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BLUE ÖYSTER CULT

Prog Related • United States


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Blue Öyster Cult biography
Hailing from NYC, the members of the band that was to become BLUE ÖYSTER CULT (BÖC for short) began to come together in the late 1960s, as a band called "Soft White Underbelly"; then changed into "Stalk-Forrest Group" in 1968. The name BLUE ÖYSTER CULT probably came from a 1960s poem written by manager Sandy Pearlman, though there are different versions of the story. It was part of his poetry, later used more extensively in their 1988 album "Imaginos". In Pearlman's poetry, the "Blue Oyster Cult" was a collection of aliens who had to secretly guide Earth's history. The addition of the umlaut above the vocal "o" was suggested by either Allen Lanier or Richard Meltzer. Other bands, such as Motörhead and Queensr˙che, later copied the practice of using umlauts or diacritic marks in their own band logos. The band's logo is the alchemical symbol for lead, one of the heaviest of metals. Pearlman considered this, combined with the heavy and distorted guitar sound of the band and coined the description "heavy metal" to describe BLUE ÖYSTER CULT's music.

Nicknamed 'the American Black Sabbath', or 'the thinking man's hard rock band' BÖC released their self-titled debut album in 1972. Its striking black-and-white cover prominently featured the now famous hook & cross symbol which the band adopted as their logo, and one of their most famous tracks to date, "Cities on Flame (With Rock and Roll)". Their second album, "Tyranny and Mutation", was built on the first album's basis, but moved towards harder (The Black side) and richer sounds (The Red side). After that, the band aimed to make an album with more emotional impact for their third outing. When "Secret Treaties" was released in 1974, it gained critical acclaim, and it's still now by many considered their "proggiest" effort of the Seventies, with such songs as "Astronomy" and "Flaming Telepaths". The lyrics to "Career of Evil" were written by punk icon Patti Smith, whose collaboration with the band lasted several years, since she was the girlfriend of keyboardist Allen Lanier.

Then came "Agents of Fortune" (their first gold record) that contained their most famous track ever, "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", which reached #12 on the US Billboard charts. For its follow-up, "Spectres", the band tried to come up with an even better record; however, for a lot of hardcore fans "Agents." was too "soft", and "Spectres" was even softer! Others, though, found the diversity of thesongwriting on "Spectres" a pleasant...
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BLUE ÖYSTER CULT shows & tickets


  • Bachman & Turner + Blue Öyster Cult + Foghat at celeste center, Columbus on 26 Jul 2014
  • Marina Del Rey Summer Concert Series on 2 Aug 2014
  • Deep Purple + Blue Öyster Cult at The Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa on 6 Aug 2014
  • Blue Öyster Cult on 16 Aug 2014
  • Hard Rock Hell VIII on 13 Nov 2014

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.28 | 110 ratings
Blue Öyster Cult
1972
3.37 | 106 ratings
Tyranny And Mutation
1973
4.18 | 150 ratings
Secret Treaties
1974
2.93 | 114 ratings
Agents of Fortune
1976
3.14 | 78 ratings
Spectres
1977
2.24 | 61 ratings
Mirrors
1979
3.35 | 83 ratings
Cultösaurus Erectus
1980
3.51 | 90 ratings
Fire Of Unknown Origin
1981
3.02 | 48 ratings
The Revölution by Night
1983
2.28 | 38 ratings
Club Ninja
1986
3.73 | 63 ratings
Imaginos
1988
2.68 | 40 ratings
Heaven Forbid
1998
2.94 | 37 ratings
Curse of the Hidden Mirror
2001

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.96 | 48 ratings
On Your Feet Or On Your Knees
1975
3.31 | 40 ratings
Some Enchanted Evening
1978
4.03 | 38 ratings
Extraterrestrial Live
1982
2.75 | 8 ratings
Live 1976
1991
3.53 | 14 ratings
A Long Day's Night
2002
3.20 | 5 ratings
Extended Versions
2004

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.23 | 4 ratings
Career Of Evil: The Metal Years
1990
3.08 | 12 ratings
Cult Classic
1994
3.51 | 9 ratings
Workshop of the Telescopes
1995
3.96 | 4 ratings
Don't Fear the Reaper
1997
4.19 | 12 ratings
Don't Fear the Reaper: The Best of Blue Öyster Cult
2000
3.33 | 3 ratings
Are You Ready To Rock?
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles Collection
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
Collections
2006
3.00 | 2 ratings
Triple Feature
2009
4.04 | 4 ratings
The Columbia Albums Collection
2012

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mirrors by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.24 | 61 ratings

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Mirrors
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by betawave31

3 stars Well will start by saying I recently acquired the BOC box set and its introduced me to old and later recording I was not familiar with. Having grown up listening to Spectres, Fire of Unknown Origin, Revolution By Night etc some of the older earlier recordings didnt move me and being a victim of 80s rock I tend to lean to a more polished sound. That out of the way I do not think Mirrors is their worst outing regardless of Sandy Pearlman not being involved its still worthy of the BOC catalog for 2 tracks In Thee and The Vigil which are strong both compositionally and musicianship wise. The engineering is cleaner, the stereo field is being used a bit more and I like the fact the keyboards come thru a little more in the mixes(I am impartial to keyboards hence the bias). Like all BOC I find there are tracks that are weaker than others and its rare I find ANY BOC albums consistent in the overall atmosphere and musical feel. I am not a fan of that pseudo 60s sound that they sometimes draw into there music and tend to feel they should stick to the hard rock with prog influences more than submitting themselves to "that" 60s sound. The funky clavinet line in Lonely Tears is actually refreshing regardless of the Stevie Wonder comparison. Overall this album is "different" and has some very nice tracks at least half of them are decent. Different isnt always indication of bad music after-all a band must take chances and stretching their sound albeit might not bring them a hit single but for some of us it shows the creative elasticity from within.

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 Heaven Forbid by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.68 | 40 ratings

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Heaven Forbid
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by Jzrk

3 stars I see many reviews here not thinking this was a good comeback album after 9 or 10 years off. I would disagree.This album has something about it that keeps me making the occasional listen many years after I bought it.I think the songs are good enough.Iwould have preferred a trip back to the early days,but this one has enough to satisfy the Cult fan in me.Had a track Like Godzilla or Burning For You been on this it probably would have had sold a lot.It has some shades of early BOC such as Hammer Down,I See You In Black,Damaged(love this track). Other tracks I really like but maybe a bit more radio friendly are Harvest Moon ,Cold Grey Light of Dawn,Still Burnin. Power Underneath Despair is ok.The remake In Thee is decent enough.X Ray Eyes and Live For Me are so so. Overall not a waste of money if you are a Cult fan is my best way if putting it.If you are looking for prog go elsewhere.I f you like some catchy rock tunes you could do a lot worse these days.It is a very classic rock album .

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 Spectres by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.14 | 78 ratings

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Spectres
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Review by Zahler

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 of the singers and songwriters in and connected to this band constructed more fantastical worlds than those found on Spectres.

The LP is not as heavy as their straighter, more obviously heavy metal albums (Fire of Unknown Origin and Cultosaurus Erectus), nor as quirky and off kilter as the first three releases, but I find it to be their grandest, saddest and most rewarding effort. Although some feel it is simply a commercial followup to Agents of Fortune, I find it to be superior in all departments and hugely cinematic.

In terms of progressive songwriting, The Golden Age of Leather is a marvel of instrumentation that drives through various landscapes of twin guitar harmonies, funky bass lines, plaintive leads, and rich the harmony vocals (one of the top strengths of this band). This tune compares structurally to Before the Kiss, A Redcap (from their debut), but has far, far better core ideas and is more haunting. Certainly one of their most adventurous songs ever. Fireworks, Celestial the Queen, and Death Valley Nights are three of the finest examples of harmony vocals in rock--on these tunes Blue Oyster Cult the rock band performs a bit more like BOC the studio consortium, bringing to mind tunes like The Raven by Alan Parsons Project or Dark Side of the Moon. These three BOC cuts are all gorgeous chorus tapestries.

Certainly, one can draw comparisons between the I Love the Night and Don't Fear the Reaper, but I've always preferred I Love the Night, which is more ethereal and haunting musically, if not lyrically, and has more tasty lead guitar by Buck Dharma, my favorite guitarist ever. (See his solo in the live version of Veterans of the Psychic Wars to see why...) And then there's Nosferatu--a haunting and forlorn masterwork that concludes the album with one of the two best songs ever recorded by the band. (The other is Astronomy.)

Unlike Secret Treaties, the debut, and Fire of Unknown Origin, Spectres did not grab me initially, when I first heard it as a kid. But--much like their similarly rich Imaginos album--Spectres reveals itself to those who spend time with it-- it is incredibly colorful tapestry of gothic, lonely, and obscure worlds.

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 The Columbia Albums Collection by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
4.04 | 4 ratings

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The Columbia Albums Collection
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Superb value

Box sets are not for everyone, but when they hit you at the right time they can be fantastic. This one hit me at the perfect time. I have not owned BOC albums since the vinyl/cassette days and was about to begin buying some individual albums on CD. I noticed this box, which sports their entire Columbia output (from their debut through Imaginos) in one convenient and low price box. With some tasty extra goodies. So the timing was perfect. If you were just thinking of exploring BOC and don't own too much, this is one awesome way to get the show shebang for a cool price.

This is not a "frills" box set so much, rather, it concentrates on the music and value. Every album up through Imaginos is included, many which are expanded editions with bonus tracks, and most with brand new 2012 remaster jobs. Each CD comes in its own mini-lp style sleeve, albeit pretty low budget ones, nothing fancy. These are held by the practical sized box, CD sized, so it can fit right on your CD shelves. None of that oversized BS that takes up tons of room, nor lame digi-pak style holders or tight slip sleeves. Practical and smart, though slightly low budget to keep the price reasonable. And this is not just the studio stuff, it also includes their three live albums from this period as well.

Goodies includes two discs of previously unreleased material, one a "rarities disc" and the other a collection of radio performances. "Some Enchanted Evening" gives you not only the album but also a live DVD concert. The sound is pretty weak to be honest but it is still fun to watch for fans. The booklet is OK although certainly not the reason to purchase this...it gives you detailed track lists and credit, a short Lenny Kaye commentary, and some photos-pretty mediocre. The last goodie is the bonus coupon with a code that allows you a free download of four different BOC shows, one each from the years 1980, 1981, 1983, and 1986. I have not listened to these yet but these look great.

If you already have decent sounding editions of the albums you love, you probably don't need this. But if you don't have much this is a super way to instantly own good sounding editions of all of their classic albums for one fair price. I've really enjoyed reacquainting with this band I haven't listened to much since I saw them last, 30 years ago!

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 Secret Treaties by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.18 | 150 ratings

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Secret Treaties
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Tyranny And Mutation by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.37 | 106 ratings

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Tyranny And Mutation
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by Progosopher

2 stars The 1277 express . . . will burn your eyes out, but it's all right.

Tyranny and Mutation, the Black and the Red sides of the original vinyl might as well also be known as the Good side and the Bad side. The album gets off to a great start with The Red and the Black, a barn-burner if I've ever heard one, but hits its first snag with the next track, O.D.'d On Life Itself. It's an okay track, and has some good changes, but the basic rock n roll structure is always apparent. Now, I like basic rock n roll, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Little Richard are great and all that, but this is not what I want to hear from B.O.C. Hot Rails to Hell brings the music back up to par, and is followed by the great 7 Screaming Diz-Busters. So far so good. The Red side, however, is almost completely different. For sure, it is still clearly B.O.C. but the songs are so much lesser than the other. Putting the Good side up first may be a good marketing decision, but as a critical listener, I cannot help but be disappointed by the Bad side which comes next. I do not even want to name the songs since I almost never listen to them.

The bonus tracks redeem the CD version I have to some extent, but when this happens, it does not bode well for the original release. Of the four, two are live versions of tracks from the original album, something I wish the labels and bands would stop doing. I already heard the song once, I don't need to hear it again. These include my least favorite track from Side Good, O.D.'d and a sprawling 14 minute version of 7 Screaming Dizbusters, which I sometimes program to listen to rather than the studio version. In fact, one of the highlights of the whole package comes here when Eric Bloom describes his encounter with the devil who gets him to sign his NAME IN BLOOD so the band can become popular like Jeff Beck and Elvis Presley. A live version of Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll also appears. The performance is good, but the sound isn't, which is to be expected since such recordings were never meant for release but just for the band to document their live concerts. Here, it is just meant to fill space. The real highlight of the bonus tracks, though, is the original studio version of Buck's Boogie, a track familiar to fans who caught their live shows back in the day and those who have the official live release, On Your Feet or On Your Knees, and album I much prefer over Tyranny and Mutation. This studio version is great. I appreciate the way that it is not just an opportunity for Buck Dharma to rip licks, but that the piece requires serious performances by the whole band.

This album has its positive aspects. The sound is crisp and clean, if a little flat, while the band is still hungry for success. When they rock, they really rock. Eric Bloom's vocals dominate the recording and Buck Dharma provides some excellent lead guitar. Alan Lanier even gets some spotlight with his keyboards. Overall, the band sounds good, it is just that I wish the material was more consistent. So, we have three great B.O.C. classics, and a studio version of a concert favorite. This still comes out to the length of a single vinyl side ? actually less than twenty minutes But all of these tracks are found on the above mentioned official live release which also features a richer sound than the studio recordings here. As such, I cannot recommend Tyranny and Mutation very highly, but I will nominate it for best album title ever.

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 Agents of Fortune by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.93 | 114 ratings

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Agents of Fortune
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars As an album, Agents of Fortune is a shoddy thing, with half of the tracks exuding rock and roll clichéd cheese. On the other hand, it contains some of Blue Oyster Cult's greatest songs. It's a mixed bag.

"This Ain't the Summer of Love" The opening jingle moves from horror rock over a thudding beat in Billy Idol style to barrelhouse boogie.

"True Confessions" The second song moves into corny countrified whiny rock that folks like David Bowie dabbled in.

"(Don't Fear) the Reaper" A radio staple, Blue Oyster Cult's flagship song has Donald Roeser's calm presence on lead vocals. The haunting interlude disrupts the flow of the piece but adds a layer of horror needed in an otherwise beautiful rock song about death. The mournful lead guitar motif at the end is stellar.

"E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)" This has always been one of my favorite Blue Oyster Cult songs. It has a remarkable riff on par with the greatest guitar riffs in rock history, excellent vocal contrasts between the verse and chorus, wonderful harmonies, and a bitching guitar solo. I much prefer the rerecorded version on Cult Classic, however, as it's much harder and cleaner.

"The Revenge of Vera Gemini" Yet another dark rocker, this fifth track adds the shadowy vocals of punk singer Patti Smith and boasts a sinister organ.

"Sinful Love" This gritty rock number has a sizzling guitar solo (perhaps one of Buck's best).

"Tattoo Vampire" Up next is a terse rock and roll bit of bombast. There is a Halloween-like feel to the music, and for some reason I'm reminded of the hokey nature of "Monster Mash."

"Morning Final" "Morning Final" returns to the phantasmal side with Roeser at the microphone, symphonic verses, and jazzy interludes.

"Tenderloin" Despite the meaty title, this song retains an ethereal nature with dazzling keyboard and guitar.

"Debbie Denise" Very different from the rest of the album, this twelve-string acoustic-based closer features light vocals and a synthesizer that sounds remarkably like a Mellotron.

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 On Your Feet Or On Your Knees by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Live, 1975
3.96 | 48 ratings

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On Your Feet Or On Your Knees
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

5 stars "I'd like to thank my friends here who gave me this little whip, It's really lovely, I'll keep it and cherish it forever..."

"On Your Feet Or On Your Knees" is another of the all time greatest live albums that were churned out in the mid-70s. "Kiss Alive!", "Frampton Comes Alive" and UFO's "Strangers In The Night" were all powerhouse albums showing an awesome live sound, and presenting the respective songs as far superior to the studio releases with lead guitar brilliance from respectively Ace Frehley, Peter Frampton and Michael Schenker. BOC have a much more raw sound and the extended lead guitar solos are stunning; Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser is really given a chance to ignite the atmosphere with electrical charges of guitar energy, surely he is his element on the live stage where he can be allowed to run riot on his Gibson SG lead guitar. Eric Bloom is wonderful on lead vocals, stun guitar, and synthesizer, Allen Lanier keep things cranking on keyboards, and the rhythm section of the Bouchard brothers on bass and drums gives it the drive and power it needs. The band are simply dynamic throughout the concert, and the added sections of lead guitar licks and extended codas, as well as Bloom's banter and the roar of the crowds make this an irresistible slice of proto prog, early metal history.

'The Subhuman' is a great rocking opener to set things in motion. The band sound fresh and enthusiastic, hammering out the classic from "Secret Treaties". This is followed up swiftly with 'Harvester Of Eyes' where the guitars are heavy slabs of lead generating a brilliant sound, with Bloom screaming like a banshee "right in front, to the back of your skull." This is akin to Sabbath or Purple at their best.

'Hot Rails To Hell' from "Tyranny and Mutation" is next with a spine crushing solo, and played at a blistering pace. Next is 'The Red And The Black' that had to be here, and the riffs are furious with scorching lead breaks from Dharma. The astonishing musicianship sets the bar very high but it prepares us for the blockbuster to follow.

'Seven Screaming Diz-Busters' is an 8:49 tour de force of blitzkrieg lead guitar and crunching riffs. Eric Bloom intros it by saying he likes his whip and he will cherish it forever, presumably thrown to him from someone in the crowd. This live version was my first taste of BOC 28 years ago when I heard it on the metal show. This is the version I will always cherish, too awesome for words, with the greatest riffs that lock into your skull, and then there is the towering lead solo. Dharma's guitar screams in pain and the solo is full of fret melting ferocity with vicious string bends. The interlude is Bloom telling the crowd all about how the band apparently were visited by a mysterious man who promised them they would be famous and rock legends as long as they signed a secret deal, in blood! Apparently they did and now the mystery man wants to reclaim the payment, and he is coming back for them. This is as sinister as the band gets as far as atmosphere, and it features some frenetic lead work from Dharma, and shimmering organ phrases from Lanier. The drums are attacked by Albert throughout and the bass is pulsating continually by Joe, the Bouchard brothers. The best BOC for me personally without a doubt as I love the extended lead soloing and overall atmospherics.

'Buck's Boogie' is an amazing instrumental guitar workout, and the Hammond drives it home beautifully. The lead guitar break is blues and rock revved to the max and this is a fast paced jam session to unleash what the band do best. The classic '(Then Came The) Last Days Of May' which is very popular has a nice blues melody and some beautiful lead guitar passages. 'Cities On Flame' is the live staple heard many times, a riff heavy gem from the early album, and is played with passion here. The power riffs are a delight and Bloom really belts this out with a lot of volume.

'Me 262' is an 8 minute riffer that is even better than the version on "Secret Treaties"; it really rocks hard. It is followed by 'Before The Kiss (A Redcap)' that is a nice moderate track before they unleash a blues deluge of guitar energy on the 9 minute 'Maserati GT (I Ain't Got You)'. This features Dharma on extended lead solo and it is absolutely delightful to hear him break out into huge guitar improvisations as the band lock into a bluesy groove, similar to Ten Years After's Alvin Lee in some respects.

The band are reintroduced for an encore and they launch into 'Born To Be Wild', the Steppenwolf classic. This is way better and heavier than the original and it is great to hear BOC play a cover. Of course the song has grinding organ like the original, but I love Bloom's heavy vocal treatment. There is freakout of organ and guitar in the extended solo. Dharma has a killer time of it blazing out awesome chord progressions and searing variations on the riffs. They turn a relatively simple rocker into a complex sonic guitar workout.

In my opinion, having heard 5 studio albums, and some others live, this is as good as it gets for BOC. It is a live triumph capturing the early 70s vibe, and some of the best lead guitar you are likely to hear. Every song is a tour de force that slaughters the originals for sheer unadulterated in your face rock. This is the way to experience BOC, and it is proto metal as well as having moments of invigorating prog musicianship. It comes highly recommended as a 70s live treasure; a veritable masterpiece for Blue Oyster Cult.

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 Tyranny And Mutation by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.37 | 106 ratings

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Tyranny And Mutation
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars 7 Screaming Diz-Busteeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The classic line up of Blue Oyster Cult is undoubtedly Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser, the extraordinary master of lead guitar, Eric Bloom, the brilliant visionary on lead vocals, stun guitars, and all synthesizers, Joseph Bouchard, wonderful on bass, and keyboards, Albert Bouchard, the powerhouse drummer, and Allen Lanier, a wizard on keyboards, and rhythm guitar. "Tyranny and Mutation" is a masterful album from 1973, that blows my mind every time I listen to it, and I have listened to it so much over the last week. It is consistently brilliant with incredible riffs and melodic beauty, every member of the band at their very best and most innovative.

It was released on vinyl under the Black and Red sides; the black being in your face proto metal riff rock, and the Red being more calm and melody driven. It begins with an astonishing song 'The Red And The Black' with Eric Bloom singing blues rock at a breakneck speed. The riffs are off the planet, and there is even a frenetic bass solo. The twin harmonised guitar leads are wonderful making this a magnificent start to this album.

'O.D.'d On Life Itself' has the same riff as The Hollies 'Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress' but it has enough variation in the song itself. This has a rocking blues rhythm that sounds a bit like early Kiss, who were a year away from their debut. There is a great lead break form Dharma and overall another BOC highlight, appearing on many of their compilations.

'Hot Rails To Hell' is also like Kiss, especially the riff, so BOC were clearly influential to Kiss. It is very heavy for the early 70s with some crazy lyrics; "burn ya' right out, burn ya' eyes out, blackened the eyes, speeding along like dynamite". The lead guitar smokes wonderfully and there is a dynamic coda with a cool 'Wipe Out' reference.

'7 Screaming Diz-Busters' is a 7 minute trip down memory lane for me as it is the first time I had ever heard the band. When I re-heard this I had chills all over me as I had heard this years ago live on a Metal show over 28 years or so! I did not know it was BOC playing at the time as the DJ did not say who it was. I had a live version from "On Your Feet or On Your Knees", but the studio version is a masterpiece. The riff is brilliant and changes constantly with a hard rock vibe. The lead break is mind blowing and the Hammond organ is killer. Allan Lanier absolutely slaughters this but those guitar licks of Dharma lift it to the stratosphere. One of the greatest BOC tracks I have heard. The lyrics are very creepy, with an extended coda "did you burn the light?"

The Red side begins with 'Baby Ice Dog' which settles into a straight hard rock riff. 'Wings Wetted Down' is pleasant with a beautiful lead break, and awesome bassline. The lyrics are sword and sorcery and then it merges into 'Teen Archer'. This has a moderate tempo, cool guitars, and wonderful vox. The riff is dynamic and the lyrics are about some chick with a bow and arrow; "all of the night, all of the day, she got she got, woah, she will, she will die!" The lead guitar and shimmering organ are sensational; quite a bright happy sound here, that's why this is the red side. The fast arpeggios on piano, and time sig change are augmented by a lead break, making this another gem. 'Mistress Of The Samon Salt (Quicklime Girl)' begins immediately and is rather a softer track, sounding like a melancholy Uriah Heep. There is a gorgeous organ, and screaming lead break.

That is one heck of an album but a real drawcard are the bonus tracks that are all mind blowing. On the Columbia/Sony Legacy remaster (2001) we have 4 more to drool over. 'Cities on Flame With Rock And Roll (live - previously unreleased)' is a raw live classic. Dharma is playing the roof off the stadium here. The new time sig is faster, dirtier and more exciting than the original version. 'Buck's Boogie (studio version - previously unreleased)' is a wondrous instrumental with an amazing fast guitar riff. '7 Screaming Diz-Busters (live - previously unreleased)' is a 14 minute eargasm of blinding riffs and dark atmosphere. The fret melting lead break is amazing and then Bloom begins dialoguing about how he met up with a sharp suited man and signed his name in blood to become a rock n roll star, and now CBS signed him up as a packt to the? gulp, is he serious? Another rocker selling his soul to the demon of rock, but one day he says I am coming to take u away after your career of evil. This is sinister stuff, and the freak out ending sends chills through me. 'O.D.'d On Life Itself (live - previously unreleased)' is as good as the studio version with a bad to the bone lead break, and supersonic riffing.

In conclusion, this is a treasure of the early 70s, every track is a gem and the album features some of the hardest rock of the 70s you are likely to hear along with Kiss, Deep Purple, UFO, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. This is perhaps the best studio album for Blue Oyster Cult in their early years; and this remaster is an absolute must for connoisseurs of rock. 4 stars for original album, 5 stars for the remaster - rounded off to 4.5 stars for this site.

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 Imaginos by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.73 | 63 ratings

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Imaginos
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Name one BOC song - The Siege And Investiture Of Baron Von Frankenstein's Castle At Weisseria.... or something like that.

'Imaginos' is one of Blue Oyster's Cult's more accomplished albums following the blazing start of their first 3 albums. It begins with some powerhouse rock on 'I Am The One You Warned Me Of' which is an astonishing tour de force for Dharma's lead break finesse, and there are killer riffs throughout. It is definitely a key track for the band on this album setting the tone for the heaviness to come. 'Les Invisibles' follows, riffing along nicely, with very cool vocals and tons of searing melodic passages. 'In The Presence Of Another World' is acoustically driven at first and then launches into a brilliant heavy guitar riff. It is an incredible track building on a solid structure falling between metal and AOR, with calming acoustic vibrations and ear melting distorted riffs. The extended coda is absolutely wonderful and sets this song above the others.

'Del Rio's Song' has a huge drum tempo, heavy guitar, and pleasant vox. It sounds very bluesy, and tends to grow with a melodic hook. The lyrics are a weak point here but the smoking axes of Dharma and Bloom are irresistible.

'The Siege And Investiture Of Baron Von Frankenstein's Castle At Weisseria' is really a great title to remember when quoting BOC tracks. The drums pound loudly and there is a spacey synth, balanced by a massive riff. The heavy vocals are very much like old school metal, in the year when metal was king; 1988. There is an insane piano run and the lead break harmonics are delightful. The tempo gets faster with a power metal riff, and then the lead killer axes mash your ears to pulp. The coda is bizarre with piano crashes, choirs, and all manner of time sigs.

'Astronomy' is a re-run of the track from 'Secret Treaties' and it is this version that appears on all the BOC compilations. The Pink Floyd style riff of Gilmour is striking. The lyrics begin 'the clock strikes 12' and we are well into a grand riff, with a wonderful melody. It has a radio friendliness to it but is such a cool melody. The lead break is glorious and there is a wall of sound that builds.

'Magna Of Illusion' has a pleasant chugging riff, with very good vox. The lead guitar is dynamic and there is an inventiveness to the structure featuring some grandiose narration. 'Blue 'yster Cult' is a moderate tempo softer track, with a great lead break. The AOR feel is prominent but it is cool to hear them sing, 'Blue Oyster Cult, we understand, we understand, we understand', though it is a bit repetitive after the first few times.

'Imaginos', the title track is pure rock, but not up to the standard of the other tracks. BOC set the bar so high it is obvious when a song just flops. This has a disco feel in a way and very dancy, so not a great one for this album, more like a fish out of water. The lead break is soaring but overall this is a blemish on an otherwise excellent album.

So at the end of this, I believe the album should rate quite highly among the other studio releases for BOC. It has enough on offer to appease the rock addicts, and is full of innovation, deserving at least 4 stars for the aforementioned reasons.

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