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Blue Öyster Cult - Fire Of Unknown Origin (1990) Retail CD
Written off by ill informed rock "critics" as being a 70's dinosaur band BOC showed on this, their finest album, that they could produce thrilling, intelligent hard rock for the 80's with a breadth and variety that none of their contemporaries could match. This 1981 release finds BOC at their peak combining their unique brand of heavy rock with the best of their late 70's melodic approach that worked so gloriously on albums like "Agents of Fortune" and "Spectres". With the fantastic synths of Allan Lanier to the fore blending with the superb guitar of Donald Roeser this album sounded like no othermore… back in '81 and was such a huge commercial success in the States that BOC were catapulted into stadium rock giants. This success was built mainly on the top ten singles Burnin' For You and Joan Crawford that ensured BOC were a radio smash at a time when America was still into Disco. Burnin' For You is unquestionably a classic rock/pop crossover with a killer chorus, a reggae tinged beat and the kind of tight, economic playing that BOC had become masters of, but for all it's rock savvy, melodic structure and hook lines it's still a song about Satanism! BOC slipped that one under the wire for sure! And in these days where we know all about the American "Christian Right" attempts to censor Marilyn Manson and Ozzy Osbourne it just goes to show the intelligence and subtlety of BOC's songwriting approach that they could score such a huge hit with a subject they had always dabbled in - Hot Rails To Hell, 7 Screaming Diz Busters, Divine Wind for example - though more on a level of parody than actual goat sacrifices.
That's not to say they weren't able to cause nationwide outrage with their choice of Joan Crawford as Burnin's follow up single. Inspired by "Mommy Dear" the bestselling biography of the famous but recently deceased Hollywood actress - penned by her own daughter Christina who revealed a lurid tail of alcoholism, drug abuse and physical and mental cruelty that stunned America - BOC wrote a delicious rocker with a classical piano intro that cast Crawford as a vampiric succubus who would rise from the grave to take revenge on the daughter who had destroyed her iconic status as one of America's Hollywood "royalty". It was all gloriously tongue in cheek iconoclasm - although Eric Bloom's distorted vocals evoking the ghostly Crawford intoning "Christina....Mother's home" are genuinely unsettling - but when the single was being pressed BOC's choice of artwork for it caused a scandal, firstly with their record company who refused to sanction it and then across Middle America when pictures of the offending art were leaked to the press. The resulting moral indignation swept the nation and gave BOC the kind of publicity money cannot buy with the result that Joan Crawford crashed into the top ten and the band gained a notoriety that was only matched by their record sales. The offending artwork? A mock up of Joan Crawford's headstone with a woman's hand stretching out of the grave having written in blood "has risen from the grave" under the inscription! Ok it's shamelessly tacky but that's BOC's humour for you -something that set them apart from the bombastic pretence of contemporaries like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest - which meant they always retained a healthy cynicism and satirical bite that was truly unique in the overblown world of heavy rock.
The two singles aside this album has many classic Cult songs from the gonzoid metal of (duh) Heavy Metal that riffs with a fury, the title track's unsettling deathly poetry and atmospheric synth riff, the driving spite fuelled rock of Vengeance, the radio friendly harmonies of Sole Survivor that sounds rather like Asia but deals with a post apocolyptic world in keeping with the Cold War tensions and anxieties of the time, the classy synth drenched After Dark and once again a collaboration with sci-fi/fantasy author Michael Moorcock on the impressive Veteran of The Psychic Wars with its pounding tribal drums and blistering lead guitar. Based on an obscure Moorcock novel "The Blood Red Game" this is one of the band's most impressive "futuristic" epics and the live version on BOC's "Extraterrestrial Live" is simply sensational.
A class act a classic album and an essential purchase for any fan of original rock music and one in the eye for the naysayers who preen themselves on "cool" bands who have no substance. The original Cult and still the best by a country mile you'll still be playing this album in ten years and marvelling at its ingenuity, its variety, its dark humour, killer riffs and sheer bravado.
|1||Fire of Unknown Origin|
|2||Burnin' for You|
|3||Veteran of the Psychic Wars|
|5||Heavy Metal: the Black and Silver|
|6||Vengeance (The Pact)|
|9||Don't Turn Your Back|
- Blue Öyster Cult - Fire Of Unknown Origin (1990) Retail CD
- 1200 x 1200 px
- 846 KB
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- 05/01/12 by pontiacc
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