Blue Oyster Cult was [is] one of my favorite bands in my younger years, and after discovering them in the early 80s, and keeping up for years with new albums, and the odd live show, there became a big gap. There was the “Heaven Forbid” album in ’98, which I didn’t get into at the time, and I subsequently neglected to take much notice of 2001’s “Curse Of The Hidden Mirror”. And then there was nothing – for years! It was Joe Bouchard’s debut solo album in 2009 [“Jukebox In My Head”] that got me re-enthused about BOC. Jukebox was/is a fantastic album. And, from there I kept up with Joe’s recordings, and started filling in my BOC collection with CDs, and a few live releases. But 2020 looks like it is going to be THE year for Blue Oyster Cult fans! A long list of live releases, reissues, and a brand new album – ALL this year! Signing to Frontiers Music, so far there had been 3 live releases [4th one due in a week or 2], a trio of vinyl reissues [of albums not originally seen on LP], and a brand new studio album being planned for later this year as well. And if anything I’ve learned over the last several years of “limited edition” new vinyl is that If you snooze you lose! Thus, I dragged my feet for the first half of this year, and the 3LP of “Live In Cleveland 2014” and the 2 reissues are gone! But I have listened to the live releases, and pulled out my CD copy of “Heaven Forbid” [on the lookout for the vinyl].
First the live albums…. Blue Oyster Cult, for many years has been Donald Roeser [aka Buck Dharma] and Eric Bloom, and longtime members Richie Castellano [keyboards, guitar], Jules Radino [drums], and Danny Miranda [bass – who returned a few years back to replace Kasim Sulton]. Live In Cleveland 2014 came out in January, featuring 17 tracks. What I like about these releases is that the band doesn’t stick to the same dozen hits every show. This show is probably the most career-wide spanning, touching on most of the band’s albums up until 1983’s “The Revolution By Night”. Out next was the band’s 2016 – 40th Anniversary performance of “Agents of Fortune”. A solid performance, which featured Albert Bouchard guesting on a number of songs [on guitar & vocals], no Joe Bouchard, but Richie Castellano does a fine performance of Joe’s “Morning Final”. One of my favorite BOC albums; it was the band’s commercial breakthrough and huge success – due to “Don’t Fear The Reaper” being a huge hit.
“iHeart Radio Theater” came out in June; it’s from a 2012 show, featuring 11 tracks [omitting many of the earlier tracks from the Cleveland show], but the sound is fantastic on this one, got this one in the car CD player cranked up – The Vigil, Black Blade, Cities On Flame, Godzilla…. a killer show. Next up is the band’s 45th Anniversary show from 2017 [London, again], and it’s a pretty amazing show, with the band performing the debut album from 1972, entirely. Again, the performance and sound is great, and it’s cool to hear those earliest songs updated, and a reminder of just how great that album [as a whole] really was — Transmaniacon MC, Then Came The Last Days Of May, Screams [w/ Richie on vocals], … classic stuff! I hope there’s more of these releases in the future [perhaps one of the reunion shows – featuring Albert & Joe and/or Allen Lanier [RIP]. I also wish a few of my other favorite bands would take such a step to release a set of archived live shows].
Back to the reissued releases – there’s the band’s last 2 studio albums Heaven Forbid  and Curse of The Hidden Mirror [2001. I actually don’t have a copy of this at present, though a signed print of the artwork from album artist Ioannis hangs in our house – both were reissued on LP/CD from Frontiers, as well as 1994’s “Cult Classics”. Cult Classic is a 14 track set of BOC classics re-corded by the band, which also [at the time] featured Allen Lanier, as well as Jon Rogers [bass], and Chuck Burgi [drums]. I really wasn’t keen on Cult Classic when I got it in ’94, and still ain’t, but oh well, I get that many will like the updated sound. I’ll pull these out and revisit for another post [they’ll be in the car the next few weeks, along with Joe Bouchard’s new CD!]. Also coming out in August is the compilation “The Best of Blue Oyster Cult : Don’t Fear The Reaper” – reissued on translucent red vinyl via Friday Records; 16 tracks covering the albums up until 1983.
To top 2020 off Blue Oyster Cult have recorded and preparing a brand new studio album for an October release [on Frontiers], titled “The Symbol Remains” [see press release below] . Alongside the reissues, live albums, and new albums by former members – There is a great pile of BOC to pick up and check out this year! Despite the problems in this year, at least we have plenty of Blue Oyster Cult to enjoy.
THE SYMBOL REMAINS:
“Blue Oyster Cult return with a mammoth new studio album “The Symbol Remains“ this October. Coming nearly two decades after the release of their last studio album “Curse of the Hidden Mirror,” the album showcases a band who hasn’t been slowed by the time passed, but is simply unfazed by it. “The Symbol Remains” is one of their most spirited, diverse, and inspired releases to date.
As the saying goes, “good things come to those who wait” and the 14 new songs on display here embody that. Fans will be delighted with an extremely inspired album which ultimately sounds like a band looking back at their storied catalog and giving the fans a bit of everything they’ve ever loved about BÖC, while simultaneously continuing to evolve.
Blue Oyster Cult are best known for their massive singles “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” “Burnin’ for You,” and “Godzilla.” Riff-heavy and head-banging while intelligently hook-laden, the band remains a constant touring presence and as relevant as ever. Pioneering the heavy metal style while providing inspiration to psychedelic jam bands and arena rockers alike, genre-benders Blue Oyster Cult are a widely respected classic rock band with a storied catalog., BÖC has been covered by everyone from Metallica and HIM to moe, which showcases the wide range influence of their music. ”
*If I’ve omitted any releases of interest or to give your 2 cents on these releases – drop me a comment.