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Blue Öyster Cult - Secret Treaties CD (album) cover


Blue Öyster Cult


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4.16 | 263 ratings

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4 stars And the joke's on you!

Secret Treaties - the third installment in BOC's "black & white" trilogy which occupies a unique place in the hard rock pantheon. The boys had come a long way from the psychedelic ramblings of former incarnation The Soft White Underbelly , and their adopted brand of heavy metal made an interesting counterpart to the dark phenomology of lyricists & producer Sandy Pearlman (also manager, consultant, and producer!) and Richard Meltzer (and in fact, Pearlman would split following Secret Treaties). Meltzer was responsible for some of the most twisted lyrics to hit the press, notably "Cagey Cretins" and "Harvest of Eyes." Pearlman deals more with cosmic fantasy, contributing "Astronomy", an excerpt from the saga Imaginos written by Sandy years before and finally recorded as a concept piece by the band in 1988. The song itself lives up to the galactic expanses touched in lyrics, providing BOC one of their most enduring pieces, a constellation that remains as bright in the rock universe today.

After the large sonic jump between the debut and "Tyranny and Mutation", there were only more subtle tweaks on this one, but there is a sense of more definition in their confident muscularity. The songs are heavier, more brooding in places perhaps, and the atmosphere is more intoxicating, often creepy and evil, but you just can't look away. In fact, more likely than not, you will join the droves flocking to the forbidden shrine, an ever growing following that garnered BOC headline status when they toured the album. And boy were they ready for it! When Secret Treaties hit the streets in April '74, the Cult had gained a ton of creative energy to go with their growing experience and commercial potential. energy that translated beautifully onto the album and live shows.

When this thing takes off, it's hard to imagine anything cooler than Eric Bloom's unremorseful vocal delivery and Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser's graceful destruction of all innocence. Joe Bouchard provides the getaway car and brother Albert pounds away to reinforce each snarling promise. And let's not forget Allen Lanier's cross-eyed psycho of an organ-riff to kick off this "Career of Evil". The whole album is just ridiculously good, and all songs are basically on the same level with the final two tracks stretching the Cult's image and ability to the extreme, especially Eric Bloom, who perfected his voice to fit the music perfectly. In fact, Buck Dharma doesn't sing lead on any tracks and Al Bouchard steps in on two (although both supply those unique, creepy backing vocals). Dharma will stay busy melting your face off instead with that trademark suit (the infamous "Tony Orlando" look), white Gibson SG combo. One mark of a classic album is difficulty selecting the "highlights" and that sure is the case here; I can think of something important that each track brings to the table. I will leave it at that as to maintain some integrity, haha.

Progressive fans will most likely find this the most interesting of BOC's albums, along with the follow-up live album "On Your Feet or On Your Knees." Allen Lanier's ability on keys has improved noticeably, now adding an important depth to the mix. The best example being the Moog synthesizer leads on "Flaming Telepaths", a dark and reflective tale of addiction. The cd reissue features more heavy rock pearls that couldn't make the original vinyl. They don't quite reach the same quality as the album tracks, but add to the overall package nicely, bringin' more good times and a somewhat lighter atmosphere than much of the LP (well.maybe not so much on "Mommy", that one isn't as nice as the title suggests ;). The single version of "Born to be Wild" has nothing on the live one, but that's no slight because the live interpretation is the definitive version of the song (yes, even edging out Steppenwolf's original). I feel as though cheating the excellent tracks by not mentioning and describing each one but I'd be here for hours.just go buy the thing and put it on if you want a good time.

Oh yeah, I didn't even discuss how "prog" it is.actually now that I think about it, I did that on purpose. 'But c'mon, this is a prog site!' Hah. Personally, I don't care at all.okay then I'll take a star off the rating just for PA because purists and of course elitists may not like Blue Oyster Cult. Their loss.

PA rating : 4.25/5

The Jimmy Row Factor : 9.5/10, A

jimmy_row | 4/5 |


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