35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2009
That's how I'd rate Blue Oyster Cult's 1st, 3rd, and 2nd albums (respectively). Collectively known as the band's "black and white period" for their cover art, they are 3 peerless monolithic slabs of heavy metal.
With this self-titled debut, BOC arrived on the scene with all their trademarks in place. The "hook and cross" logo? Yep, it's already there. The umlaut over the O of Oyster? Present and accounted for. And that's just the symbols. Already here are their cryptic sci-fi/horror lyrics and the blazing guitars and keyboards that are the calling card of their easily identifiable sound. So self-assured!
In some ways this is my favorite because of the variety it contains. "Screams" and "She's As Beautiful As A Foot" have a psychedelic edge to them, while "Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll" has a jazzy break and "Redeemed" serves up beautiful harmonies in an almost country setting.
The word that comes to mind when I listen to their second album "Tyranny And Mutation" is "relentless". There's an unusual flourish or tempo change here and there, but for the most part the band is in fierce speed-metal mode. There would be no Metallica if this record didn't exist. It's the best of its kind I've ever heard. "Hot Rails To Hell" and "7 Screaming Diz-Busters" are every bit as sinister and propulsive as their titles imply. Not to be missed.
Their third release "Secret Treaties" combines the melodicism of the first album with the harder-edged attack of the second one. Many fans regard it as their finest achievement, and it's a fitting capstone to the "black and white" trilogy.
After this BOC found commercial success with "Don't Fear The Reaper", and filled coliseums on double bills with their British counterparts Black Sabbath (the "Black and Blue" tour). The album the big hit came from, "Agents Of Fortune", and its successor "Spectres" were both terrific - but heralded a new direction. More polished, slick, and pop. Something was gained (massive popularity), but something was lost, too. I missed the ferocity of the earlier efforts. By then I was distracted by the punk phenomenon, and "Spectres" was as far as I followed them.
Maybe I don't know enough metalheads, but I rarely hear this trilogy mentioned by them. Same goes when people compile lists of the "greatest albums of all time". And trust me - these 3 are utterly fantastic and deserving of the honor. Blue Oyster Cult were smart, talented - and very very cool.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2011
Well this was a pleasant surprise. I've enjoyed BOC's "popular" albums since the '70's: Agents, Spectres, Cultosaurus, and On Your Feet, and I saw them on the Spectres tour which I rank as one of the best shows I've ever seen. But I never got around to their first 3 until now. What surprised me even more is the quality of the bonus tracks, at least some of which were recorded when they were known as Stalk-Forest Group and/or Soft White Underbelly. Other than "Stairway to the Stars" EVERY song on here is awesome:
Transmaniacon MC - Starts out with a bang. It's heavy, but what strikes me is that they never let pure heaviness get in the way of a good song. Unlike Black Sabbath they were never ham-fisted. This is one of their biker gang songs (MC stands for Motorcycle Club), it contains drug references and Altamont and seems to glorify violence, topics I'm not particularly drawn to, but the song is so good I don't care. I'll excuse it as Rock Theater, like Alice Cooper glorifying necrophilia when we all know he doesn't really condone such things. Right?
I'm on the Lamb, But I Ain't no Sheep - Something about fleeing Canadian Mounties on a dogsled. Ridiculous, and catchy as hell.
Last Days of May - This song is completely different from the rest. It reminds me of something Springsteen might have written, like Spirits in the Night. It's a classic BOC song, one they really took seriously. A Buck Dharma song, with him on vocals, it's a preview of what was to come with Don't Fear the Reaper. There's so much tongue-in-cheekiness in their music, except this one. It's beautiful.
Stairway to the Stars - This one's stupid. Surprising they used to kick their shows off with it. It rocks out ok, but it is the weakest song and I don't think anyone could deny it.
Before the Kiss,a Redcap - Another one with Buck singing, but it's so different than his usual style I couldn't figure out who it was. I absolutely love the jazzy (?) middle section. Downright bouncy.
Screams - An Allen Lanier song. Sort of the George Harrison of the group, he didn't write or sing as much as the others but his songs were always among the best. This one is psychedelic and sort of spooky. The Floydish keyboards and Buck's guitar solos give me chills. The drumroll at the end segues beautifully into...
She's as Beautiful as a Foot - Hahaha! The lyrics are a joke, and unlike Stairway a funny one, but the music is so freaky it creates this strange contrast that I just love.
Cities on Flame - Classic. This is a rock anthem that should be in a league with other rock anthems, like, let's say Rock & Roll Hoochy-koo. I'm glad it's not or I'd be sick of it.
Workshop of the Telescopes - This one could/should be one of their epics, like The Subhuman or Astronomy, but falls short in execution. Great song, but the production is lacking and I just don't think they arranged it or played it very well. Still, highly enjoyable.
Redeemed - If I didn't recognize Eric's voice I would never guess this was BOC. Almost country/folk sounding. Awesome songwriting and vocal harmonies.
Donovan's Monkey (Bonus) - What an awesome song! Sloppy, fun and goofy. '60's BOC.
What is Quicksand (Bonus) - More '60's BOC. This reminds me of Phish for some reason, probably because they were going for Grateful Dead. Very catchy psych-pop that stands up to many listens.
A Fact About Sneakers (Bonus) - This one sounds very '60's, in the vocal harmonies, Byrds-like guitar, drums all over to one side, name-dropping Spooky Tooth. Would stand up to any song of the era.
Betty Lou's Got a New Pair of Shoes (Bonus) - Spirited performance of the oldie. Well done and Buck shows he could play when he was a kid. Interesting glimpse of where they started.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2010
Of course it was only their debut as BOC. They'd already been The Soft White Underbelly and The Stalk-Forrest Group, but this was the first album which actually got released (by Columbia, who had previously dropped them), and it was the first LP with the classic 72-81 line-up.
It's often said that an artist has the whole of their life to prepare for their first album, and maybe there's a smidgen of truth here. It'd be hard to get a spent match between any of their first three 'black and white' albums, but for my money, this slightly beats 'Tyranny and Mutation', which was written on tour, but falls short of their god-let's-admit-it's-awesome 'Secret Treaties' (74)
The Dark H.P Lovecraftian psyadelic noir of this album (HPL would have loved it) veers from crunching metal ('Cities on Flame', and 'Stairway to the Stars') to almost Band-esque country rock (with weird lyrics) ('Redeemed') and all points between. The band are diabolical, assissted by lyricist/guru Sandy Pearlman, and smart-arse cynic Richard Meltzer. This band had more published writers than anyone else I can think of (my last count, nine)
The album is a bit scattershot, but that's it's beauty. Where else could you squeeze in 'She's as Beautiful as a Foot', '(A Redcap) Before the Kiss', Then Came the Last Days of May' and 'Cities on Flame' on the same LP - not to mention the ones I already did.
BOC weren't heavy metal at this stage; they were just astonishing songwriters. Apart from 'Secret Treaties', this is their classic.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2008
This is the 1972 debut album from BOC with bonus tracks. The track list is as follows:
1. Transmaniacon MC
2. I'm On The Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep
3. Then Came The Last Days Of May
4. Stairway to the Stars
5. Before the Kiss, A Redcap
7. She's As Beautiful As A Foot
8. Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll
9. Workshop of the Telescopes
11. Donovan's Monkey (Demo)
12. What Is Quicksand (Demo)
13. A Fact About Sneakers (Demo)
14. Betty Lou's Got A New Pair Of Shoes (Demo)
The package comes complete with a 10-page booklet that includes info and lyrics for this release. Sound quality is excellent and the performance by the band outstanding. At the current price ($6.99) this is an incredible deal. While not an ideal introduction to BOC for the casual collector this release does contain some of their best material that has yet to be embraced by classic rock radio. BOC 1972 is an essential addition to any classic rock collection.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2010
In 1972 Blue Oyster Cult released their debut album #172. I was only 12 at the time, so I don't remember this release, but in 1976 I finally bought the album. The thing that struck me about the album was the cover art by Bill Gawlik(he also did "Tyranny"), it looked so mysterious I had to find out what was underneath the art and on the vinyl. What I found out was part 60's hippiedom, pure hard rock fury and some great balladry. A few months after I bought this, "Agents Of Fortune" came out and the rest is history, I had to get everything by this band. So here are the highlights from Blue Oyster Cult's first album:
"Transmaniacon MC"- "Beers and barracuda, reds and monocaine". Buck welds a mean guitar here, about the concert by the Stones at Altamont. Great opening song.
"I'm On The Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep"- "Frontenac Chateau, baby I cross the frontier at ten". From the Stalk-Forrest days, more solid rock.
"Then Came The Last Days Of May"- "Sky bright, the traffic light, now and then a truck, and they hadn't seen a cop all day .. What luck". One of Buck Dharma's finest compostions, about a drug deal gone terribly wrong, gentle flowing tune, a top 10 BOC all-time song, Buck's guitar just resonates.
"Stairway To The Stars"- "You can have my autograph" Riff-rocker, a concert favorite in the early years.
"Before The Kiss A Redcap"- "So grab your rose and ringside seat". This is a great vampire song that ends side one, Bucks vocals and guitar are excellent, A favorite at college dorm parties, great bass by Joe Bouchard, has a country feel in parts, the organ by Allen at the end is great.
"Screams"- "Screams in the night, sirens delight". Spooky keys, a 60's feel, A great Joe Bouchard number.
goes straight into "She's As Beautiful As A Foot"- "It tasted just like a fallen arch". Great drums by Albert, just a sweet mellow tune, crazy song title but gives a F88k! One of Buck's simple guitar licks.
"Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll"- "My ears will melt then my eyes". This one gets played a lot on radio around here still, hard rockin' tune, a true BOC classic, great vocals by Albert, Allen and Buck shine here.
"Workshop Of The Telescopes"- "By Salamander Drake and the power that was undone". A full band composition, later a title for their 1995 2 CD very best of set, a solid rock piece, Buck's guitar sounds like it's going thru the desert with no end in sight.
"Redeemed"- "Sir Restus bear who'd ever believe". A great song to end the first album, country BOC, sounds like "Gil Blanco County" from their Stalk-Forrest days.
The bonus tracks are all songs they did demo sessions for Columbia records under the name Soft White Underbelly, of course they got rejected at the time. They sound a bit differnt than the Stalk-Forrest Versions also. All good stuff.
After this album they would release "Tyranny And Mutation" in early "73. A great band indeed.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2010
I just love bands that come out of the box swinging, and Blue Oyster Cult's first album (Blue Oyster Cult) is a masterpiece that delivers in every way imaginable. First of all, this band has their own unique sound, which is a rarity for any band. The have a sort of "far away, hypnotic, sci-fi, long-noted, imagination-triggering sound that was part of the birth of heavy metal. The album cover really says it all; it's almost trancelike in that it has you in another world with an infinite background. The songs are of a huge variety. If it's not talking about telescopes, it's saying that a foot is beautiful, etc, etc. Personally, I love SHE'S AS BEAUTIFUL AS A FOOT, followed by THEN CAME THE LAST DAYS OF MAY, and WORKSHOP OF THE TELESCOPES. I just can't put into adequate words how much this band is unique from other bands. They can write about anything, and put music to it. This is one of the greatest debut albums ever. 10/10
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2012
The link with many of these reviews seems to be that the listeners were exploring the BOC back catalogue. So let me say something as a person who started with them as a 17 year-old listening to the first album. The first BOC album is one of the great masterpieces of rock. They were referred at the time as the "critics heavy metal band" because of the intelligence of their lyrics and virtuosity of their musicianship. No metal band as ever held a candle to them in the Krugman/Pearlman days.
If you did not buy the vinyl, or remastered CD, then you do not know how "heavy" this album was in its day. It was, in fact, recorded with more bottom end than any previous album. The sonic range on the bass end was beyond the capacity for most receivers to reproduce. Get yourself a high end system and listen again, particularly to one of the great rhythm sections in rock history.
It is unfortunate that BOC ever allowed themselves to get compared to joke bands like Black Sabbath. It never would have happened under Sandy Pearlman's tutelage. BOC is hard rock. Shimmering, sinewy and out on the freeway.
Gardens of Nocturne
Reins of Steel
And It's all right
Change reins to reigns or rains and you will get different meanings. In it's time one of the most quoted lyrics in rock. The later BOC, post Agents of Fortune, did not have the song-writing ability of the early band. There is just no comparison.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2010
The music matched the feeling of the time it was made. If you were not around in 72, you probably wouldn't understand. This album along with albums like Machine Head, Dark Side of the Moon, Aqualung, Trilogy are some of rocks pinnacle albums.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2008
DON'T FRET OR WONDER ANYMORE.....THIS IS THE RE-MASTER WITH ALL THE EXTRAS.SNATCH IT UP CHEAP !!!!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2012
I remember I was 16 years old, me and my buddies were at a friends smoky basement and we listened to this album non stop for days. I later bought the LP and loved listening to it as I looked into the album cover's hypnotic emblem.
I was, and still am, a huge Black Sabbath fan, I feel a bit of embarrassment when I read on the CD cover how they compare BOC to Sabbath. No way! I do find small riffs that were ripped off from Black Sabbath, they changed tempos so you wouldn't notice.
But BOC are a totally different sound and very captivating. This CD has no filler as far as I can hear. I always wanted to own it and now find this remaster at a bargain price...thanks Amazon!
It's funny, but most CD's I have fond memories of lose meaning through the years, this album has aged very well and is not as dated as others I've bought like "Captain Beyond" for instance.
I'm hooked all over again! I also bought "Tyranny and Mutation" which is even better, the bonus live track "7 Screaming Diz-Busters" which runs 14 minutes is worth the whole CD. Love it!
Yes, it's remastered, YES it sounds good, YES, it looks nice, with a booklet with lyrics too.
Don't miss this one, get it while it's here.