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Blue Öyster Cult Spectres album cover
3.39 | 174 ratings | 19 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Godzilla (3:42)
2. Golden Age Of Leather (5:52)
3. Death Valley Nights (4:08)
4. Searchin' For Celine (3:36)
5. Fireworks (3:11)
6. R.U. Ready 2 Rock (3:45)
7. Celestial The Queen (3:26)
8. Goin' Through The Motions (3:12)
9. I Love The Night (4:23)
10. Nosferatu (5:21)

Total time 40:36

Bonus tracks on Sony remaster (2007):
11. Night Flyer (Outtake) (3:48)
12. M For Murder (Outtake) (3:11)
13. Please Hold (Outtake) (2:47)
14. Be My Baby (The Ronettes cover) (Outtake) (3:01)

Line-up / Musicians

- Eric Bloom / lead vocals (4,6,8,12,14), guitar
- Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser / lead & rhythm guitars, lead vocals (1,2,9,11)
- Allen Lanier / keyboards, guitar, lead vocals (13)
- Joseph Bouchard / bass, guitar, lead vocals (7,10)
- Albert Bouchard / drums, harmonica, lead vocals (3,5)

- Newark Boys Choir / chorus vocals (2)

Releases information

Artwork: Roni Hoffman with Eric Meola (photo)

LP Columbia ‎- JC 35019 (1977, US)

CD Columbia ‎- CK 35019 (1987, US)
CD Columbia ‎- 82796964082 (2007, US) Remaster by Vic Anesini w/ 4 prev. unreleased bonus tracks

Thanks to andrea cortese for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Spectres Music

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Spectres ratings distribution

(174 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (39%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Spectres reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by thellama73
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars After their commercial breakthrough, Agents of Fortune, BÖC decide to stick with the same formula, leaning away from their heavy metal roots and towards pop. The results are, I suppose, predictable. What we have here is Agents of Fortune part 2, with few significant differences from its predecessor. Once again we have a major radio hit, the (admittedly fantastic) album opener Godzilla. But after that, the album just falls apart. The Golden Age of Leather? Searchin' For Celine? R U Ready 2 Rock? All forgettable nonsense. I Love The Night is rather a nice little tale of morbidity, and Fireworks is kinda cool, but I find it taxing to listen to the whole album at a stretch. Only recommended if you liked Agents of Fortune a lot.
Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "History shows again and again how nature points up the folly of man!"

2nd quote: "The Golden Age of Leather may well be over, but the Golden Age of the Blue Öyster Cult is just beginning. They're as beautiful as a foot"  - Richard Riegel, Creem

With their fifth studio album to date, Blue Oyster Cult follow the footsteps of their top selling record Agents of Fortunes. Their so called "black and white period" is definitely gone but some sparkling moments are still here, together with the more commercial rock vein upon which all the ten tracks are builded up.

That's obviously the case of the funny opener "Godzilla" (penned by guitarist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser) and for the Lanier's tune "Searchin' for Celine" that reminds me, a little, of "True Confessions" featured in the previous album. On the other hand other songs are particularly interesting even though without the grandeur of their classic repertoire. The mighty "The Golden Age of Leather" and the fantastic "spectral" closer number by Joe Bouchard titled "Nosferatu". Two great tracks in the best Cult tradition. Other highlights are the soft "nocturnal" "I Love the Night" and "Fireworks". Worthy of special mention "Going Through the Motions" co-written by Eric Bloom and ex Mott the Hoople Ian Hunter.

Not enough to make of this album a beauty for prog listeners but a must have for fans like me who generally describe this work as one of their best at all.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After a huge commercial success it's hard to not stay commercial.

While definately not the same caliber of their former work the BOC are still a capable sounding band with this release. However, this is a softer sounding album, definately less heavy and more produced. The result is mixed, leaving some very good material mixed in with some more or less average tracks. In the end it's the slower, more thought out tracks that dominate the record, but others are worth mentioning as well.

The album starts out on a good note, GODZILLA is a good grinding track with a nice heavy riff. Moving on we get to the very well done GOLDEN AGE OF LEATHER, which, in all honesty, would be a better song without that horrendous intro. Anyways, it's a song with good progression and a nice instrumental breakdown. Next on the dockett is one of the album standouts, the haunting DEATH VALLY NIGHTS, which is a great track, a bit on the slow side, but after a few listens you can definately get into it. The next track worth mentioning is the all-too-short FIREWORKS, showcasing some exceptional vocals. Afterwords we come to the definately commercial R. U. READY 2 ROCK, which, besides annoying me by spelling the name like that, is a decent track, with no real high or low points. A couple more tracks pass that sound like the band is simply going through the motions until we reach the next standout, the exceptional I LOVE THE NIGHT. This is easily the best song on the album characterized by everything that made DEATH VALLEY... good, but, well, better.

When it comes right down to it this may have been where the BOC started their decline, but it is still a good album worth listening to, but definately not their best. 3 Stars, good, but not essential.

Review by rogerthat
4 stars Well, when you are on a prog-related page and reviewing an album made by a hard rock band in the peak of their commercial success, you ought to know it won't be too proggy. :P So, if you approach this album with reasonable expectations, you will be pleasantly surprised for there is very strong material on here. As paolo noted, this is actually better than Agents of Fortune as here, the transition to a softer and more accessible sound is complete and the band sounds more assured.

The result is THE alltime best Blue Oyster Cult song - I love the night, better than even Astronomy, I say. Yes, it's a very radio-friendly ballad, but I am sure many highly revered prog exponents would love to have written such a simple but haunting creation of music. What's more, it is sandwiched between the other two best tracks of the album - Going through the motions and Nosferatu. Top this off with the radio hit Godzilla and Death Valley Nights, you really have some of the Cult's best material on a platter.

Unfortunately, Spectres is a flawed masterpiece and where it falters is in losing momentum from Searching for Celine through to Celestial the Queen. This clutch of four tracks is merely decent and does nothing to keep you interested. And, the golden rule of mainstream rock, never load all your best material at the front or the back, which is precisely what BOC end up doing here, leaving the middle rather thin and unsatisfying. Another thing I must note is the vocals are frequently weak, even going offkey repeatedly, in this album, which is surprising, considering how strongly I Love the night is rendered.

All in all, if you don't exactly expect Abbey Road to sound like Brain Salad Surgery, this should be just fine...very accessible, very much rock-based, but still very good.


Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Much in the same vein as its predecessor, "Agents of Fortune", "Spectres" is however a much more consistent album in terms of songwriting. Though most of the compositions here could be superficially classed as AOR, they are solid, well-played tunes which will often stick in your mind for a long time. As other reviewers have already pointed out, the prog quotient is somewhat scarce, while the dictates of radio appeal seem to prevail. On the other hand, the songs possess for the most part a kind of sophistication that makes them interesting, even if not as challenging as, for instance, "7 Screamin' Dizbusters" or "Astronomy".

Though BOC can (and do) rock hard, they can also do melody as well as more celebrated bands. This is a constant of their output - the finely-crafted balance between melody, accessibility and full-on aggression. I find that particularly evident on "Spectres" - with the 'harder' side represented by two very different songs such as the fittingly crushing mid-tempo of opener "Godzilla", or the catchy, fast-paced "R U Ready to Rock?"; and the softer side by wistful, autumnal tracks such as "Fireworks" or "I Love the Night". The more radio-friendly direction taken by the band is instead embodied by pleasant, but ultimately forgettable songs like "Goin' Through the Motions" (co-written with legendary British songwriter Ian Hunter, formerly of Mott the Hoople), or "Death Valley Nights". However, it must also be said that BOC's take on AOR is quite unlike that of other, well-known US bands. Even when their songs are definitely easy on the ear, they always have a certain elegance about them that rescues them from descending into cheesiness.

The album's true highlights are to be found in two rather different compositions. "The Golden Age of Leather", an epic biker tale of heroism and death, boasts a very distinctive structure - a solemn, anthemic, a cappella introduction, followed by a series of time signature shifts culminating in a beautiful, haunting chorus. Album closer "Nosferatu" is instead a slow, dark, nocturnal tune, featuring that old mainstay of progressive rock, the mighty Mellotron.

As I have also stated in my "Agents of Fortune" review, there is little or no connection to prog to be found in this album - which doesn't mean it cannot be enjoyed by prog fans, especially if they keep their minds (and ears) open. Though "Spectres" is no masterpiece, it does have more than its share of good points, and is definitely a more cohesive effort than its predecessor. It is also a very pleasant listen for those days when 20-minute-long epics simply won't do. A solid 3.5 stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars Little by little, the quality of the BÖC albums is decreasing: from a peak with ''Secret Treaties'', the drop was obvious with ''Agent Of Fortune'' but not in terms of sales which probably led the band to some sort of willingness to re-create a copy of their previous album.

The overall mood is at times AOR-ish and can't move me at all (''Godzilla''). Fortunately, some very good hard-rocking tunes are also available: my fave from this work is by no doubt ''Golden Age Of Leather''. Although it holds all the archetypes and clichés of the genres, it is a very pleasant upbeat rock song with some fine vocals and a strong rhythmic all the way through.

The band is much more pop oriented and quieter now which sounds as an heresy in ''77 (''Fireworks', ''Goin' Through The Motions'' the poorest track from this offering IMO). They could have gone wilder and crazier instead, but they decided to head for another direction. Too bad.This leads to a rock ballad in the vein of ''Death Valley Nights''. It sounds as an average Alice Cooper tune.

But this is still OK though when compared to the funky ''Searchin' For Celine'' which is not at all my cup of tea. The New York Dolls oriented ''R.U. Ready 2 Rock'' is a funny and good old rocking track, which is fine after such a poor number.

There aren't no real great songs to be found here. Not too many blunders either would you say (although ''Celestial Queen'' does belong to this description as far as I'm concerned). But was this really what was expected from the band: a middle of the road rock album? I guess not. This album is fully radio formatted with most of the songs clocking under four minutes and the syrupy ballad ''I Love The Night'' is not truly thrilling to say the least.

I don't like this album very much to be honest. Too soft, too average to be worth more than two stars in my ranking.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars After the mega sales of AOF, BOC did not resist to copy the formula, daring to improve on it slightly. If the previous album had a killer track that sold millions, Spectres duplicates the success with the monstrous (pun intended even if it is too easy) Godzilla, which really stands out as pure pop/rock gem, and is a much more understandable success than reaper was. But it is not all; indeed most of the tracks are simply of a better calibre than the previous effort, even if the whole thing does bear an almost-AOR-ish feel, compared to their earlier albums.

So, outside the opening Godzilla, the album continues with the excellent and complex Leather & Bike anthem of Golden Age, a track that has Judas Priest's Rob Halford drooling all over himself. Not of the same acabit, the hard-rocking Death Valley Nights is the last good song on the first side of Spectres, because after this come two softer songs which give the album its AOR aura: the funky Celine and the Calmer fireworks are just average, limit fillers.

Opening the flipside is one of the cheesiest and shameful attempts at writing a hit: R.U. Ready 2 Rock is not only all too evident and predictable (and a tad effective too), but it came quickly to open most concerts from that moment onwards. It's funny how some tracks should change names, especially when they're the filler-type, the catastrophically-named Going Through The Motions is probably the weaker track of the album. The fact that this song is sandwiched by two average tracks, the unremarkable Celestial Queen and the sleep-inducing Love The Night doesn't help either, but the album ends on a strong, dark, mellotron-filled Nosferatu track

Although most purists would tell you that Spectres is part of the wrong trilogy (the later-70's), I personally have a bit of a weak spot for it, especially when pitted against Agents or the lacklustre (pun intended) and upcoming Mirrors. Four strong songs and a b bunch average tracks, but no duds?. Even if I haven'r heard the bonus tracks of the latest reissue. I like Spectres enough to round it up to the upper star.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Even though this album is very polished and not what you would call a prog masterpiece, I have to agree with a lot of other reviewers that it is one of my favorite BOC albums that in it's highpoints, has really stood the test of time quite well. So, I'm tempted to rate it high since I love this album, but that is because of the personal preference and not as it's contribution to Progressive rock. But I will refrain by keeping my personal feelings in the review and not in the rating. Yes there are some great prog highlights included in the album, so it's not a total wash out if you are looking for some great essential songs, but the album as a whole is more radio friendly, which usually turns me away from an album, but not this one. The prog highlights here are "Golden Age of Leather" and "Nosferatu".

I just want to make it clear that I still do love this album. The opener is the appropriate "Godzilla" which is the single that everyone loves. Next is "Golden Age of Leather", which is a great prog song with changing tempos, time signatures and it doesn't seem as forced as the prog songs they tried to create in the album "Mirrors". "Death Valley Nights" is the next track and is one of my favorite BOC tracks. I can't tell you why I love this song so much, but it always sticks in my head and not in some obnoxious way, its one of those songs that you like having in your head. "Searching for Celine" has a great instrumental break. The next four songs are kind of similar, with a few interesting parts in them, but nothing spectacular to set them apart much. Just enjoyable songs mostly. "I Love the Night" is another favorite of mine and it is a beautiful ballad which I feel would have done great on the radio, but it's probably good that it wasn't a single since it would have been worn out by now from being overplayed. "Nosferatu" is yet another BOC fav of mine, and the very appropriate closer for the album. "Only a woman can break his spell/Pure in heart who will offer herself to Nosferatu". Great song with excellent instrumentals.

Again, great album, just not as progressive as their earlier ones. In reality, I would create another rating just for this album of 3.5 stars with "EXCELLENT addition to any ROCK collection" as the description. Great stuff I must say. I will round that up to 4 stars since there are some great progressive moments worth listening to here.

Review by Warthur
4 stars When Blue Oyster Cult included a song entitled Going Through The Motions on this album, you could see it as being a bit of a ballsy move. Spectres, if you come to it looking for the sort of esoteric, dark proto-metal that Blue Oyster Cult made their name with in their early days, will come across as an unappealing collection of pop metal nonsense and soft rock schmaltz.

Not that pop metal or soft rock are necessarily a bad thing, mind - and as it turns out, Blue Oyster Cult aren't too bad at it. Essentially doubling down on the poppier aspects of Agents of Fortune, at its dumbest the album is simply goofy fun (Godzilla), but on the other hand as the title implies the band haven't quite abandoned their brains altogether.

Review by Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Spectres is one of those albums that commences and ends in such a strong manner, but whoa there's some problems in the middle. Sort of like an undercooked burger, lookin' good and flavorful on the outside, but that pink core that reveals itself once you bite into it can make you sick if the cows weren't in stellar health. With their last album being quite a success, B.O.C. continued to fiddle around with genres while staying true to the rock attitude, but unlike their prior releases which had an average of one or two duds tops, for my ears Spectres drops at least a few butt-burritos.

"Godzilla" and "The Golden Age of Leather" provides a knock-out one-two opening punch. That Godzilla riff man, what a doozy! Catchy and fun as well, combining the monstrous themes and heavy riffing with a partytime chorus, this is what I'd call really killer camp. "The Golden Age of Leather" boasts some epic dynamic and tempo shifts while keeping the BOC biker mystique afloat, bolstered with some fluid guitar melodies over the driving rhythm section.

If the first two songs provide the rock and the leather, the last two tracks bring about the atmosphere and the creepiness with the same level of vigor. "I Love The Night", a love ode to a female vampire back when vampires were considered scary and bad news instead of misunderstood and sparkly, is a gorgeous haunting ballad. It amazes me that Buck wasn't singing more tunes per album at this point since that guy is golden...not the powerhouse of Eric Bloom, but his voice was made for hits, as "...Reaper" and "Burnin' For You" can attest. Anyways, Buck really shines here, and I rank this among the band's most effective songs in their career. Glorious. "Nosferatu" follows, keeping the vampire theme at full-stride with a nice blend of heavy rock and lush ambiance bearing a gothic nature. Another mini-epic, it's a gloomy yet punchy closer featuring some sweet keyboard chops.

Things are going to get dicey now. The production was okay, but lacked some of that Agents-style sharpness and I swear some of the songs sound a bit rushed. "Searching for Celine" is like this funky roller coaster on the verge of crumbling, the band sounding under duress trying to stay in time with each other. Only Bloom's vocal prowess and the unusual 'stalker' lyrics keep this from a total crash and burn. And maybe the guitar solo...Dharma's the man. I'll give "Death Valley Nights" credit as it sounds like the 'hangover song' to end hangover songs, right down to the drunken warbly vocals, but man give that song to Buck and it would have been far better. I first heard "R.U. Ready 2 Rock" on their live album Some Enchanted Evening, and maybe it's because I'm used to that live version, but the studio version here doesn't match up without the crowd noise and added meat to the guitars. "Goin' Through the Motions" is pure silly pop, but I'll give props to Bloom showcasing his sizable vocal range. The other two tracks, "Fireworks" and "Celestial the Queen", are real rough going. They actually bring pain to my chest when I hear them. They aren't openly terrible songs, but I find their attempts at a bigtime chorus yield horribly limp results and I want to bend over and wretch like the narrator of "Death Valley Nights".

The good still outweighs the bad by a fair amount, with the opening two and closing two songs being particularly ace, and rather necessary for anyone interested in exploring B.O.C. regardless of how prog-related or not prog- related they were at this junction known as Spectres. Who really cares anyhow?

Latest members reviews

3 stars Godzilla is a trademark song full of catchy riffs and easily readable note, far from the usual complexity of BOC. Fortunately, not too much is sacrificed to give away this radio-friendly song. Guys have matured significantly with their vocal harmonies and that is one of the highlights. I prefer ... (read more)

Report this review (#2403876) | Posted by sgtpepper | Wednesday, May 20, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Spectres is the richest and most atmospheric album made by Blue Oyster Cult, and my personal favorite by them. I've followed this band for most of my life---I've seen them in concert twenty-one times, including what turned out to be the final reunion of all five original members--and never have all ... (read more)

Report this review (#1067009) | Posted by Zahler | Saturday, October 26, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have seen some low ratings for this album and I just don't get why. I consider this to be the pinnacle of the career of Blue Oyster Cult. Everything is here- great riffs, solid musicianship, screaming solos, spacey lyrics, vampires, and a big Japenese lizard. What more can you ask for out of ... (read more)

Report this review (#273569) | Posted by mohaveman | Monday, March 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 'Spectres' has long been one of my favorite Blue Oyster Cult albums. It's a notch below 'Secret Treaties' in terms of consistent quality and heavy progressiveness... but it's much deeper and more cohesive than it's pale and thin predecessor 'Agents of Fortune'. The haunting and surreal album co ... (read more)

Report this review (#208134) | Posted by AdamHearst | Sunday, March 22, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After the large sales of AOF BOC launches another good album SPECTRES; similar to AOF, but with a darker style, ghostly, mystical, making this album somewhat authentic in the sense of composition in music. Godzilla Become quickly along with the reaper the popular songs in the band, but beyond the so ... (read more)

Report this review (#196925) | Posted by JgX 5 | Friday, January 2, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Another rare member of the Spectres fan club here, probably my most played BOC album. I prefer this to their 'black and white' albums which have some great material but suffer from a rather thin and tinny-sounding production. Spectres has more of an AOR sheen than earlier efforts, but is a long ... (read more)

Report this review (#160279) | Posted by Drachen Theaker | Thursday, January 31, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I feelts i hade to write a rewieve to suport this album that i like very much seeing how low the rating is. This might be my second favorite BÖC album after Agents of fortunes, yes i am well awere of the 3 black and white period albums and they are all great, but i somehow prefere thise 2 album ... (read more)

Report this review (#160277) | Posted by Zargus | Thursday, January 31, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars BOC was a great band that never truly lived up to its potential. This album is the best example of that. Growing up, this album seemed to always be on my turntable, but returning to it many years later, I find it to be a mixed bag. Showcasing some of their strengths , 'Spectres' seldom lives up to ... (read more)

Report this review (#130549) | Posted by DantesRing | Saturday, July 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Here comes the same old problem with the "prog related" entries. Everybody expects to listen to prog, and a very good rocking album (like this one) ends up being much underrated because it doesn't sound like that. The Blue Oyster Cult are normally protagonist in heavy metal sites and forums, wid ... (read more)

Report this review (#129361) | Posted by paolo.beenees | Friday, July 20, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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