Archive for December, 2020

Blue Oyster Cult – The Symbol Remains (Review)

Thursday, December 17th, 2020

I picked up a copy of Blue Oyster Cult’s first new album in 19 years on the day it came out.

That was a few months ago. So why did it take me so long to review it? Was it because time seems like an illusion in quarantine? Was it because I wanted to pretend that it was mine and only mine as long as possible?

Who knows, humans are weird…

In any event I have listened to the record upwards of 50 times, and it is a major accomplishment.

Musically, sonically, lyrically, all on point.

Blue Oyster Cult has been “on tour forever” as my tour shirt for their 45th anniversary reads.

There are only a few classic rock bands that still exist and even fewer who can still crush it live. Blue Oyster Cult rules.

What I love about The Symbol Remains is the way they bring their live energy into the record, somehow straddling 70s,80,s and 2020 vibes seamlessly with enough hard rock hooks, turn of phrase storytelling, pop infused choruses and of course amazing guitar work to make any fan happy.

The majority of singing duties go to original members Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom with Buck doing the softer numbers and Eric doing the rockers. Eric’s ultra cool biker swagger is always present while Buck’s virtuoso melodic guitar soars as usual, he never crowds and also seems to never run out of space! (Way easier said than done)

Multi-instrumentalist Richie Castellano who is one of the greatest rock guitar players I have even seen live shares background vocals as well as singing lead on Tainted Blood a fun little number about a vampire who dies after drinking, ya know… bad blood

Danny Miranda and Jules Radino cover the rhythm section and in short (musically speaking) make this my favourite version of B.O.C. to date.

This has been a prolific year for B.O.C. with multiple re-issues and live releases (if you can still get a copy of Hard Rock Cleveland Live… get it)

The Symbol Remains sits perfectly, with 14 near perfect tracks.

The first two tracks are: It Was Me, a straight forward pedal to the floor rocker followed by Box In My Head, a catchy, clever sing-a-long number.

These two songs tell you everything you need to know about  where this record will take you. Check the two videos out (below) and judge for yourself.

That Was Me

Box In My Head

If like me you love authentic classic rock,  then get this release before it disappears. (Special shout out to Frontier Records for continuing to put out cool stuff from new and old bands alike)

Buck and Eric… Don’t make me wait another 19 years for new music… I’m getting old dude.

4 (out of 4)

J.S.L.