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Blue Öyster Cult Secret Treaties album cover
4.16 | 345 ratings | 30 reviews | 40% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Career of Evil (4:00)
2. Subhuman (4:38)
3. Dominance and Submission (5:22)
4. ME 262 (4:47)
5. Cagey Cretins (3:16)
6. Harvester of Eyes (4:41)
7. Flaming Telepaths (5:19)
8. Astronomy (6:28)

Total Time 38:31

Bonus tracks on Columbia remaster (2001):
9. Boorman the Chauffeur (outtake) (3:12) *
10. Mommy (outtake) (3:32) *
11. Mes Dames Sarat (outtake) (4:06) *
12. Born to Be Wild (1974 single B-side) (3:40)
13. Career of Evil (1974 single version) (3:00)

* Previously unreleased

Total Time 56:08

Line-up / Musicians

- Eric Bloom / lead vocals, guitar, keyboards
- Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser / lead guitar, vocals
- Allen Lanier / co-lead (11) & rhythm guitars, keyboards, Moog
- Joseph Bouchard / bass, vocals
- Albert Bouchard / drums, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Ron Lesser with John Berg (design)

LP Columbia ‎- KC 32858 (1974, US)

CD CBS ‎- CDCBS 32055 (1989, Europe)
CD Columbia ‎- CK 85480 (2001, US) Remastered by Vic Anesini with 5 bonus tracks

Thanks to andrea cortese for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Secret Treaties ratings distribution

(345 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(40%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Secret Treaties reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I think that Secret Treaties is the most important and representative album of the so called "black and white period" in the Blue Oyster Cult's discography. Not to say they are one of the most favourite bands of mine 'cause their genuine and polite hard rock sound well balanced with delicate arrengements, intriguing lyrics and concepts and even with sparkling variations. It's not prog, obviously, but it smells of it, often.

That's quite normally accepted by many of their followers, especially for their third record Secret Treaties, where the choice toward keyboards are more clear and evident. Allen Lanier found one of the first moog synthesizers and was fascinated at the point he useed it to build the memorable excursion on the highlight "Flaming Telepaths".

This is an album that features also the contribution of singer-songwriter Patti Smith who had fallen in love with a certain member...and helped in writing the opening piece "Career of Evil".

In this album you can find one of the most aggressive and fiery pieces from the hot electric guitar of Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser: the fascinating "Dominance and Submission" while the main contribution of Erik Bloom is the most introvert "Subhuman".

On all the immortal "Astronomy" from the pen of drummer Albert Bouchard and his brother, the bassist Joseph. An anguishing piece of art with wonderful lyrics by Sandy Pearlman and melancholic piano introduction.

This is a must have, clearly. No doubt about that.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Yes!Yes!and Yes! I was intimidated into foolishly believing that this immortal non-prog recording would never see the light of day on this cherished site. Ah! the true progressive spirit demands of its fans to go out there beyond the stars and find new planets and cultures. Just like Star Trek! There are only 2 non-prog albums in my desert island selection (of which there are 50): Robin Trower's intoxicatingly majestic "Bridge of Sighs" and this sly, greasy , sweaty recording by the Blue Oyster Cult. The band is unfortunately focused on the "one song-that's it- syndrome", whereby "Don't Fear the Reaper" seems to be the only stop. Wrong! BOC has tons of brilliant proggish compositions littered thoughout their initial discography , of which no finer testament exists than this priceless jewel. "Career of Evil" has been regularly appearing in my mindless yet loud riff exhortations (Yeah! "Smoke On the Water")because its nasty guitar fueled rhythm is simply devastating. Simple, rude, sarcastic , metallic, very New York . The crown jewel here is the blistering and theatrical "Dominance & Submission" , shuttled by a driving pace and topped off with a ridiculously tortuous Buck Dharma salvo. Downright frightening! And the brilliance does not fade there , the last three cuts pushing the pedal to the metal..... No prisoners taken, heady rock music , with synths to boot . In many ways, BOC is a lot more progressive than meets the eye , but the first 6-7 albums in the 70" s were really as-kickingly good entertainment, loaded with amazing rythms, a very unique and highly ingenious sound , pre-"The Wall" symbolism (that foolishly and erroneously caused a neo-fascist labelling) and memorable compositions. And of course, don't forget that the real reaper was Buck Dharma's legendary guitar. Thank you for including this worthy iconoclast. 5 crosshookers
Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This band is not your typical heavy metal group of the 1970s. They used to be called "intellectual metal" band due to highly elaborated lyrical images of horror and sci-fi, sound and production design. The third album "Secret Treaties" brought them close to the progressive rock audience, because it contains excellent songs, wonderful melodic solo parts of guitars and keyboards, confident performance and progressive arrangements. Highlights include "Dominance and Submission", "Flaming Telepaths" and "Astronomy", while semi-hit "Career of Evil" was penned by punk diva Patti Smith. Even the weakest and rather mediocre hard rocking' track "ME262" makes a meaningful break between the two sides of the album, which flows almost uninterrupted from start to finish. Then, you are prompted to start it all over again. Is there a better way to recommend this excellent work? And yes, the listeners of "progressive metal" are very much advised to listen to this album - they might be witnessing the very "proto" of their beloved genre!
Review by micky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars taking a break from Battiato to indulge a favorite.

Oh I've wanted to do a review of this one since that fateful day the mighty B.O.C. were inducted into the hallowed halls of ProgArchives. Along with my friend Andrea this is my favorite of the 3 'Black and White' albums. They might not have been what some here consider prog (shhh.. might have a bit to do with being American hahhahah ).. but if interesting clever arrangments with significant prog moments, great musicianship, and thoughtful and downright prog-like nature of the lyrics are your thing which of course they are... you're a prog fan right. Then Secret Treaties should be your point of call if you want to see what the fuss is about with BOC and why they are here. . It may not be deemed prog by the site.. and taking the whole career into account... then they shouldn't be.. but this album is close. Astronomy and Flaming Telepaths willl jazz up any self respecting progger.

5 stars... close enough to prog for any open-minded prog fan. Simply a fabulous album, with possible exception of ME 262, from start to finish. HIGHLY recommended.

Michael (aka micky)

Review by b_olariu
4 stars I will begin like BobFrank on my review, nice and catchy tunes but not a masterpiece and not a prog album in my opinion, only fiew passages here and there but as a whole sounds sometimes like hard rock tipical for early '70. For sure is a good album, and has very good lyrics , but not one of the milestones albums from prog. They have to do more with hard-heavy side, in the years to come they become one of the intetlectual band from metal, and it's clear that is the main purpose here, not to sound like a prog band (for ex. Genesis) but not to sound like heavy bands from early '70 (Black Sabbath), they've done a mixture and the result is Secret treaties. In fact i think that this album has a typical american sound. So, highlights include "Dominance and Submission", "Flaming Telepaths and the Cagey Cretins. Worth listening, 3,5 rounded to 4.
Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The third chapter of BOC's so-called 'black-and-white trilogy' is rightly seen by many as the band's finest hour. Indeed, though during their long, venerable career the mighty New Yorkers have released a number of good albums, none of them are as solid and consistent as "Secret Treaties" - which vies with its predecessor, "Tyranny and Mutation", for the title of best ever BOC effort.

While the somewhat boring, lacklustre "ME 262" (the plane depicted on the cover) is widely held to be the weakest track the album, and "Cagey Cretins" is a catchy but ultimately inoffensive tune, the closing trio of songs raise ST to stellar levels once again. "Harvester of Eyes" boasts some of the most chilling lyrics ever written by the band (which is no mean feat), and an hypnotic, synth-laden tune; while "Flaming Telepaths" sounds like a skewed, pitch-black love song. However, "Astronomy", with its wistful piano intro, powerful, almost operatic musical crescendo, and cryptic, thought-provoking lyrics, is surely the defining track of the album, and one of the band's highest moments.

The 2001 remastered edition of ST contains three unreleased songs (quite pleasant, but not on a par with the rest of the disc), plus the single version of "Career of Evil", and BOC's cracking take on Steppenwolf's legendary "Born to Be Wild" - probably the best cover of the song among the many available so far. However, as good as those bonus tracks may be, they are just the icing on a cake that is already extremely tasty as it is.

Though "Secret Treaties" may be seen as more hard-rock than prog, it is definitely one of the classic albums of the Seventies - intelligent, well-crafted, passionate music performed by a unique band at the top of their game. Approach with an open mind, and you'll be rewarded.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The peak of a career of evil

While best known by most for their immortal smash hit (Don't Fear) The Reaper of their best selling Agents of Fortune album, fans will almost always shrug that one off and point at this as their favorite Blue Oyster Cult [BOC] album. The third and final album in the band's opening trio (the black and white era), this album epitomizes everything that made those albums great and takes the entire being of their music to the stratosphere. Propelled by rocking riffs, haunting keys and very evil lyrics (and vocals), this is a decidedly non-prog album (but close! So close...) that no prog fan should miss out on.

What puts this album so high above it's brethren is a number of things. Almost every BOC album will have everything that was mentioned in the previous paragraph, but this one is a paragon of everything their other albums did well. While their debut disc showed a band with promise and the sophomore showed a huge lean towards the heavy, fast and dark with a great maturity in lyrics this album is a greater leap. The playing is tight, the lyrics are chilling and well thought out and there's not a weak track to be had on the album (something BOC are usually guilty of). In fact, this album hosts a multitude of songs that (while lesser known) are probably the best in the band's entire career.

In my review for the band's debut I noted that Eric Bloom had not yet found his ''voice'' yet. Well, while he found it on their second outing, it's very clear that here the man knows what he's doing. In the rare case of Bloom voicing just about every track on the album (Only Laneir steps in for a moment on the third and fifth tracks), but while other members definitely had voices for specific types of songs, Bloom's was certainly the best choice for this album. Emotional, powerful, moving. Bloom really decided to let loose here, as evident on songs like the chilling tale of Subhuman

Synths pack an extra punch on the album behind the trio guitars of Bloom, Lanier and Dharma, another thing that separates this album from their others. This is also a big thing that will entice the prog heads! Yes, they use this instrument quite well on the album as evident with the pressing yet almost floating keys that open Career Of Evil. Another part where these keys really make an impact is after the stellar drum wailing that opens the terrifying Flaming Telepaths.

As usual, the band excels when heavy and fast, laying on the rock. As evident in songs like the jet-powered ME 262 with its frantic pace in the harmonized vocals, and the rocking riff of Dominance And Submission is only made better by the breakdowns which have Bloom's voice (effectively and dissonantly) cutting off the backing vox.

And while the first half of the album is very very strong the second half simply blows the first half out of the water. Cagey Cretins is a scorching opener with tight playing and solos from one mr. Dharma, but that's only the start. Harvester Of Eyes is a surprisingly upbeat considering it's lyrics are some of the most twisted ever written by a human being. Or a harvester of eyes for that matter. Flaming Telepaths takes that evil, however, and just makes it all the more scary. Bloom's vocals are soft and emotional to open the frantic piece of work that is the track but soon move into the darker territories. Those synths don't let down and the backing piano only adds more mood to something that just keeps getting better until it reaches its climax which is inhabited by a wonderful tradeoff piano-synth solo along with the repeated hook (''And the joke's on you!'').

Astronomy is likely the most ''progressive'' song the band has ever record and its caliber is right up their with the more catchy The Reaper. A 20+ minute epic captured in a mere 6:28 with it's soft and peaceful piano opening leading into it's spine chilling end in which Bloom's vocals punch as hard as being hit by a bus, this track is simply put - stunning.

Though perhaps not progressive this album comes pretty darn close. Regardless, this album is completely essential to anyone who likes anything even slightly heavy. The material on the album also warrants enough of a prog feel thanks to it's many layers, complexities, mini-epics, synths and wonderful writing. 5 stars! Recommended to each and every person who fancies music.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars I'm surprised at how much this band has matured on this their third release. A big part of that may have been them spending the winter months (1973/74) together in a cottage on Long Island rehearsing and composing these songs.

"Career Of Evil" was co-written with "punker" Patti Smith. Organ and drums lead the way with vocals. This is a good catchy mid paced opener. "Subhuman" is even better. The bass, drums and reserved vocals create a place I like to be in. Tasteful guitar 2 minutes in with vocal melodies. Love the guitar 3 minutes in as well. Great track. "Dominate And Submission" seems to be influenced by Patti Smith because the guitars have that "Punk" sound and aggression at times. It rocks out pretty good 4 minutes in with both organ and guitar ripping it up. "ME 262" reminds me of both Alice Cooper and David Bowie at times. Another aggressive, uptempo tune. "Cagey Cretins" is the third rocker in a row and my favourite of the three. I like the vocals and organ on this one. The drumming is relentless. "Harvester Of Eyes" gets better as it plays out. I like the guitar before 2 minutes as he starts to let loose. After 3 1/2 minutes it slows down and the guitar grinds away. Nice.

"Flaming Telepaths" opens with some good piano and drums before the vocals arrive and they're great. Piano comes and goes. An outburst of synths 2 1/2 minutes in and the guitar is a highlight both 3 minutes in and especially to end it. "Astronomy" has got to be in the top three of their all time best songs. This one just stands out from the rest of the songs on this record. It's too bad they all weren't this good. Piano to start as vocals come in and they're amazing. A full sound 2 minutes in. This is such an incredible passage as the vocals get more passionate. It calms back down with organ melodies. This contrast continues. Guitar lights it up 5 1/2 minutes in to the end.

For most this is their best album, and I have to agree with the majority but I still feel these guys are second rate when compared to the Metal heavyweights from this era.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars By music critics this third album is the best or in fact the peak of their career. It's probably the band started to transform themselves into something more commercial in nature as the hard rock side is now becoming softer. In my opinion this album is not better or weaker than the previous two. As far as distribution of good tracks in the album, this one is probably much more widespread, not focusing on one or two tracks as best cuts. The remastered edition of first four albums under Columbia/Legacy label includes lyrics, photos, and liner notes by Lenny Kaye. The good thing is there are five bonus tracks, three of which were previously unreleased. Secret Treaties was recorded in early 1974 and released in April with the same producer as the first two albums: by Murray Krugman and Sandy Pearlman.

Secret Treaties is one of trilogy referred to as black-and-white period. The opening Career of Evil is probably considered as one of the band's catchiest track even though the lyrics are quite nasty. ".I want your wife to be my baby tonight / I choose to steal what you chose to show.". Subhuman, and Flaming Telepaths, are things about devil. And it all ends with the nice astrological ballad, Astronomy.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars This third release shows a heavier BÖC than previously. I was quite surprised that this album should be considered as their proggiest effort. As far as I'm concerned, it is raw, energetic and wild. And I quite like it for some reasons.

The first reason is linked with the fine rocking opener: ''Career Of Evil''. The lyrics were written by Patti, only a year prior to her GIGANTIC ''Horses'' album. Just a phrase out of this song ''I'd like to do it to your daughter on a dirt road''. No surprise if you have ever listened to her version of ''Gloria'' which is just sulphurous. I became one of the ''no more heroes'' generation in '78 but there are two exceptions: Jimi (Hendrix) and Patti (Smith). For lots of different reasons of course.

This album holds some really great rock music, rather straight forward like during ''Dominance & Submission'' or ''Cagey Cretins''. ''Me 262'' is quite a punkish song avant la lettre (a year or so as far as the New York scene is concerned, but they opened the fire).

When one listens to ''Harvester Of Eyes'', the power of ''Born To Be Wild'' is not far away. It is true to say that a song as ''Flaming Telepaths'' holds some very thin prog elements (synths, piano), that it is diversified and extremely well balanced, it is the most emotional track of this very good album. No other one features such a fine guitar break as during this song. Great music.

To tell you the truth, I far much prefer to listen to this type of albums than to any of the so called (prog) metal genre available. Four stars.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars A secret cult treatise of astronomy

As probably most people on this site would agree, the early 70's were a truly remarkable period in music history. Almost all my favourite bands released their best albums between 1971 and 1975. We can conclude that those were really amazing years for rock music in general and for progressive rock in particular. Blue Öyster Cult is certainly not among my favourite bands, and neither are they a Prog band. But the progressive climate of those years influenced a lot of Rock music, even on the 'other' side of the Atlantic. Blue Öyster Cult too released their best and probably most progressive influenced album - Secret Treaties - in this golden period of the first half of the 70's. But even their best album is hardly essential for the Prog fan to explore.

Compared to the weak first two Blue Öyster Cult albums, Secret treaties represented a major step forward for the band. The songs are much more memorable and melodious.

Some people have called Blue Öyster Cult 'the American Black Sabbath'. Personally, I think that any such comparison is completely out of place and altogether misleading. The only reason this comparison came up was probably that the two bands toured together at some point. Musically, however, Blue Öyster Cult is a completely different beast. Often close to straightforward Rock 'n' Roll, Glam Rock and even Proto-Punk (Punk was not yet invented at this point), Blue Öyster Cult was miles away from the doom laden, dark, and much more progressive British Heavy Metal of Black Sabbath.

Secret Treatise has mostly good songs but the only song that stands out as great for me is Astronomy. Astronomy is a Rock classic. The rest of the album is, as I said before, a mix between straightforward Rock 'n' Roll, Glam Rock and Proto-Punk. A couple of Moog solos do not make this into Prog by any means but it adds a nice touch.

This album is the best by Blue Oyster Cult and worth having and, but hardly essential for the average Prog fan.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Third and most important album from BOC, at least as far as progheads are concerned, because most of the general public will tell you, the upcoming albums will sell a lot more albums. While ST is considered in BOC's B&W trilogy (and before the double live inter- chapter album), this album is sensibly different to its predecessor. First it's sooooo much netter in terms of material, but it's also an album where Lanier's KB are making a difference, hence the proghead's approval. Unchanged line-up, label and producer, the album is again with a B&W (along with some red) artwork presenting an early supersonic military airplane. The songwriting is again fairly democratic and producer Pearlman still "interferes" in four tracks, but strangely enough, it is drummer Albert Bouchard that gets five credits

Starting on Bouchard's Career Of Evil and a solid dose of Lanier's organ, the album might just be considered their proggier ones of the 70's, the album is off to a blazing lift off, especially with the superb follow-up Subhuman and then the blazing guitar-laden Dominance & Submision. Only the slightly weaker semi-title track (ME 262 is the Messerschimidt reactor airplane of the artwork), but there is no other tracks that can come close to the album's title.

The flipside's opener Cretins is thankfully short, and despite ending well Harvester Of Eyes isn't that successful either, but the album closes on two all-time BOC classics. Indeed Telepaths (some piano in BOC?) and especially the album-lengthier Astronomy are both linked together and the latter's superb piano intro and mid-tempo melody and superb mid- section?. It's a killer.

The remastered reissue comes with a colourized version of the artwork and a bunch of bonus tracks, but I have never heard them. While I would certainly not call ST a prog classic, it's certainly their most preferred with the public preferred, like Argus, Rising, Paranoid are in their respective discography.

Review by friso
3 stars Blue Oyster Cult's first three album have a certain flair, but all fail to deliver a high-fi rock experience due to poor recording and mixing. 'Secret Treaties' does however represent a high-light in de bands early career because of the strong run of great creative (hard)rocksongs with pop and psychedelic influences. The band flirted with the heavy metal genre label, but ended up nowhere near the intensity of even early Black Sabbath. Perhaps Blue Oyster cult anno '74 is closest in sound to Spirit's 'Twelve Dreams' record. As many groups of the mid-seventies the band has a significant influence of glamour (mainly in the cheeky vocals), though the band never becomes a gimmick. The song-writing is catchy and the overall atmosphere is rather innocent, but the band does deliver some fine memorable heavy riffs. The last two songs of the album are probably most interesting for fans of progressive rock. For a more progressive record in the same vein I would recommend the first 'Captain Beyond' album, which was also released in 1972.
Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Blue Oyster Cult's third is a pleasant collection of songs that sits somewhere between classic rock with mild hard rock and progressive elements. It's all very pleasant, innocent and inoffensive but parts of it have aged badly. Other moments have remained fresh even a good 30 years after its release.

The opening track is a lovely groovy rock song with a catchy main riff and the kind of chorus you're humming along with before you're even through with your first listen. The guitar is very harmless, a bit like Ritchie Blackmore who forgot to put the distortion on. Subhuman is another mild melancholic rocker with nice melodies and some exciting riffery. Dominance and Submission has a bit more punch, it's a kind of mix of blues boogie and country. The entrancing middle section reminds me slightly of Hawkwind.

With ME 262 the album loses its tension, it's straightforward pop-rock that has aged badly to my 80's raised ears here. Cagey Cretins is better again. At their best moment this band has all the groove, melody and punch you want in a rock band. At the more psychedelic moments like around minute 2, early Hawkwind comes to mind again.

Harvester of Eyes is country rock and probably an adequate song if you're into that style, Flaming Telepaths is another one that makes me reach for the skip button. The best sits at the end. Astronomy is a great melancholic rock epic that should please most prog fans who are into 70's classic rock.

This is a more then average 70's rock album and probably BOC's best, but even within prog-related, it's just a pleasant, innocent and inoffensive 3 stars.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars After a good debut and a decent follow-up BOC released their third album that I think still remains one of their best. For me it was the second that I have bought after the debut so I'm used to think to it as to the follow.up to the debut.

Effectively I think this is more similar to the debut than Tyranny and Mutations. "Career of Evil" is a slow-rock song. I'm a Patti Smith fan and as many probably know she had a relation with the keyboardist Allan Lanier and has also guested on Agents of Fortune. I think that the influence of BOC to Patti Smith's music is evident and this song reminds me to her a lot.

"Subhuman" starts when the previous ends. Also on the vinyl the two tracks are almost gapless. It's a dark bluesy song. I think that who was calling them the American Black Sabbath was not wrong. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath has a similar musical mood.

Then it comes my favorite track. "Domninance and Submission" is the first truly Rock song: speed tempo, good vocals, non-trivial chords, changes in signature and most of all the exciting coda with the background singers growing up with "Dominance" and Eric Bloom crying "Submission" each time more desperate and the final guitar solo

"ME 262" Starts as a Rock and Roll song, well, it's a rock and roll song, effectively. But it has something more inside. The falling bombs, the noises and the guitar sounding like a war siren are not just "rock and roll".

Side B now..."Cagey Cretins" is in advance with the times. It's a sort of proto-punk song. Like if the Ramones were able to play an instrument....(I don't say they weren't, they were just very able to hide their skills behind their punk). However it's also a respectable heavy metal track.

"Harvester Of Eyes" has again a dominant rock and roll flavor but it's a dark and sometimes grotesque song. The fact that all the songs can be played with no gaps should be appealing to proggers. Excellent guitar riff.

"Flaming Telepaths" is the darkest song of the album. And one of the best. "Poisons in my bloodstream.." It's a prelude to the kind of songs that BOC will release later. I think to Agents of Fortune. On this song Lanier and Buck Dharma Roeser make an excellent job.

On the sudden end of the previous track the piano introduces the closer "Astronomy". The most progressive track of the whole album, probably. Slow, based on minor chords with mainly a piano base until the quite hippy chorus. it's a captivating song.

This is my favorite BOC album and I think it can stay in any collection.

Review by Warthur
5 stars The culmination of BOC's early career is the perfect counterpart to Tyranny and Mutation. Where its predecessor was aggressive, heavy, and balls-to-the-wall fast, Secret Treaties is complex, mysterious, and elusive. Drawing heavily on Sandy Pearlman's Imaginos mythology - indeed, Astronomy Subhuman would be rerecorded on the Imaginos album (the latter retitled as Blue Oyster Cult). Beginning with the deceptively simple Career of Evil, the album draws the listener on through increasingly bizarre layers of hinted debauchery and occult conspiracy before culminating in the poetic and bizarre Astronomy. An album which has grown on me bit by bit over the years, until now I am convinced that it is the band's masterpiece.
Review by Sinusoid
4 stars Close your eyes and try to think of the epitome of a hard rock album. This is it for me.

SECRET TREATIES is a wonderful little discovery that offers a bit more than what your standard rock band offers without sacrificing any power or gusto. It's one of those albums that isn't reliant at all on technical proficiency and can produce spine-tingling tracks that bypass that perceived lack of talent. And the whole thing is group effort in terms of writing credits.

As far as prog is concerned, the album sniffs the boundaries at times, most notably the interjection of synths in ''Flaming Telepaths'' and the connection of the tracks on the second side. Sound-wise, BOC have often been compared to Sabbath, but I hear far more Alice Cooper influence in their sound with Steppenwolf slipping in there. Speaking of Steppenwolf, the cover of ''Born to Be Wild'' is dynamite.

There is no mediocre track throughout the main album; only ''Subhuman'' and ''ME 262'' are comparatively not up to par. That great stretch of tracks in the second half is mind-boggling, and ending with the purely epic ''Astronomy'' is nothing to snuff at. Add all of those with the evil-tastic ''Career of Evil'' and the near-perfect rock track ''Dominance and Submission'', and you have one of the best hard rock albums to hit the market.

Review by GruvanDahlman
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.

Review by Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars By 1974, Blue Oyster Cult's fan base was growing and each album saw them picking up even newer fans. They were getting to the point of being able to headline concerts, though not quite to the superstar status and with each level of growth, the band would continue to release albums following similar formulas, but also experimenting with that sound and spending more time developing their music. This was the position the band found itself in when they started putting together their third studio album 'Secret Treaties'. This album would end up reaching the pinnacle of their output by using their musicianship, but relying this time only on the non band members to write their songs.

There was no new talent brought in on this endeavor, instead they concentrated on the strengths that had been successful in their past. On this album, all of the songs were written by lyricists that they had used previously, namely future punker Patti Smith, famous music critic Richard Meltzer and producer Sandy Pearlman. Pearlman would write 5 of the 8 tracks on the album.

The band's line up would remain loyal on this album also. The only real change would be that 'Buck Dharma' Roeser would not do any vocals on this album, this was all left mostly to Eric Bloom who provides vocals on 7 of the 8 tracks leaving drummer Albert Bouchard singing solo on 1 track and sharing lead with Bloom on 2 others. Joe Bouchard would also join them on 'Cagey Cretins'.

The first track on the album is also the one single released from the album, 'Career of Evil', also the one track written by Patti Smith. The album version and the radio version were a bit different however, with lyrics that were more suited for the radio audience of the time, and also Bloom was the only vocalist on the single version where on the album, A. Bouchard shares in the lead vocals. The song has the signature sound that the band was playing at the time, a lot of organ and an evil sounding melody with Buck's guitar interludes spread throughout and a splash of psychedelic undertone.

The next 3 tracks lyrics were written by Pearlman and the previous track flows right into 'Subhuman' with the music credited to only Bloom. It does have the softer edge to it that was more typical of Bloom, but this track also features a memorable riff that separates the verse and bridge. The song is a bit more psychedelic and almost predicts the sound of gothic rock, which BOC seemed to do a lot especially through their first 4 albums. Again, both the keys and the guitar drive the music along with the vocals. Following this is a fan and band favorite 'Dominance and Submission' sung solely by A. Bouchard, which gives the track a harder and rougher sound, which is exactly what this track needs. It immediately sets itself apart with an infectious riff and direct beat with wilder vocals creating a track that could only come from this band along with some excellent guitar at the last part of the track. The first side ends with 'ME 262', named after the aircraft drawn on the cover of the album. This track depends on a heavy rock n roll riff plus a more complex passage separating the verses.

'Cagey Cretins' was written by Meltzer with the music written by A. Bouchard. It is an odd number with the strange vocals of the 3 vocalists combined. This is the only track that wouldn't get revised in later shows. It is based off of a fast beat and an organ riff. This is probably the weakest on the album, but it is still a heavy rocker, but the chorus is just a little strange sounding. Next is another Meltzer track and the lyrics are probably the most eerie and evil of all of the band's lyrics, which is saying a lot. 'Harvester of Eyes' definitely took it's listeners to unsettling territory for its time. The beat is solid and direct. It was music like this that gave the band its cult-like following. Buck Dharma once again gets to show off his guitar skills on this and also on the following track 'Flaming Telepaths'. There is a short interlude with a music box playing a waltz called 'Waves of the Danube' between these two tracks before the controversial lyrics (at the time anyway). The latter track builds some nice tension with its relentless beat and memorable melody. The last track is the huge fan favorite (and also one of my favorite) tracks in BOC's long list of songs, 'Astronomy'. This is one of their most progressive songs and one that most fans will know and revere. Interestingly enough, it is more of a piano-led riff, though there is still some great guitar work here too, but it is one song that stands out even on this excellent album. It is even so popular among fans that the band covered it again on the 'Imaginos' album in 1988, both versions being quite excellent. The track fits easily on both albums and is actually a big part of the concept story of the 'Imaginos' album. It's tracks like this that strengthen the argument that BOC belongs in the progressive rock genre. Its also not very often when a band can revive one of their own classic tracks and turn it also into a classic.

The 2001 CD remaster added 5 bonus tracks to this already near perfect album. The first 3 bonus tracks are outtakes from the album's original sessions. 'Boorman the Chauffeur' is a great rocking track with lyrics and vocals by bassist Joe Bouchard. 'Mommy' is written by Meltzer and with music based off of a boogie riff provided by the bass, and again another track that would have been worthy of the original album, but was left off probably because of the lyrics about the first person thoughts of murdering one's family. 'Mes Dames Sarat' was written by Allen Lanier, the band's keyboardist. It has a solid and driving beat that also fits in with the album quite well. If these are the rejects from the album sessions, then you know you've got quite an album on your hands. These tracks only work to strengthen and support the album. The next bonus track is the cover of Steppenwolf's 'Born to Be Wild' which BOC released as a non-album single and which also became a concert staple for the band even if it never did really well for them in that format. The non-live version is not bad, but would not have felt at home on this album like the outtakes would have. Finally, there is the single version of 'Career of Evil' included, and it's interesting to hear the changed version with only Bloom singing.

This album is one of the high points of BOC's discography and shows them at their peak. Of course, many would argue that most subsequent albums would be more commercial, but I won't deny the fact that I am a huge BOC fan and probably revere most of their albums more than the typical progressive lover, but I tend to find a lot more progressive aspects in many of their albums, thought it might not be 'full-time' as much as other progressive bands. Regardless of that, the band would attain superstar status after the release of this album and future albums. It also is worth your while to find the remastered version of this album with the bonus tracks because the 3 outtakes are also excellent.

Latest members reviews

4 stars The First Is the Best! Yes I know ST is not the first BOC album but it is the first I ever heard by the band back when it was first released. I was an infant in the world of rock at that time having only had 2 other albums: Steppenwolf For Ladies Only which ironically was their progiest album a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2697397) | Posted by Sidscrat | Sunday, March 6, 2022 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of BOC masterpieces where their talent and skills soar to the sky. Compositionally, these folks are miles ahead many other hard rock bands. Finesse in arrangements and music palette are astonishing. For prog-based fans, this is the album to dig into even though only remotely related to pure p ... (read more)

Report this review (#2403640) | Posted by sgtpepper | Wednesday, May 20, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 4: The third album of Blue Oyster Cult, being the proggier effort by the band (as some reviewers said) and considered as their best album. The first song has a starting prog sound however doesnt evolve in something else, is a catchy hard rock song, but the lyrics are not so elaborated. In general ... (read more)

Report this review (#2118535) | Posted by mariorockprog | Tuesday, January 15, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Not a 5 star album, Blue Oyster Cult never could quite release a perfect complete album, but darn close. Classic tracks like "Career of Evil", "Subhuman", "ME262", "Astronomy" are here and they kick the proverbial butt. Only "Cagey Cretins" is a really weak track. The BOC boys were at the top of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#733592) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 3.5; Another reason to hate the middle rating! Definitely above average, the best three I've ever given. Secret Treaties seems to be Blue Oyster Cult's most credited album, especially among more progressive minded people. It is indeed a quite enjoyable album, but nothing to get that excited abo ... (read more)

Report this review (#179299) | Posted by Draith | Saturday, August 9, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#175365) | Posted by jimmy_row | Thursday, June 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is an excellent straight ahead rock album with a couple of proggish elements sprinkled the weird interlude between 'Harvester of Eyes' and 'Flaming Telepaths'. 'Astronomy' is a very kool tune that starts off with light piano and progresses up to a rollicking good tune.... I real ... (read more)

Report this review (#166768) | Posted by digdug | Monday, April 14, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Maybe Blue Oyster Cult's best album I think. I only knew their great hit song Don't fear the ripper. I liked the song. And now not much as yesterday. After hearing Secret Treaties album I was facinated and like the album very much. In fact I purchused this album after reading its high rating on th ... (read more)

Report this review (#165515) | Posted by bspark | Tuesday, April 1, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Nice and catchy with some of the best lyrics and concepts I've ever heard, but it isn't a progressive masterpiece. I enjoyed it for a while, but after listening to the same A-grade lyrics and melodies over and over again, it just became boring. A true progressive masterpiece (something with a clos ... (read more)

Report this review (#134496) | Posted by BobFrank | Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Assimilating an enciclopedic stuff of musical genre (rock and roll, swing, beat, blues-rock, psichedelia, hard rock, sud boogie, honky-tonk), the Blue Oyster Cult grow up in the decadent circles of New York (they are the creature of the journalist Sandy Pearlman, they inventor, producer and c ... (read more)

Report this review (#118784) | Posted by Planet_Gong | Wednesday, April 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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