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Blue Öyster Cult - Club Ninja CD (album) cover


Blue Öyster Cult


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2.51 | 73 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Oysters and clubs and ninjas, oh my!

Hot on the heels of their 1984 flop The Revolution By Night, BOC regroups and releases this effort. While often called BOCs worst album it's actually not that bad. Some of the songs are very 80s stadium rock and some of the songs are very un-BOC, but there's still some good music to be had here!

The album opens with the promising WHITE FLAGS, which is a great hard rock tune not dissimilar to the opener from their previous album, Take Me Away. The song is obviously made to suit Bloom's voice and it lets him hit all of his possible notes during the chorus. However, it is good to note at this point that BOC were obviously trying to make some sort of comeback because the members themselves only have writing credits on five of the nine tracks. That's fairly acceptable, however, since how many bands would be around without outside writers? None the less, BOC, you could do better than that.

Off that tangent, next is the MTV hit DANCIN' IN THE RUINS. This is a good catchy pop-rock tune that makes good use of the 80s synthesizer and has a very infectious chorus. Buck takes the vocal helm (as he usually does when they need a hit) and does quite a job of it on this song. This track is often (if unfairly) bashed for sounding too similar to the 1981 hit Burnin' For You. While there are some similarities (vocalist, the fact that it was the hit), the song is far too different to truly warrant any flak. Interesting to note that this song placed the highest on the billboard charts for BOC, topping even 1976's (Don't Fear) The Reaper, which only reaches #12. DANCIN'... reached #9!

Following shortly after that track is the excellent PERFECT WATER. This song is sublime! It's possibly one of the best things ever to be recorded by these guys! Buck's guitar and vocals mix cohesively from light to heavy in one of their most progressive songs since The Vigil. Truly a great track and definately worth checking out. An amazing live rendition of this song would later be featured on their 2002 live album A Long Day's Night.

So, three great tracks, what could possibly be dragging this album down? Let's see...

There's a couple of weaker tracks on their album. While they can be considered good rock songs, especially by 80s standards, it's likely that neither prog fans or heavy metal fans will be particularly big fans of them. The third track, MAKE ROCK NOT WAR is a good anthem that often comes across as a simple rock song. BEAT 'EM UP is another song that's very simple in structure, it does, however, feature a nice use of vocal harmony at the bridge that is quite brief, but effective. Prog fans will not likely find any solace in these particular tracks, but rock fans may still enjoy them.

A couple of forgettable songs also inhabit this album. SHADOW WARRIOR features some cool guitar-ing by Buck, but is ultimately let down due simply to the fact that it doesn't really go anywhere. There is a word for this, it's 'boring'. SPY IN THE HOUSE OF THE NIGHT is another song that fails to impress. There's nothing to it really, it's far too simple, not to mention that the chorus really doesn't do much to help it out.

A couple more high points? Yes there is! WHEN THE WAR COMES (with voice overs by Howard Stern, of all people) offers a very progressive track with some harmonizing vocals that work quite well for it. The guitars are slow and clunk, but really that plays as a strength to this song. The only thing that really gets annoying about the song is the constant repeating of ooga-cha-ca ooga-cha-ca in there. Luckily it's mixed fairly low, so you can just imagine that Buck's guitars are playing right over top of it. MADNESS TO THE METHOD is another very high point. Clocking at over 7-minutes, you'd think that this song was at least kind of progressive. Unfortunately it's actually just a long rock song, but it's a good none none the less! Buck's vocals all throughout are quite strong and there's song great guitar work all along the way. Not to mention that the song has a really cool name.

End time!

So many good things to say about the album. Why then? Why 2 stars? Well, it's prog we're reviewing here, and 80s stadium rock, no matter how good, is not progressive. Will this album make a good addition to your prog collection? Not really. BOC fans and completion's, will still likely find a lot to like about it. In the end this one gets:

For Prog Archives: 2 stars... only buy it if you really want it. Not really for prog fans. Perfect Water is likely the only song to keep your interest.

For Everyone Else: 3 stars. An underrated album that still has flaws none the less. Still worth a shot for White Flags, Dancin' In The Ruins, Perfect Water and Madness To The Method.

Finally, if you are one of the people who really wants the album; be prepared to sell your first born to get it. Since the album has never been remastered the only CD copy is under Elektra CK 39979, which is out of print. This means that this CD is rare! Unless your local used record store has it by some crazy alignment of the stars be prepared to pay somewhere in the area of $40 (US) on Amazon or eBay. While you're doing that, us BOC fans will pester their label to remaster all of their albums.

Queen By-Tor | 2/5 |


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