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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 discography

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

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

3.33 | 142 ratings
Blue Öyster Cult
3.45 | 145 ratings
Tyranny And Mutation
4.17 | 207 ratings
Secret Treaties
3.09 | 147 ratings
Agents of Fortune
3.22 | 104 ratings
2.28 | 85 ratings
3.36 | 106 ratings
Cultösaurus Erectus
3.56 | 120 ratings
Fire Of Unknown Origin
3.02 | 61 ratings
The Revölution by Night
2.34 | 49 ratings
Club Ninja
3.73 | 77 ratings
2.84 | 49 ratings
Heaven Forbid
2.97 | 44 ratings
Curse of the Hidden Mirror

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

3.89 | 62 ratings
On Your Feet Or On Your Knees
3.33 | 51 ratings
Some Enchanted Evening
4.01 | 44 ratings
Extraterrestrial Live
3.00 | 11 ratings
Live 1976
3.46 | 17 ratings
A Long Day's Night
3.17 | 6 ratings
Extended Versions

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
3.05 | 14 ratings
Cult Classic
3.51 | 9 ratings
Workshop of the Telescopes
3.96 | 4 ratings
Don't Fear the Reaper
4.15 | 13 ratings
Don't Fear the Reaper: The Best of Blue Öyster Cult
3.33 | 3 ratings
Are You Ready To Rock?
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles Collection
4.00 | 1 ratings
3.00 | 2 ratings
Triple Feature
4.09 | 6 ratings
The Columbia Albums Collection

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


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Heaven Forbid by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.84 | 49 ratings

Heaven Forbid
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Shockingly good, catchy & heavy

It took me nearly two decades to finally listen to this album, because frankly, I don't expect much when it comes to new "hard rock" by the geezer set. Thus I tend to ignore albums by bands I feel should have retired gracefully, favoring to spend my time on more youthful artists. Most of the time this geezer apathy has served me well. This time, despite the horrendously bad album cover art, I was wrong.

If you love hard rock, this late 90s offering from Blue Oyster Cult, minus the Bouchards no less.... absolutely, certifiably, kicks ass.

And I mean it kicks ass in a way which pays homage to the much worshipped Black/White trilogy days. Not that it has the exact same aura of 1970s and young blood that those albums did. But it certainly has the "spirit" of those early albums. Geezer context notwithstanding, "Heaven Forbid" is HEAVY, riff-ragin', rowdy, energetic as hell, and....engaging, interesting, yeah that's has a pulse. It sounds like they cared. That is not always the case with 50 year olds trying to do what they did at 25. There are some repetitive verse/chorus/verse sections that give some credence to the "stock hard rock" formula charge but BOC has always had some songs like this-if they're done with passion and the song actually does rock and is fun, it is not a problem. This album has a couple tracks that are pedestrian but it has more of the kind of charm that keeps me coming back for more. The guitars have lots of growl and snarl, the overall production vibe is meaty and in-your-face.

There is groove to Heaven Forbid and the musicianship is as good as you'd expect, especially when Buck tears it up. There is mood, soul, and a little something special when Roeser's pop sensibility and melodic instincts make the material instantly enjoyable. The Bloom vocal tracks are heavier and rowdier while the Roeser-sang tracks a bit more reflective and diverse. "Harvest Moon" is a classic Buck Dharma song with an ethereal feel and soothing vocals, haunting and lovely. "Real World" featured funky acoustic guitar and gorgeous lead work. Some of the Bloom songs get close to Metallica intensity, very tight and gripping. The album leaves room for humor (listen to Buck's playful vocal on "Damaged") and unintentional homage-while Allen Lanier was just fine at the time of this album's release, his passing in 2013 makes the placement of a live "In Thee" a coincidentally beautiful closing number. Normally I'm not in favor of tacking on live stuff to a studio album but in this case it really fits and adds a feather to an album that surprised the hell out of me. In a good way.

This album has many low ratings with some reviewers talking about its failure in the context of "prog", which one need not consider when reviewing prog-related albums. Site Admin have changed the rating definitions for prog-related albums so that that no deduction for "prog quotient" is necessary or desired when reviewing the "related" section. The ratings definitions listed at PA all specify "rock" in lieu of "prog." So listen, love, and review all of our "prog related" titles as *rock* albums and quit worrying about the connection to prog.

Love, it makes strangers of us all / When we part oh, so thoughtlessly / Well, I'll wrap myself in cities I travel / I'll wrap myself in dreams / I'll wrap myself in solitude / But I wish I could wrap myself in thee

 Secret Treaties by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.17 | 207 ratings

Secret Treaties
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by Prog Sothoth
Collaborator 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.

 Cultösaurus Erectus by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.36 | 106 ratings

Cultösaurus Erectus
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I have always loved the cover of this album since I was a kid. My friend's older brother had this on vinyl, and my interest in dinosaurs and science fiction art made this an easy eye-catcher.

Blue Oyster Cult were often said to be the American answer to Black Sabbath but I have never been able to hear that in the music. For this album here, they got Martin Birch as producer, who was already known for his work with Sabbath and Deep Purple's 'Machine Head' and who would go on to produce albums for Iron Maiden. BOC and Black Sabbath toured together, too, on what was called the Black and Blue tour. Still, the band doesn't sound at all like Black Sabbath. But they don't have to.

I'll admit it took me some time to get into this album. Having been sufficiently impressed with their first three albums and having a greatest hits album plus formerly owning two other later albums on cassette, I had more expectations from this one. I kept adding it to a playlist of albums to review and then taking it off again. Finally I decided to give it my full attention and I was pleasantly surprised in parts.

'Black Blade' is a song based on the writings of Michael Moorcock. It's hard rock pop with punk edge in parts and tells the story about an evil blade that possesses its bearer to kill. The story is a bit similar to the Heavy Metal movie theme where a mysterious green orb also causes otherwise gentle people to behave in a bloodthirsty manner. Incidentally, BOC were closely involved in the music soundtrack of Heavy Metal, and some of the songs would end up on their next release. There's some nice eerie music with creepy sound effects in the middle. One of BOC's classic fantasy sci fi type story telling songs, Eric Bloom's vocals are as usual full of passion. This is a great theatrical hard rock number with rhythm changes and synthesizer; like prog hard rock almost. The blade speaks at the end in metallic voice.

'Monsters' is next, and why didn't I notice this one right away? A hard rock track with an almost seventies danceable intro then suddenly goes jazz with sax and piano drums bass and no guitars. That fast boogie part contrasts great with the hard n' heavy part and then another jazz break. What are these guys trying to prove? Then an almost boogie rock prog section, after which the song slows down with some nice piano. A new melody is introduced. The chorus fast with piano bass drums and lead guitar. Seemingly seamless and well- crafted, the song wraps up with heavy hard rock bit but with added sax and groove. Great song!

'Divine Wind' is slow with piano, guitar and a hard bass but has a menacing pace almost. 'If he really thinks we're the devil / then let's send him to hell'. The music is steady and not varied like the first two tracks. Track three is a good spot for it. The backing female vocals sound a bit like heavier Pink Floyd.

'Deadline' is more pop with hard strummed guitar and synthesizer. Donald 'Buck Dharma' Roeser takes the vocals. Again, the music is minimalistic but the lead guitar adds colour.

'The Marshall Plan' is a story about young Johnny who goes to rock show with Suzie but sees her leaving with the band. Johnny decides to take up the guitar and become a rock star. The 'Smoke on the Water' riff sneaks in at one point, the original song recorded by producer Martin Birch. There's a spoken part which sounds a bit cheesy as Johnny talks about his plan to play heavy music. Don Kirshner's voice introduces the now successful Johnny. There's a fast, upbeat hard rock instrumental with lead guitar. The music has become more varied again. The story is a bit trite but it's a fun song.

'Hungry Boys' is a fast paced hard rock with piano and an electric drum break. It's a typical BOC fast boogie rock number. Drummer Albert Bouchard takes the vocals.

'Fallen Angel' features bassist Joe Bouchard on vocals. His singing is rough, almost a shout, but possess a very pop rock / hard rock sound. The synth-led melody is catchy, and the guitar solo like pop-sounding Kansas. The music reminds me of the Canadian pop-rock band, Prism.

'Lips in the Hills' brings us back to the exciting rocker ability of BOC and it was the first song to really grab my attention. Eric Bloom is back on vocals again. This is hard rock BOC! Nothing complex or overly simple, just guitar rock energy and fury with a one of the band's typical suspense story tales.

'Unknown Tongue' concludes the album. It's hard rock with piano and yet another almost horror suspense style story piece about what sounds like a slightly twisted young lady. There's a bit of pretty but horror movie- type piano. A good track though less involved than the first two.

While this is not my favourite Blue Oyster Cult album, it does typify what a BOC album sounds like: essentially a rock band with hard rock and heavy rock up front and occasional meanderings into traditional heavy metal and progressive trim where suitable. What is to be admired and liked is the band's ability to produce exciting and at times very interesting songs about aliens, ghosts, science fiction and the super natural. It's almost as if the members know not to take themselves seriously about their taking their work seriously, if that makes any sense. There's a tongue in cheek quality to the genuine sincerity they put into their entertainment. For that, I like them. But I wish this album had a few more memorable tracks for my taste.

 Tyranny And Mutation by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.45 | 145 ratings

Tyranny And Mutation
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by Prog Sothoth
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

5 stars That linear esoteric cover design drew me in, the same way that their debut did. It was like I was ready to join a cult. Instead of whistling away my life savings for mysterious spiritual enlightenment, I received eight really good songs for a much more reasonable price.

The opener, a reworking of the second track off their debut, absolutely explodes out of the gate with a far more razor sounding guitar sound than the blunted spacey tone of their prior release. The tempo is particularly fast for its time, like a proto-punk speedster featuring Bloom's vocals which still possess that youth-inflected snarl. I particularly enjoy the final minute or so when the band is really cooking up an instrumental storm. One of my favorites by BOC in general.

The truth is, this is probably the only album of theirs in which I completely dig every tune. My other favorite platters of theirs have at least one dud or so, but that's not the case with this puppy. Case in point, "Mistress of the Salmon Salt". Not a song that gets a lot of mention by BOC fans, but to me it's utterly brilliant, and lyrically one of the strangest, creepiest and fascinating of their repertoire. Is the 'Quicklime Girl' a serial killer/prostitute preying on sailors, a killer cultist, a necromancer, a deviant girl with a fascination for death? Enigmatic yet perfect for the music, which sways between hard rock riffs, quieter verses and atmospheric doom-rock passages complete with an organ solo. The morbid shamble of the music is quite effective accompanying the lines "The harvest of life, the harvest of death", again, with Bloom's serpentine delivery. A great finale to the album, residing on the LP's "red" side, deemed the more atmospheric half of the album.

Songs that are well known on T&M are given accolades for good reason. "7 Screaming Diz- Busters" begins with one of BOC's most memorable riffs (man what a doozy!) before launching into one of their most quintessential epics that meshes biker aesthetics and possible sexual references with blatant occultism; pretty much everything that freaked out my parents when I started getting into rock music. The song is also quite progressive musically, featuring no shortage of shifts in tempo as well as a strange array of soloing and keyboard usage. It's a true classic by the band, and some would say "Hot Rails to Hell" is as well, featuring Joe Bouchard's demented vocals and a rapid chugging pace. It's during songs like this though that the album's one flaw for me personally gets a bit more exposed, which would be the lack of a strong production. The guitars sound great, but a better presence of low-end and a heavier drum sound would have enhanced the power of the more aggressive cuts of this collection. It's a flaw I tend to overlook due to the strength of the material, and I've been loving this album for over 30 years.

When I mention that all of the songs here are among my favorites by the band, I mean it. "Baby Ice Dog" boasts jarring Patti Smith lyrics and grooves quite well while tweaking the standard 4/4 rhythms with some jazz-influenced breaks. the opening riff of "OD'd on Life Itself" recalls The Hollies' "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" (which in turn recalls CCR's "Green River" and so-forth) before spicing things up with some space rock ambiance and dark yet trippy lyrics. "Wings Wetted Down" boasts the most atmosphere, a moody piece and yet it brandishes a chainsaw guitar riff that keeps things from ever reaching ballad territory. An oddly structured tune in that sense, leaning into progressive territory. The sole number with Buck Dharma on lead vocals, "Teen Archer" is an absolute gem. With great guitar riffs and one killer 'feel-good' keyboard solo smack in the middle of this thing, it's also real catchy with its repetitive verses that sort of remind me of "Burnin' For You" in that specific sense. It's also quite an uptempo piece as well, showing that the "black" side of the album doesn't hold claim to all of the fast buggers.

To me this album is a masterpiece. It just clicked instantly and yet I somehow never overplayed it to the point of burnout through the years. I also know it's not for everyone, and maybe not the album to initiate the curious into what BOC has to offer, except maybe for those coming from an edgy rock/punk angle who's ready for some weird occult references and musical passages. Hell, maybe that's why I dig this album so much. It ain't prog, but the 'progressive' flair is there, enhancing the overall energy where "dusters dust becomes the sale and Lucifer, the light".

 Blue Öyster Cult by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.33 | 142 ratings

Blue Öyster Cult
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by Prog Sothoth
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars The whole "biker rockers dabbling in the occult" deal got off to an atmospheric start on this debut. Oddly enough, the album cover is a completely apt representation to the album's contents, being linear yet spacey. Reverb is everywhere, softening up the distorted guitars and endowing the drums with with a floating, drifting aura. It's a really unusual production for this sort of music, and it actually works in a strange way as it gives this album a lot of character and a truly unique vibe.

"Transmaniacon MC" is a great opener with a cool riff, introducing that combo of hard rock with spaced-out trippy leanings in grand fashion juxtaposed with Eric Bloom's strange ramblings involving bikers, Satan, rock performances in a weird haze. Personally I consider it one of their gems. Other winners include the eerie "Screams" and its segue into the even creepier "She's as Beautiful as a Foot", in which the 'echoey' production aids in establishing an uncanny aura. "Then Came the Last Days of May" is classic rock ballad mystery with some fantastic guitarwork and pleasant vocals by Buck Dharma. "Cities on Flame" is probably the best known track, and certainly one of the hardest as well with its mammoth riffs (though tempered by the mix).

It's not all great, as "I'm On The Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep" (gotta love these titles), though kind of cool in its own way, would be transformed into an absolute barn-burner on their next album. Overall, though, this is a pretty cool album, with a heightened sense of moodiness that often overrides aggressive posturing. Not exactly the true representation of their sound, but easily worth grabbing. Honestly though, their first three albums (the Black and White trilogy so to speak) are all pretty damn killer in their own diverse ways.

 Tyranny And Mutation by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.45 | 145 ratings

Tyranny And Mutation
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars In the early 1980's, Blue Oyster Cult was proclaimed to be one of the heaviest bands among my friends who had older brothers who brought home heavy metal cassettes. After being blown away by Judas Priest, I bought 'The Revolution by Night' and heard that heavy rocking first track 'Take Me Away' but was disappointed with the rest of the album. In fact, after having purchased four BOC albums in my time and a compilation album, I have come to the conclusion that they were never really that heavy. Though original manager Sandy Pearlman wanted them to be America's answer to Black Sabbath, I think they are in a different league. BOC managed to incorporate heavy metal guitar riffs and solos it's true, but they just as easily shifted to boogie rock, blues-based barroom rock, and even naturally blended some more progressive tendencies sometimes all in the same song. Never really too metal; never exactly true prog. But during the 1970's, Blue Oyster Cult established themselves among the rock band elite.

While checking out proto-metal albums from 1969 to 1973, I decided to order 'Tyranny and Mutation' to see if there wasn't any really good example of early heavy metal. What I found was that most songs include some great heavy guitar sounds, riffs, and solos but never stay heavy throughout. There's often some more radio friendly verse that lightens the mood or perhaps a blues rock segment, some piano, etc. Furthermore, the vocal delivery of the various lead singers is often quite theatrical in a tough-guy-from-New-York-singing-about- science-fiction kind of way (English has no adjective for that). The music of BOC seemed more geared towards entertainment than head banging.

And therein laid the charm of the band's music. This was a point that I seemed to have missed all these decades. BOC were not about serious doom metal or hard rock. They were about science fiction, about ghosts and aliens, about fighter aircraft and urban legends. They were about rock, sometimes just feeling good hard rock, sometimes about heavy rock, sometimes about a progressive journey focused more on the story than the machinery that got you there. And this album has really begun to connect me to the music of Blue Oyster Cult.

Side one is the more rock and roll part of the album and side two the more progressive; however both sides lean toward the other at times. Some of the heavier riffs occur on side two in 'Wings Wetted Down' and 'Mistress of the Salmon Salt (Quicklime Girl)'. But 'The Red & The Black' and 'Hot Rails to Hell' give us the rock and roll approach of the band. Side one's closer, 'Seven Screaming Diz Busters' (love the title) crosses the rock and roll approach with the progressive side of the band. Overall, the album has a fair bit of variety. Having three or four lead vocalists and various external contributing writers also helps to make for an album that doesn't get stale.

One of the things that has really caught my attention with this album is the music composition. The band make good use of two guitars and use keyboards effectively when they deem it essential to the music. The drumming is also very clever and I find myself really following the drums in a number of the songs. Thank you, Albert Bouchard!

This is not a really heavy album but it has its heavy moments. It's not progressive like Yes or Genesis but it has its share of creative music composition. And once again, there is a certain charm to the vocal delivers that give it a theatrical feel. Blue Oyster Cult is about intelligent heavy metal with a sci-fi slant and with an attitude of artful pretense. Based on my appreciation for this album, I have now ordered three more classic albums with the confidence that I will enjoy them for what I know to expect this time. As a prog album this is not spectacular. However as a rock album this could well deserve nearly five stars.

 The Columbia Albums Collection by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
4.09 | 6 ratings

The Columbia Albums Collection
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by uduwudu

4 stars Contains all albums but for Curse of The Hidden Mirror and Heaven Forbid and the OST soundtrack, obviously these are the Columbia only releases.

First up, the remastering. The first three and the first live album have been remastered fro the last remasters with the same bonus material. The overall improvements are a less abrasive sonic effect compared to the rather inexpensive original productions from the LPs and CD issues.

Agents Of Fortune sounds the same as the latest remaster so I think it's really just the first ones that have had a sonic upgrade the others sound the same as the CD issues presumably BOC or Columbia consider all the other albums to be ok which they are really. Spectres has had a couple of issues this one and the one prior with the bonus material.

Imaginos sounds like it also had a minor facelift but that is it really, the only remastered album without bonus material. Presumably this might spoil the highly involved concept album effect. Now it may not have been remastered but it sourced from the original tapes rather than the post production master. Or maybe it's just me, one way or another it sounds fine, clear and punchy.

Slightly off topic. A good example of production generation > DC > remaster is Queen's A Night AT The Opera. The CD remaster and DVD annotated with Brian May's notes are taken form the original tapes yet the later reissue (in that box set) has not but use tapes 2 generations down. I've not heard that master - it is probably fine but a digital audio conversion (DAC) to hard drive is best from the master tapes. As Queen had already done this with Opera I don't know why they did not keep that master. I know some engineers and record companies are oath to use masters as the condition may be not the best now and fear of further deterioration or harm is borne in mind. I do hope some remastering to digital is done as analogue processing is fine for LP format but sounds boxy and less palatable on CD with the more sonic space available. This is probably why a lot of people think CDs sound less good than the LPs.

Back to BOC Some Enchanted Evening (1978) has the original material plus the new bonus audio all of which makes this new version an improvement on old versions - i.e. still a great live LP, CD but better with more material. Good stuff. on every original issue. Also included is the DVD Some Other Enchanted Evening in full glorious 1978 TV video recording glory, mono and the lovely TV picture. It's a good gig and fine enough but there is nothing to deceive anyone into thinking this is 21st Century. A period piece of the USA's finest ever rock band (!) ;) in action. This CD / DVD has also been issued as a standalone issue.

The 1982 ET Live sounds the same as the LP and CD master issued prior to this. As do Revolution By Night and Club Ninja. No extra material on these.

I've yet to download but there are four concerts. I already have the 1983 Pasadena FM broadcast now officially released - the ROIO sounds great - presumably why it managed to get released.

I'll update this review when I know I have the bandwidth available to download the concerts (four); this way I'll know whether they are "nasty" mp3 files (ok for mp3 player, PC playback but inadequate for CD quality due to so much data lost on this format). I hope the files will be flac format for back up and our own conversion to WAV or other playback format if required. I know it sounds a tad ungrateful of me to moan about the download format but I do like the best sound I can get. However we do get an idea... you get 2 CDs worth of bonus material. The Best of the FM Broadcasts lets us hear a 1 CD compilation of the downloads (making my ingratitude worse by the good quality official bootleg sound). These sound like pre FM masters which are about the best source material you can get outside of the original mixing master tapes. It's all good news really.

There is another CD this one full of rarities. These two would seem to be exclusive to the box set. I anticipate future BOC anthologies to feature occasional rare and bonus material likely to be sourced from these CDs and the downloads. Also floating around but not part of the set is a sampler 40th anniversary promo CD which I "found and downloaded" - gotta have the rare BOC however it comes!

Now, appearance and packing. The CDs are more or less LP replica but for the white border on the card covers identifying them as from the box set, just the same as the ELO box set. The box is nice looking but also observed to be a little light - I think it is recommended for record companies to issue box sets in more robust packaging, it does not take too much, a bit of hard card and box with lid but this could be a lot worse. There is a booklet which I would have liked annotated with mastering generation and such like details. Some may like a replica of the booklets of previous CD issues, if so you are out of luck. however you get an appropriate essay of the contents and details of personnel and everything else. All perfectly acceptable to the box set consumer.

If you are a BOC fan you probably have this, or will have it and if so I thoroughly recommend, it's a blast. If you have the LPs and are happy with those fine but you may want to check this out anyway. e.g. I have OFOOYK on vinyl and compared it with the original CD issue - same master and audio A/B comparison showed the sound to my ears to be the same; not really surprising. This one is a punchier upgrade. it, er, rocks even harder. Plus you get the bonus material which given the first five studio albums, the 2 CDs of bonus material, the expanded Enchanted Evening plus DVD is pretty good value.

To the general fans which is to whom I would generally address my comments, you may want to try a compilation something like The Essential or Workshop of the Telescopes 2 CD sets which should give you an idea if you are unfamiliar with BOC or have only heard the FM staples Reaper, Godzilla, Joan Crawford and wonder what else. Just make sure it has Astronomy on your compilation. However if f you have good idea of what to expect and think about getting this set it is fine value. I paid roughly 4 bucks a disc, probably less once I've downloaded the concerts (4 more live albums of concert Blue Oyster Cult!) making the per capita cost less.

The live releases sound good. They are all mp3s from the BOC shop. My only grip is I can never have enough versions of Astronomy and there are none on these broadcasts. They sound like the pre FM edited tapes and are quick and easy to download.

Summary It sounds fine (better than some contemporary issues of individual CDs such as the first three), it's good value and should last your lifetime or more.

Ratings - excellent addition to a prog rock and hard rock collection. Classic? - pretty much, it's easy to give this a 5 star rating bearing in mind the remasters here (first 3 and the first live album) are exclusive to this box set. The bonus material on the first five studio releases are available outside this box but there are 2 CDs worth and the downloads currently exclusive to this. If the concerts were included as discs and the liner notes replicated I'd have to give it five stars. It may have cost a bit more though so cheers to BOC for helping the costs kept down for the consumer. Of course some albums are regarded higher than others so I'll allow for that group thought mis-perception. I feel really mean not giving it five stars... 4 1/2 really.

The box is CD shelf sized, no T shirts etc (I wouldn't have minded but I'm not really worried,little extraneous packaging keeps the box set to easy to store on the shelf size. It's unfussy, and good value.

And the music is awesome, thank you Blue Oyster Cult.

 Agents of Fortune by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.09 | 147 ratings

Agents of Fortune
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars "This is the night we ride"

While I appreciate the 'black and white' trilogy of albums, I'm in the minority who feels the band made a huge leap with Agents. This certainly put off some fans who had grown accustomed to the band and didn't want change. Fleetwood Mac did this with Tusk and even Zeppelin gets some flack for Presence, both of which were excellent albums with a different feel than more popular predecessors (and may have been better than their predecessors). But few great albums inspire as much angst as this one and I've never understood why. Agents took more chances given their fanbase's love of Secret Treaties, so it was the exact opposite of "selling out". Because it happened to score a big radio hit it was accused of being something it wasn't-I honestly don't think they expected the Reaper phenom that occurred.

Agents is first rate devious fun all the way through. Dark and yet insanely catchy, the songs are full of the tongue-in-cheek playfulness and campy hard rock brilliance few other bands have combined so successfully. They almost stole a page in pizazz/showmanship from Freddie Mercury or Elton John, while maintaining their night-rider tough guy sound. From sampling different musical styles to borrowing Patti Smith's poetic touch, creativity was at an absolute peak. Yes a huge radio hit was born, yet the sinister stories concocted in the other tracks are just as appealing. Hard rock and 60s rock are sampled, pop harmonies are blended with great hooks and punkish attitude, and a certain haunting mixture of surf and film-noir soundtrack recall the way The Doors could be both dangerous and commercial. It's also more ebullient and colorful in the overall sound motif, a pleasant improvement. The keyboards have been more heavily integrated and each member seems to be standing out front, I wonder if this album was more collaborative in songwriting than previous work? Summer of Love is a giant sneer, the Reaper's dramatic middle interlude a most perfect expression of deathly fear. Vera Gemini seems the pursuit of dangerous love with Smith's superb co-vocal, while Morning Final's music has a mini-epic feel of narcotic hazed grandeur in a Steppenwolf like package. All the tracks have this captivating combination of the eerie with the cheerful, a contrast between lyrics and vocals with dynamic playing that supports both. It did have its fans:

"Agents of Fortune is a startlingly excellent album---startling because one does not expect Blue Oyster Cult to sound like this: loud but calm, manic but confident, melodic but rocking. One area of clear improvement is in the matter of lyrics; for the first time there is less emphasis on absurd, crypto-intellectual rambling and more of a coherent attack on a variety of subjects." -Ken Tucker, Rolling Stone, 1976

"It's still dark, mysterious, and creepy, and perhaps even more so, it's still rooted in rock posturing and excess, but gone is the nihilistic biker boogie in favor of a more tempered sound that gave Allen Lanier's keyboards parity with Dharma's guitar roar" -Thom Jurek, Allmusic

I love this album because of the remarkably high quality playing at every level put to music full of life and personality. No other album conjures as well the lights speeding by on a warm summer night, mystery, romance, adventures. Unlike the machismo of the first three albums there is a big dose of the feminine coming through in several tracks, perhaps the strong imprint of Patti Smith coming through on the boys. "Vera Gemini" is the highlight on an album full of them. Anchoring it all is the lead work of Buck Dharma and he has never played with more conviction than on Agents. On some YouTube comments I was reading, a gentleman posed the question "Ever noticed that Buck Dharma has never thrown away a solo in his life?" It was certainly true on this album, and every lead and rhythm part on this album, each guitar sound, are perfect. Agents of Fortune is not only the feather in the cap of BOC's career, but one of the best albums of rock's most iconic decade. I supposed that's enough gush but this album is on my top shelf---couldn't help myself.

 On Your Feet Or On Your Knees by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Live, 1975
3.89 | 62 ratings

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

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A live album recorded on the Secret Treaties tour, On Your Feet and On Your Knees captures the band at the peak of their powers. Although some of the extended soloing sections don't add a whole lot (especially when the band take an occasional left turn into blues rock) and the production isn't stellar, on the whole this is a high-energy affair with great renditions of material from the first three albums and some non-album pieces besides (the cover versions of I Ain't Got You - retitled Maserati GT here - and Born to Be Wild, and the jam Buck's Boogie). The three picks from the debut album are especially interesting here since they're given a thorough makeover, upping their energy and making them harder and somewhat more metallic than the studio versions, though at the same time I could have honestly done without the cover versions in favour of more material from Secret Treaties.
 Mirrors by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.28 | 85 ratings

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.
Thanks to raff for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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