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

THE REVÖLUTION BY NIGHT

Blue Öyster Cult

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Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Looking at the year this album was released, you wouldn't say it's bad at all. As all the previous effort of the band has both good and mediocre moments. Considering it's the first studio album without the contribution of drummer-singer-songwriter Albert Bouchard, I have to admit that the album has passed the test of my evaluation but it's far from being excellent.

As I said, conventional hard rocking numbers are many, starting off with the opener "Take Me Away" (which is good). The longest tune feature another collaboration with Patti Smith: I'm speaking of "Shooting Shark", a nice song with more than a poppy feel.

"Shadow of California" is, on the other hand, darker and pompous at the same time. Sound has changed again respect to the previous album but I think this is another classic left forgotten on a corner. On a similar vein "Feel the Thunder". Both good, "Let Go" reminds me of "Cultosaurus Erectus" while the closer "Light Years of Love" feature an acoustic guitar (the first time was with "In Thee" the radio friendly on Mirrors). "Dragon Lady" and "Veins" are pretty decent, especially the last one.

2,75 stars rounded up to 3.

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#128605)
Posted Sunday, July 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Considered by many to be the true end of an era for this band, The Revolution By Night was mostly greeted with indifference by the music industry and fans alike, evidenced by the sudden waning of interest, from which they would never recover.

The album is the first without the original lineup, Albert Bouchard having left midway through, beginning a rotating door of new rhythm players, none of which add anything to their sound. The biggest issue I have with the album is that it very clearly sounds of its time (1983) where the other albums had a more timeless quality. Most of this is due to the very 80s sounding synth drums used throughout, however Lanier synths feel dated as well.

Not sure what they were going for with this album, it sounds as if they needed a hit to follow up 'Burnin' For You' off the previous release. Unlike their previous attempt to recreate a successful formula (the wildly uneven Spectres which tried to follow the formula of Agents Of Fortune) this one seems to lack energy and creativity throughout. 'Eyes Of Fire', 'Veins', 'Let Go' and 'Dragon Lady' are all perfunctory songs, but completely fail to live up to their legacy. 'Feel The Thunder' revisits their love for biker culture, and 'Shadow Of California' is a strong number with some menace to it., yet both have been done much better on previous albums. The high points are 'Take Me Away', a very decent rocker and the gorgeous 'Shooting Shark', which I would rank up there as one of their finest songs.

On the whole, this is a disappointing album because it is the first that doesn't take chances. BOC settled for the bland sound of the time and their career suffered as a result. As 'Take Me Away' and 'Shooting Shark' are on the decent Workshop Of The Telescopes compilation, this album can only be ranked as for collectors or fans only.

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Send comments to DantesRing (BETA) | Report this review (#132025)
Posted Monday, August 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Into the darkness

Well, if the 80s that is. One thing that I've always noticed about this band was that as soon as the 80s hit they really did not know what to do. These heavy-metal giants of the 70s who gave us such fantastic albums such as Tyranny & Mutation and Secret Treaties really lost their way and their sound at the turn of the decade. While Cultosaurous Erectus came out at the turn of the decade they still had their classic sound melded with some of the elements of music that were emerging, and on their next album Fire Of Unknown Origin they actually started to mix prog with metal and a bit of 80s pop-rock which actually worked for them fairly well as evident by their hit Burnin' For You. On this album however, they've decided to strip the prog element and focus more or less on the metal-pop-rock side of things. While the are a couple of very, very good tunes on this one there's also a number of standard 80s rock tunes that will make prog-heads shiver.

But let's talk about the good first.

The album opens very promisingly with their single from the album Take Me Away. Bloom takes the helm and uses his harsh voice to make for quite a song backed by an excellent Dharma riff. Heavy and fun. Shooting Shark, though poppy is likely where the last evidence of prog shines through in this seven and a half minute tune. Led by a killer bass riff by Randy Jackson (of American Idol fame) this one is rather pleasant in fact. Veins is also a good rocker even if the lyrics are not quite up to par with the standard BOC material, it also ends side one with a warning siren, which is pretty cool if I do say so. Moving onto side two we have one of the best BOC songs ever written - Shadow Of California would have fit very comfortably on any of their previous albums thanks to it's incredibly malevolent atmosphere and dark brooding mood. An excellent chorus and cool voice effects make this one the definitive standout on the album - and they probably knew this because the album's name is taken from a line in the song and the cover art looks like it should accompany this tune - and it's too bad they didn't stick more to this style for the rest of the songs... that one have made for one hell of an album.

Onto... the rest.

While half the songs range from good to pretty good (and one amazing tune) the rest of the songs on the album are simply unfortunate. Eyes On Fire is the first evidence of this with a very light hearted sound that is also very 80s stadium rock, and Feel The Thunder feels much the same. A couple of other songs though are just not good. Let Go is one that always throws me off, especially since when an artist tells you their name in a song it becomes bad almost instantly (while they've said their name in other songs it's been well done. Subhuman for example used the Blue Oyster Cult as a kind of character in the story) with a line like ''B~O~C, we can be whatever you wanna be!''. Oh, no... But the low point of the album has to be the closer - Light Years Of Love. Just by looking at the name you can probably tell what this song sounds like. This is far too pop to be the career of evil that we once knew.

While it certainly has it's moments the good songs on this album can easily be found on compilations of the band. Good for fans of the band and people who like that 80s stadium sound, but for people looking for prog this is an effort best skipped - go somewhere else to start your voyage with these guys. This one gets 3 eyes on fire out of 5.

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Send comments to Queen By-Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#173682)
Posted Thursday, June 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Raff
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to Raff (BETA) | Report this review (#211308)
Posted Tuesday, April 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars Feel the (revolution) thunder

My understanding of this recording is surely quite far away from the one that many prog fans and hardcore BOC fans have generated. The truth is apart from the fact that the album is carried away in the AOR stream of the early 80's, there is nothing wrong with this effort; contrary, there are 9 solid compositions, beautifully sung, with some of the best riffs that BOC have ever created! Being realistic though, the disapproval by many BOC followers can be up to one extent justified - the ''commercial'' turn is evident, the melodies are AOR-based and there are no sharp metallic riffs of the past.

The sound has been replaced by ''polished'' compositions with strong keyboard backgrounds, solid rocking riffs and possibly the best vocal performance in BOC history. However, this new sound brings together a different, deep and dark (ish) atmosphere that compensates for the lost (?) glory of the past. How difficult is to explain to a prog fan that an almost pop song that starts off with a classic electronic beat (Shooting Shark) and its solo is based on a romantic saxophone can be as enchanting as a prog epic? Simplicity at its best. Most of the compositions are based on plain but well-worked ideas, proving the level of maturity the band has reached over the years.

The album kicks off with Take me away, a mid-tempo guitar based track with a keyboard-flourished, rhythmic, melodic and catchy refrain that makes a fantastic opener - a classic rocker with a typical solo break in the middle and return to the refrain to conclude. A piano introduction gives its place to a relaxing AOR tempo in Eyes on fire and a catchy (almost cheesy) refrain again that flows pleasantly with the next track that remains in the same vein, with the characteristic bass line and the charming soloing of saxophone.

The middle part of the album is highlighted by three powerful compositions: Veins is dominated by a relatively speedy tempo and an uplifting electric guitar riff accompanied by dynamic keyboards throughout the whole song. The guitar solo, possibly the best on the whole album, just adds to the quality. A gloomy, dark atmosphere is introduced in the Shadow of California, enhanced by the metallised vocals and multiple haunting voices in the refrain - the verse ''Into the darkness'' is repeated during the song over varying guitar riffs. An ''a la Scorpions'' riff kicks off in Feel the Thunder, turning the track into a BOC classic. The atmosphere remains, the vocals follow the ''recipe'' of the previous track, producing a majestic track in the vein of the classic BOC compositions.

Let go takes a completely different approach. An almost rock'n'roll track with a nearly ridiculous refrain... Possibly the least interesting track thus far; however it sounds as a pleasant change. The tempo has already picked up at this point and Dragon lady continues at a similar pace, with a rock'n'roll approach but in a far more melodic tone than its predecessor. Light years of love completely drops the pace to conclude the album. Although the vocal performance is at high standards, this last composition is probably the weakest - the lack of nerve in this track ruins the atmosphere despite the fact that the acoustic guitar adds some beauty.

Clearly a pleasant rocking album, REVOLUTION BY NIGHT although heavily influenced by AOR, still maintains the high standards of BOC songwriting... It just does it in a more melodic way...

Not recommended for hardcore prog fans; prog-related and classic rock fans might feel the thunder...

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Send comments to aapatsos (BETA) | Report this review (#212615)
Posted Monday, April 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I have rated most of the Cult albums with three stars so far. Here and there some exceptions (four or two stars as well).

I have to say that this one does not really belong to the greatest ones of the band: it features basic heavy rock tunes like the opener (''Take Me Away''), some dreadful AOR ones, but it was the mood of the day (''Eyes On Fire'').

The worst of all is probably the long ''Shooting Shark'': a dreadful voyage into the disco world. Even if some rock guitar does its job, it is a awful piece of music. Shame on you BÖC! Still, the best is to come and most of the remaining songs are quite all right here. Some short pop/rock pieces are doing their job (''Veins''), and even it isn't a chef-d'oeuvre it is still a good song.

The hard rocking ''Shadow Of California'' is probably one of the best track available: somewhat disjointed and pleasantly heavy. At last, we get a true BÖC song. The highlight IMO.

Fortunately, the band did not forget to rock in the second half of the album: ''Feel The Thunder'' is another of the good tracks featured here (but I agree, there weren't that many). The whole potential of the band can be remarked and it is a very good bridge for the next ''Let Go'' which is a pure rock song. Entertaining, I would say.

It is a pity that this album opens on such average tracks: it could have deserved a better rating if only all songs would have been of the calibre of the tunes starting from ''Veins''.

This heavy-pop rock atmosphere is pretty catchy while listening to '' Dragon Lady''. My fave from this ''Revolution By Night''. A great mix of guitar pleasure, great beat and catchy melody.

At the end of the day, this is not bad an album even if the closing track is best avoided.

I will upgrade this album to three stars (but five out of ten would more honest).

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#215229)
Posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars This will be my 8th review for a BOC album. Revolution By NIght is very much a product of it's times- the 1980's. Sometimes poppy, sometimes hard, this release doesn't really seem to know what it is trying to do. The "hit" Take Me Away starts the album out with some good arena rocking sing-along lyrics. The next track to really grip me is "Shooting Shark". Is it disco- Cult? I have no idea, but it IS infectious and grooves along nicely, if a little longly. "Veins" is annoying synth 80's rock and I skip it every time. After this, the only highlights I can find are "Feel the Thunder" and "Shadow of California". They are both typical hard-rockin' guitar riffin' BOC monsters with what I believe are biker themes. Nothing special but not bad, at least. I feel the weakest track is "Let Go" which is just repititive and dull. Nothing here is in the top tier of BOC in my opinion. It falls somewhere down at the level of Club Ninja and Heaven Forbid, both NOT classic Blue Oyster Cult. 2 stars.

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Send comments to mohaveman (BETA) | Report this review (#283583)
Posted Wednesday, May 26, 2010 | Review Permalink

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