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Blue Öyster Cult - Fire Of Unknown Origin CD (album) cover


Blue Öyster Cult


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3.58 | 137 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars "It's time we had some leave, We've been living in the flames..."

'Fire Of Unknown Origin' is one of the Blue Oyster Cult albums that most people agree on, as being one of the band's best. I can concur definitely that the album is very consistent in terms of quality rock and melodic compositions, the sound is terrific and the songs are easy to latch onto and stay in the head. The opening track is blockbuster, being the title track, and one of the all time great BOC songs. I was astonished at how amazing the musicianship is on this after hearing them on the far more inferior singles that have littered rock compilations over the years. BOC are at their best on album tracks I believe, rather than the AOR radio approach akin to Journey or Asia. 'Fire of Unknown Origin' is one of the songs I would say deserves to be on any BOC compilation.

'Burnin' For You' immediately moves into the AOR territory that inevitably the band turn to in their latter years. However this is still a decent melodic song, ad more of a diversion on this album. 'Veteran Of The Psychic Wars' is a track I have heard a number of ties in various forms; it appears on the movie and soundtrack of 'Heavy Metal:The Movie', the adult illustrated magazine movie that I actually saw in a dark, dingy theatre in the 80s. I had forgotten it until a recent listen to Arjen Lucassen's 'Lost in the New Real'. The post metal approach, and very strong lyrics by Michael Moorcock resonate with me; 'Don't let these shakes go on, It's time we had a break from it, It's time we had some leave, We've been living in the flames, We've been eating out our brains, Oh, please don't let theses shakes go on.' This is excellent song from BOC, but I kind of love Arjen's version better, as it is heavier and more complex musically.

'Sole Survivor' is next but Asia's song is actually better if we are comparing. I am no fan of this style and it reeks of soft AOR. Moving on, we have the mighty 'Heavy Metal: The Black And Silver' and what a song this is; metal to the max, old school with crunching axes and pounding drumbeats. 'Vengeance (The Pact)' follows and they bring out the flute. There is a powerhouse performance from Bloom on vox, and cool riffs over some non-sensical lyrics. The chorus is anthemic, and those harmonies work well together. Dharma's lead break is exceptional, he really lights it up, and then the riff moves up a key, until it gets locked into a faster tempo; now we are motoring! The lyrics mention an arrow in the head to save his master, but I never understood BOC.

'After Dark' is one I like to skip as it does nothing for me, but the next track is incredible. Based on Joan Crawford's expose novel and film, 'Mommie Dearest' this song goes into some sordid details about the troubled actress's life. 'Joan Crawford' is very weird and scary with some fun moments such as a car skidding across my earphones and then crashing in a fireball. Then there are a bunch of jazz sounds and other effects. The lyrics are rather chilling; 'Crawford has risen from the grave!'

'Don't Turn Your Back' is the proggiest thing on here and it's a sheer delight when BOC get creative. The time sig is very odd, perhaps a 4/2 or 6/8 in some places, and this has a great bassline. It is the ultimate way to finish an album.

In conclusion, I agree that this is a terrific album for BOC but I have heard better form them, especially in their so-called black and white period, the first three albums. Nevertheless, this has some extraordinary songs, and is well deserved of a solid 4 stars.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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