Album Reviews

Blue Oyster Cult – Cult Classics and Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014 Review

Frontiers Out Now

 

Line-up:

Eric Bloom – lead vocals, stun guitar, keyboards, producer

Donald ‘Buck Dharma’ Roeser – lead guitar, vocals, keyboards, producer

Allen Lanier – keyboards, rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Jon Rogers – bass, backing vocals

Chuck Burgi – drums, percussion, backing vocals

 

Tracklist:

Don’t Fear The Reaper
E.T.I. (Extraterrestrial Intelligence)
M.E. 262
This Ain’t The Summer Of Love
Burning For You
O.D.’D On Life Itself
Flaming Telepaths
Godzilla
Astronomy
Cities On Flame With Rock ‘N’ Roll
Harvester Of Eyes
Buck’s Boogie
Don’t Fear The Reaper (Tv Mix)
Godzilla (Tv Mix)

 

Tracklist:

CD1

Od’d On Life Itself
The Red And The Black
Golden Age Of Leather
Burnin’ For You
Career Of Evil
Shooting Shark
The Vigil
Me262
Buck’s Boogie
Black Blade

CD2

Then Came The Last Days Of May
Godzilla
(Don’t Fear) The Reaper
Harvester Of Eyes
I Love The Night
Hot Rails To Hell
Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll

 

Line-up:

Eric Bloom – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards

Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser – Guitar, Vocals

Richie Castellano – Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals

Jules Radino – Drums, Percussion

Kasim Sulton – Bass Guitar, Vocals

 

 

Every band in the world is on a quest to write that one song that is such an impact it becomes not just an anthem, but a part of the collective of the Universe. In the history of musical time few bands have been able to achieve that status, where as soon as you hear that song, it immediately projects to a different level of consciousness; songs that as soon as you hear that opening lick or even just the title you know, beyond everything else in your soul that this song is the very definition of legendary, a song that propelled that band to the next level of fame. If Blue Öyster Cult never recorded another song in its entire career (of evil) “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” beyond all reckoning, is one of those songs that as soon as that dark and dreamy riff starts you know that song as well as your very skin. Of course, BOC and the fans are lucky that there is a wealth of songs within their storied history that are equally entertaining (and perhaps one of two of those are just a bit shy of the importance of Reaper.)

Blue Öyster Cult is one of those few bands that were able to capture the imaginations of legions of people with their quirky music; they’re one of the few bands that managed to be nerdy and cool at the same time. Can you name another band of this status that can sing about Godzilla and still be taken seriously? I can’t. Frontiers are paying just tribute to BOC with two releases, both of which fairly demonstrate the power of this band. First is a reissue of a reworked greatest hits from 1994 entitled Cult Classics. This “best of” focused on those classic songs from early in their career and the fact that they’ve been re-recorded and still sound great is a testament to the skill of this band. Eric Bloom and Donald Roeser (you may know him as Buck Dharma) are the only remaining members from the classic line-up (Roeser is the only original) and still sounded great even back in 94. The interesting point for me on this reissue was the bonus tracks of “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” and “Godzilla” both labeled TV Mix but are basic instrumental tracks that would be fitting for a karaoke machine. What I found to be so interesting was hearing these songs without the signature vocals. Reaper is still as haunting as ever and stripped of its humorous lyrics Godzilla is a pretty intricate and hard-hitting song.

The second release, and the one most telling of how great this band still is, is a live recording from 2014 in Ohio entitled Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014. This was the same year I got to see them live for the first time, as I recall, and was so taken with how clean they sounded live. To finally hear “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” “Burnin’ For You,” “Godzilla,” “Hot Rails To Hell,” and “Cities On Flame With Rock and Roll” live was indeed a life-changing experience. After years of hearing them on the radio or CD, to see the band pull them off live was a very important event in my life. As I referenced above, some of these songs were ingrained in me, as integral to me as blood and oxygen. This live document allowed me to relive that moment.

I don’t typically review reissued greatest hits and live albums, but this is how important Blue Öyster Cult is to not just my life, but so many others. Often forgotten and left as a side note compared to some other bands of the era, I find that their output is more deserving of discussion than others. Are these the best documents of BOC? Maybe not in the grand scheme of things, but they are both deserving to be added to your collection and deserved a bit of praise. 

 

Written by: Chris Martin

Ratings: 8/10

 

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