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Blue Öyster Cult - Curse Of The Hidden Mirror CD (album) cover


Blue Öyster Cult


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3.06 | 81 ratings

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3 stars At the time that Blue Oyster Cult released their 14th album 'Curse of the Hidden Mirror', there were only three long-standing members left; Eric Bloom on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, who even though he wasn't with the band at the very beginning, he was on all of the albums; Buck Dharma who also shared vocals, but was known as the lead guitarist; and Allen Lanier on keys and rhythm guitar. The rest of the band saw a lot of line up changes. BOC also never really expected their 14th album to be their last one either, but, even though it was a decent album, it just didn't perform well, and they were dumped by their label.

The band, however, continued to tour and still continued to draw huge crowds. So, even though there hasn't been any new albums since this one, released in 2001, the band has been active. Unfortunately, Allen Lanier died in 2013, but Dharma and Bloom have remained in the band. Dharma and Bloom also co-wrote much of the music on the album, thus the general sound of BOC is there, but they also had help from Danny Miranda, who is the current bass player, and cyberpunk author John Shirley.

The album starts out with what is probably the best song on the album 'Dance on Stilts', which has the attitude and feel of some of the best BOC tracks, and the 3rd track also shows some promise with 'The Old Gods Return'. 'Pocket' was supposed to be the single, but it didn't sell very well even though the track is a really good song, in the same style as one of my favorites from the 'Club Ninja' album, 'Perfect Water'. The guitar solo in 'Pocket' is also really good, it's just too short. 'One Step Ahead of the Devil' is also one of the heavier BOC tracks, and was placed very well on the album as it served as a wake up call after the mellower 'Pocket'.

The problem is, is that after the first excellent track, the rest of the album tends to go down in quality, and the heart of the band just doesn't seem to be there. The tracks start to sound more and more alike as the album moves on, descending to a more MOR sound. There were some promising things happening on the first half of the album, but the downward spiral seems to continue on the 2nd half, where, except for a few great guitar solos, we are only left with mediocre and 'too perfect sounding' tracks. The spirit just doesn't seem to be there. The ideas seemed to be running dry, and the proof of that is the addition of older tracks like 'Out of the Darkness' which was written for the 1992 movie 'Bad Channels', but was never used, and 'Showtime' which was another unused track written and recorded for the album 'Cultosaurus Erectus', but was also unused then.

So, the album isn't too bad, it's just a bit too polished for me since I love the rougher sound of BOC the best. At the time of this release, many fans still expected that one album that would come out that would really recall the glory days of the band, maybe they could still pull off another 'Spectres', 'Secret Treaties' or even ''Imaginos'. But, with the label getting rid of the band, it didn't seem like we would ever really get a chance to find out for sure. But then . . . in 2019, it was announced that a new label had finally signed on for a new album. It won't be released until sometime in 2020, but maybe, just maybe, this will be the chance for the band to come back with a vengeance. We could only hope, and time will tell. After almost 20 years, my own personal hopes aren't up too much, but, you never know. I really want to be proven wrong on this one!

TCat | 3/5 |


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