Album Review: Blue Oyster Cult – The Symbol Remains (Frontiers Music srl)

By: Jesse Striewski

After years of multiple reissues and live albums from Blue Oyster Cult, I was thrilled to finally be able to critique some actual new material from the band, who I’ve always considered extremely underrated. And I was even more glad to discover the band’s first new studio effort since 2001 wasn’t a total dud.

Album opener “That Was Me” is reminiscent of such heavier tracks in the band’s catalogue as “See You in Black.” Seeing former drummer Albert Bouchard make a welcomed appearance in the video (playing cowbell, of course!) for the song was a definite nice touch as well. Further singles like “Box in my Head” and “Tainted Blood” (the first number from the band to be sung by current guitarist Richie Castellano) are less effective.

But the real highlights here come in the form of the experimental; “Florida Man” and “Secret Road” are in a category all their own, while “Nightmare Epiphany” (my personal favorite) and “Edge of the World” are the strongest tracks overall. Even if you’ve never listened to a BOC album a day in your life, this isn’t a bad starting point.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Album Review – Blue Oyster Cult: Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014 (Frontiers Music srl)

B.O.C.

By: Jesse Striewski

Blue Oyster Cult have always been terribly underrated in my book, and I tend to forget just how much I actually like them until I go back and give their music another listen. I was fortunate enough to catch the band live once a few years before this album was recorded, and I was reminded just how good they are live after listening to this.

Although somewhat puzzling why they chose to wait six years to release the audio for this live effort, the quality here is top notch. All of the expected hits are of course here, including “Burnin’ For You,” “Godzilla,” and “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” But aside from the usual suspects, the tracks that stick out most are the ones you’re not likely to hear on the radio anytime soon; “The Red and the Black,” “Shooting Shark,” and a 10-minute rendition of “Then Came the Last Days of May” are all stellar. But hands down the track that sticks out the most goes to the epic “I Love the Night.”

I would have liked to have seen a few more of my personal favorites make their way in here as well, including somewhat forgotten classic “Joan Crawford,” and the slightly more modern “See You in Black.” Still, there’s seventeen nearly flawless tracks found here, and very little to complain about.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars