything cooler than Eric Bloom's unremorseful vocal delivery and Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser's graceful destruction of all innocence. Joe Bouchard provides the getaway car and brother Albert pounds away to reinforce each snarling promise. And let's not forget Allen Lanier's cross-eyed psycho of an organ-riff to kick off this "Career of Evil". The whole album is just ridiculously good, and all songs are basically on the same level with the final two tracks stretching the Cult's image and ability to the extreme, especially Eric Bloom, who perfected his voice to fit the music perfectly. In fact, Buck Dharma doesn't sing lead on any tracks and Al Bouchard steps in on two (although both supply those unique, creepy backing vocals). Dharma will stay busy melting your face off instead with that trademark suit (the infamous "Tony Orlando" look), white Gibson SG combo. One mark of a classic album is difficulty selecting the "highlights" and that sure is the case here; I can think of something important that each track brings to the table. I will leave it at that as to maintain some integrity, haha.

Progressive fans will most likely find this the most interesting of BOC's albums, along with the follow-up live album "On Your Feet or On Your Knees." Allen Lanier's ability on keys has improved noticeably, now adding an important depth to the mix. The best example being the Moog synthesizer leads on "Flaming Telepaths", a dark and reflective tale of addiction. The cd reissue features more heavy rock pearls that couldn't make the original vinyl. They don't quite reach the same quality as the album tracks, but add to the overall package nicely, bringin' more good times and a somewhat lighter atmosphere than much of the LP (well.maybe not so much on "Mommy", that one isn't as nice as the title suggests ;). The single version of "Born to be Wild" has nothing on the live one, but that's no slight because the live interpretation is the definitive version of the song (yes, even edging out Steppenwolf's original). I feel as though cheating the excellent tracks by not mentioning and describing each one but I'd be here for hours.just go buy the thing and put it on if you want a good time.

Oh yeah, I didn't even discuss how "prog" it is.actually now that I think about it, I did that on purpose. 'But c'mon, this is a prog site!' Hah. Personally, I don't care at all.okay then I'll take a star off the rating just for PA because purists and of course elitists may not like Blue Oyster Cult. Their loss.

PA rating : 4.25/5

The Jimmy Row Factor : 9.5/10, A

Report this review (#175365)
Posted Thursday, June 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5; Another reason to hate the middle rating! Definitely above average, the best three I've ever given.

Secret Treaties seems to be Blue Oyster Cult's most credited album, especially among more progressive minded people. It is indeed a quite enjoyable album, but nothing to get that excited about (except the last two songs). This is the first album for me to really listen to by the band. I had of course heard their more commercial hits Don't Fear the Reaper and Burnin' for You, and I think I found more enjoyment in this in an intellectual sense. Influences are pretty clear, another derivative of Deep Purple with the whole hard rock with Hammond organ combination, maybe even some influence from Steppenwolf and Uriah Heep. I suppose I expected to like this album more than I did considering my classic hard rock background. In some ways I love it, in some I get a bit irritated. I can't say I'm too fond of the vocalist, either the actual vocal lines or his voice in general, or even the vocal harmonies, and I guess that's the main reason for the rating, as well as the fact that some parts of the album that I just can't stand overall, especially in the middle. But it's definitely a worthwhile album.

It's basically good classic rock, with a good use of repetition; something you'd very much expect from the early seventies in hard rock terms, with some interesting artistic quirks that apparently account for their inclusion in this site. It's the standard guitar riff intro, vocals layered on top for verse 1, a slight change for verse two, a relatively catchy chorus, a solo here and there, and the songs over without much else to say (again, except the last two, which make the album really worth buying). The transitions between songs are great too, each one flowing very nicely to the next.

This album, in my mind, can be divided in three parts. Songs 1-3, which were all pretty decent and enjoyable, especially Career of Evil. The vocal lines are less annoying, the riffs are very decent all around, and the choruses are quite fun and catchy. Dominance - Submission - Radios appear, all in different voices! The middle section, songs 4-6, I found less enjoyable. I especially could not stand Cagey Cretins, it's one of those songs the skip button was made for. The coolest part in this section is the instrumental section of Harvester of Eyes, and the bell transition into our third section, songs 7-8, which are both excellent! The keyboard work is incredible! Everything about it is great, definitely the proggiest and best written song on the album, maybe in the band's discography (though I have yet to find that out). We even have a Moog solo, like something out of Wish You Were Here, it's just great! Astronomy is almost as great, though quite a bit softer, probably the closest thing to a ballad on the album. Those last two songs are the main reason to get this album.

I highly recommend this album to people with a strong taste in classic hard rock bands such as Deep Purple and Uriah Heep, maybe even Rush or Pink Floyd. There is some great stuff here, and some not so great, but more of the former. You just might really love it, especially considering how highly rated this album is. It's a Flaming Telepath!

Report this review (#179299)
Posted Saturday, August 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars I'm surprised at how much this band has matured on this their third release. A big part of that may have been them spending the winter months (1973/74) together in a cottage on Long Island rehearsing and composing these songs.

"Career Of Evil" was co-written with "punker" Patti Smith. Organ and drums lead the way with vocals. This is a good catchy mid paced opener. "Subhuman" is even better. The bass, drums and reserved vocals create a place I like to be in. Tasteful guitar 2 minutes in with vocal melodies. Love the guitar 3 minutes in as well. Great track. "Dominate And Submission" seems to be influenced by Patti Smith because the guitars have that "Punk" sound and aggression at times. It rocks out pretty good 4 minutes in with both organ and guitar ripping it up. "ME 262" reminds me of both Alice Cooper and David Bowie at times. Another aggressive, uptempo tune. "Cagey Cretins" is the third rocker in a row and my favourite of the three. I like the vocals and organ on this one. The drumming is relentless. "Harvester Of Eyes" gets better as it plays out. I like the guitar before 2 minutes as he starts to let loose. After 3 1/2 minutes it slows down and the guitar grinds away. Nice.

"Flaming Telepaths" opens with some good piano and drums before the vocals arrive and they're great. Piano comes and goes. An outburst of synths 2 1/2 minutes in and the guitar is a highlight both 3 minutes in and especially to end it. "Astronomy" has got to be in the top three of their all time best songs. This one just stands out from the rest of the songs on this record. It's too bad they all weren't this good. Piano to start as vocals come in and they're amazing. A full sound 2 minutes in. This is such an incredible passage as the vocals get more passionate. It calms back down with organ melodies. This contrast continues. Guitar lights it up 5 1/2 minutes in to the end.

For most this is their best album, and I have to agree with the majority but I still feel these guys are second rate when compared to the Metal heavyweights from this era.

Report this review (#179983)
Posted Monday, August 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars By music critics this third album is the best or in fact the peak of their career. It's probably the band started to transform themselves into something more commercial in nature as the hard rock side is now becoming softer. In my opinion this album is not better or weaker than the previous two. As far as distribution of good tracks in the album, this one is probably much more widespread, not focusing on one or two tracks as best cuts. The remastered edition of first four albums under Columbia/Legacy label includes lyrics, photos, and liner notes by Lenny Kaye. The good thing is there are five bonus tracks, three of which were previously unreleased. Secret Treaties was recorded in early 1974 and released in April with the same producer as the first two albums: by Murray Krugman and Sandy Pearlman.

Secret Treaties is one of trilogy referred to as black-and-white period. The opening Career of Evil is probably considered as one of the band's catchiest track even though the lyrics are quite nasty. ".I want your wife to be my baby tonight / I choose to steal what you chose to show.". Subhuman, and Flaming Telepaths, are things about devil. And it all ends with the nice astrological ballad, Astronomy.

Report this review (#181255)
Posted Sunday, August 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This third release shows a heavier BÖC than previously. I was quite surprised that this album should be considered as their proggiest effort. As far as I'm concerned, it is raw, energetic and wild. And I quite like it for some reasons.

The first reason is linked with the fine rocking opener: ''Career Of Evil''. The lyrics were written by Patti, only a year prior to her GIGANTIC ''Horses'' album. Just a phrase out of this song ''I'd like to do it to your daughter on a dirt road''. No surprise if you have ever listened to her version of ''Gloria'' which is just sulphurous. I became one of the ''no more heroes'' generation in '78 but there are two exceptions: Jimi (Hendrix) and Patti (Smith). For lots of different reasons of course.

This album holds some really great rock music, rather straight forward like during ''Dominance & Submission'' or ''Cagey Cretins''. ''Me 262'' is quite a punkish song avant la lettre (a year or so as far as the New York scene is concerned, but they opened the fire).

When one listens to ''Harvester Of Eyes'', the power of ''Born To Be Wild'' is not far away. It is true to say that a song as ''Flaming Telepaths'' holds some very thin prog elements (synths, piano), that it is diversified and extremely well balanced, it is the most emotional track of this very good album. No other one features such a fine guitar break as during this song. Great music.

To tell you the truth, I far much prefer to listen to this type of albums than to any of the so called (prog) metal genre available. Four stars.

Report this review (#196480)
Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars A secret cult treatise of astronomy

As probably most people on this site would agree, the early 70's were a truly remarkable period in music history. Almost all my favourite bands released their best albums between 1971 and 1975. We can conclude that those were really amazing years for rock music in general and for progressive rock in particular. Blue Öyster Cult is certainly not among my favourite bands, and neither are they a Prog band. But the progressive climate of those years influenced a lot of Rock music, even on the 'other' side of the Atlantic. Blue Öyster Cult too released their best and probably most progressive influenced album - Secret Treaties - in this golden period of the first half of the 70's. But even their best album is hardly essential for the Prog fan to explore.

Compared to the weak first two Blue Öyster Cult albums, Secret treaties represented a major step forward for the band. The songs are much more memorable and melodious.

Some people have called Blue Öyster Cult 'the American Black Sabbath'. Personally, I think that any such comparison is completely out of place and altogether misleading. The only reason this comparison came up was probably that the two bands toured together at some point. Musically, however, Blue Öyster Cult is a completely different beast. Often close to straightforward Rock 'n' Roll, Glam Rock and even Proto-Punk (Punk was not yet invented at this point), Blue Öyster Cult was miles away from the doom laden, dark, and much more progressive British Heavy Metal of Black Sabbath.

Secret Treatise has mostly good songs but the only song that stands out as great for me is Astronomy. Astronomy is a Rock classic. The rest of the album is, as I said before, a mix between straightforward Rock 'n' Roll, Glam Rock and Proto-Punk. A couple of Moog solos do not make this into Prog by any means but it adds a nice touch.

This album is the best by Blue Oyster Cult and worth having and, but hardly essential for the average Prog fan.

Report this review (#223320)
Posted Saturday, June 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Third and most important album from BOC, at least as far as progheads are concerned, because most of the general public will tell you, the upcoming albums will sell a lot more albums. While ST is considered in BOC's B&W trilogy (and before the double live inter- chapter album), this album is sensibly different to its predecessor. First it's sooooo much netter in terms of material, but it's also an album where Lanier's KB are making a difference, hence the proghead's approval. Unchanged line-up, label and producer, the album is again with a B&W (along with some red) artwork presenting an early supersonic military airplane. The songwriting is again fairly democratic and producer Pearlman still "interferes" in four tracks, but strangely enough, it is drummer Albert Bouchard that gets five credits

Starting on Bouchard's Career Of Evil and a solid dose of Lanier's organ, the album might just be considered their proggier ones of the 70's, the album is off to a blazing lift off, especially with the superb follow-up Subhuman and then the blazing guitar-laden Dominance & Submision. Only the slightly weaker semi-title track (ME 262 is the Messerschimidt reactor airplane of the artwork), but there is no other tracks that can come close to the album's title.

The flipside's opener Cretins is thankfully short, and despite ending well Harvester Of Eyes isn't that successful either, but the album closes on two all-time BOC classics. Indeed Telepaths (some piano in BOC?) and especially the album-lengthier Astronomy are both linked together and the latter's superb piano intro and mid-tempo melody and superb mid- section?. It's a killer.

The remastered reissue comes with a colourized version of the artwork and a bunch of bonus tracks, but I have never heard them. While I would certainly not call ST a prog classic, it's certainly their most preferred with the public preferred, like Argus, Rising, Paranoid are in their respective discography.

Report this review (#227378)
Posted Saturday, July 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Blue Oyster Cult - Secret Treaties (1974)

My rating is based on Prog related, not Prog.

As a vinyl collector I try a lot of bands. My first BOC record was Mirrors, which I thing is a fine pop/rock album. When I saw BOC on Pa I got interested in more records of this early 'heavy metal'/glamour/prog-related band. Secret Treaties seemed to be the right place to start for me.

Secret Treaties is a hard rock album (in 1974 it was called heavy metal) with a lot of melodic parts, catchy and intelligent songwriting and a great prog-related ending section with the Flaming Telepaths & Astronomy combo. Calling this album progressive is however totally non-sense, but it is such a nice addition to your collection! The recording is a bit below average, but the songs and the tempo of the album makes you want to listen to it till the end. The songs on side one have a positive vibe with some glamour/rock'n roll influences with great riffs and vocals. The lyrics fit perfectly with the music. "I choose to steal what you choose to show, and you know: I will not.. apologize! You're mine for the taking!". On side two Cagey Cretins continues in the style of side one, but Harvester of Eyes become more dreamy, Flaming Telepaths magestic and Astronomy breathtaking. The ending section is very memorable.

Conclusion. Classic hard rock album that shows the great potential of 'just' hard rock. The melodic approach of BOC works great and the experiments with new rhythms and riffs make this a highlight of the whole rock movement. The record is friendly for your environment. Recommend to people who like seventies (melodic) hard rock, metalfans that seek the roots and those who just like to have a light positive record in their collection. Four stars for prog related, three stars for prog.

Report this review (#260619)
Posted Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Blue Oyster Cult's third is a pleasant collection of songs that sits somewhere between classic rock with mild hard rock and progressive elements. It's all very pleasant, innocent and inoffensive but parts of it have aged badly. Other moments have remained fresh even a good 30 years after its release.

The opening track is a lovely groovy rock song with a catchy main riff and the kind of chorus you're humming along with before you're even through with your first listen. The guitar is very harmless, a bit like Ritchie Blackmore who forgot to put the distortion on. Subhuman is another mild melancholic rocker with nice melodies and some exciting riffery. Dominance and Submission has a bit more punch, it's a kind of mix of blues boogie and country. The entrancing middle section reminds me slightly of Hawkwind.

With ME 262 the album loses its tension, it's straightforward pop-rock that has aged badly to my 80's raised ears here. Cagey Cretins is better again. At their best moment this band has all the groove, melody and punch you want in a rock band. At the more psychedelic moments like around minute 2, early Hawkwind comes to mind again.

Harvester of Eyes is country rock and probably an adequate song if you're into that style, Flaming Telepaths is another one that makes me reach for the skip button. The best sits at the end. Astronomy is a great melancholic rock epic that should please most prog fans who are into 70's classic rock.

This is a more then average 70's rock album and probably BOC's best, but even within prog-related, it's just a pleasant, innocent and inoffensive 3 stars.

Report this review (#262262)
Posted Sunday, January 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars After a good debut and a decent follow-up BOC released their third album that I think still remains one of their best. For me it was the second that I have bought after the debut so I'm used to think to it as to the follow.up to the debut.

Effectively I think this is more similar to the debut than Tyranny and Mutations. "Career of Evil" is a slow-rock song. I'm a Patti Smith fan and as many probably know she had a relation with the keyboardist Allan Lanier and has also guested on Agents of Fortune. I think that the influence of BOC to Patti Smith's music is evident and this song reminds me to her a lot.

"Subhuman" starts when the previous ends. Also on the vinyl the two tracks are almost gapless. It's a dark bluesy song. I think that who was calling them the American Black Sabbath was not wrong. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath has a similar musical mood.

Then it comes my favorite track. "Domninance and Submission" is the first truly Rock song: speed tempo, good vocals, non-trivial chords, changes in signature and most of all the exciting coda with the background singers growing up with "Dominance" and Eric Bloom crying "Submission" each time more desperate and the final guitar solo

"ME 262" Starts as a Rock and Roll song, well, it's a rock and roll song, effectively. But it has something more inside. The falling bombs, the noises and the guitar sounding like a war siren are not just "rock and roll".

Side B now..."Cagey Cretins" is in advance with the times. It's a sort of proto-punk song. Like if the Ramones were able to play an instrument....(I don't say they weren't, they were just very able to hide their skills behind their punk). However it's also a respectable heavy metal track.

"Harvester Of Eyes" has again a dominant rock and roll flavor but it's a dark and sometimes grotesque song. The fact that all the songs can be played with no gaps should be appealing to proggers. Excellent guitar riff.

"Flaming Telepaths" is the darkest song of the album. And one of the best. "Poisons in my bloodstream.." It's a prelude to the kind of songs that BOC will release later. I think to Agents of Fortune. On this song Lanier and Buck Dharma Roeser make an excellent job.

On the sudden end of the previous track the piano introduces the closer "Astronomy". The most progressive track of the whole album, probably. Slow, based on minor chords with mainly a piano base until the quite hippy chorus. it's a captivating song.

This is my favorite BOC album and I think it can stay in any collection.

Report this review (#509298)
Posted Friday, August 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars The culmination of BOC's early career is the perfect counterpart to Tyranny and Mutation. Where its predecessor was aggressive, heavy, and balls-to-the-wall fast, Secret Treaties is complex, mysterious, and elusive. Drawing heavily on Sandy Pearlman's Imaginos mythology - indeed, Astronomy Subhuman would be rerecorded on the Imaginos album (the latter retitled as Blue Oyster Cult). Beginning with the deceptively simple Career of Evil, the album draws the listener on through increasingly bizarre layers of hinted debauchery and occult conspiracy before culminating in the poetic and bizarre Astronomy. An album which has grown on me bit by bit over the years, until now I am convinced that it is the band's masterpiece.
Report this review (#517486)
Posted Thursday, September 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not a 5 star album, Blue Oyster Cult never could quite release a perfect complete album, but darn close. Classic tracks like "Career of Evil", "Subhuman", "ME262", "Astronomy" are here and they kick the proverbial butt. Only "Cagey Cretins" is a really weak track. The BOC boys were at the top of their game and starting to ramp up into the high point of their career. Nothing to complain about on SECRET TREATIES, and it is a definite reccomendation for anyone starting to get into the band. Also look at SPECTRES and IMAGINOS and FIRE OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN. You won't be sorry.
Report this review (#733592)
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Close your eyes and try to think of the epitome of a hard rock album. This is it for me.

SECRET TREATIES is a wonderful little discovery that offers a bit more than what your standard rock band offers without sacrificing any power or gusto. It's one of those albums that isn't reliant at all on technical proficiency and can produce spine-tingling tracks that bypass that perceived lack of talent. And the whole thing is group effort in terms of writing credits.

As far as prog is concerned, the album sniffs the boundaries at times, most notably the interjection of synths in ''Flaming Telepaths'' and the connection of the tracks on the second side. Sound-wise, BOC have often been compared to Sabbath, but I hear far more Alice Cooper influence in their sound with Steppenwolf slipping in there. Speaking of Steppenwolf, the cover of ''Born to Be Wild'' is dynamite.

There is no mediocre track throughout the main album; only ''Subhuman'' and ''ME 262'' are comparatively not up to par. That great stretch of tracks in the second half is mind-boggling, and ending with the purely epic ''Astronomy'' is nothing to snuff at. Add all of those with the evil-tastic ''Career of Evil'' and the near-perfect rock track ''Dominance and Submission'', and you have one of the best hard rock albums to hit the market.

Report this review (#801549)
Posted Tuesday, August 7, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's not that often records hit the top, receiving five stars. Even more seldom is that the fact when bands like BOC are the receipients of these stars, since the band is an uneven one. They are alright but never all that great, except on Secret treaties which is one of the absolutely most fabulous albums ever made. From start to finish it's a glorious ride where prog and hard rock melt together perfectly, spiced with mysterious lyrics and great cover.

The songs are perfect. Each and everyone worthy of praise and though they present different approaches, somewhat, they belong together in a very cohesive way. BOC never sounded more heavy and furious than on Dominance and submission and more genious than on the great Astronomy. On Secret treaties BOC was struck by the divine, creating a masterpiece of extraordinary measures. Through the mystic (Subhuman), to metal (Dominance and submission), to rock'n'roll (ME262), to the epic, genuine prog (Astronomy).

Secret treaties is a must, as I see it. There are absolutely no letdowns of any kind. This is legendary stuff from a band that never reached the same heights agian nor before. Epic.

Report this review (#916519)
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
Prog Sothoth
Prog Metal Team
4 stars The "black & white" trilogy ends with the heralded Secret Treaties. A fine mix of hard rock with a nasty attitude and occult-inspired space rock, it combines elements of BOC's atmospheric debut with aspects of Tyranny & Mutation's aggression and adds a bit more of an epic approach to their material along with some progressive influences as well. It should not only be the band's finest hour, but my favorite as well.

Yet, it really isn't. I mean, it's great, but it could've been even better. Like the other two in the trilogy, Secret Treaties has its own style of production that doesn't do the music any serious favors. The debut was tripped-out reverb excess, the second had a razor sharp guitar but it was also raw and the drums lacked punch. With this album, the instruments are mixed better, but the overall tone is dull around the edges, particularly with the guitars. A combination of the bite that this album's predecessor had with the polish endowing the follow-up "Agents of Fortune", would have done wonders to sharpen up this release.

Opener "Career of Evil" is a cool start with Patti's creepy lyrics and a nice slinky groove, and the seamless shift to "Subhuman" is neat, but that song itself, while good on its own, in my opinion should have been placed later in the album. I just find it a bit tedious after the opener I guess. Things pick up with the next three tracks, which are all cool rockers with a bit of weirdness thrown into each of them. Afterwards, "Harvester of Eyes" and "Flaming Telepaths" really bring out the strange subject matter and prog elements begin slithering into their sound, culminating with "Astronomy", a spaced-out piano ballad that also rocks out in a catchy "hey!" fashion. Really an interesting and brilliant piece of rock music.

Without a doubt, no BOC fan should be without this recording in my opinion, and even though I wouldn't rank this as their finest hour, being part of the "black & white" trilogy practically makes it essential by default. I love their wild early years, and this release ends their trilogy on a suitably uncanny note with the last three tracks of this release.

Report this review (#1481387)
Posted Monday, November 2, 2015 | Review Permalink

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