Blue Oyster Cult comes storming back loud and proud after their 1998
release "Heaven Forbid" with another fine album. The new album entitled
"Curse Of The Hidden Mirror", keeps the faithful wondering about the
meaning and mysteries of the group. A dark shroud of the unknown has
always encircled their lyrics. But thatís what makes it fun and interesting.
And I am sure that is the whole idea behind everything they have ever
done. That aspect has always made them stand out amongst the rest
of the rock and roll elite. Their music has always been well ahead
of the flavor of the week that could be found residing snugly in the
mainstream top ten. BOC has been everything but mainstream, thank god.
The seventies style rock remains very much a part of the groups presentation.
As far as I am concerned thatís just fine. They were in their prime
then, and the fact that they can manage to sound every bit as good
now as they did then is a tribute to their longevity and solid output
over the last thirty years. The core of the original lineup remains
with Eric Bloom (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Donald "Buck Dharma"
Roeser (vocals, guitars, keyboards), and Allen Lanier (guitars, keyboards).
The new faces are Danny Miranda (bass, vocals and keyboards) and Bobby
Rondinelli (drums). They replaced Albert Bouchard (drums) and Joe
Bouchard (bass) respectively. Dharma and Bloom handled the production
chores on this recording as well. They did a fabulous job. The sound
is crisp and clear, and it keeps its edge throughout the entire outing.
The opening track is "Dance On Stilts", a real rocker with an irresistible
beat. Dharmaís guitar is always top-notch, and his voice is synonymous
with their sound. I somehow identify with Dharmaís voice more than
Bloomís. It must have been "Donít Fear The Reaper" (Agents Of Fortune),
which was their first major hit that has made his voice so recognizable.
Bloom is just right for the heavier songs though, while Dharma has
a softer and smoother edge to his vocal treatments ("Pocket" and "Dance
On Stilts."). Buck never lets up on the six-string either. He is one
of the most accomplished technicians in the world. Bloom gamely takes
center stage on "The Old Gods Return" (is he talking about himself
and Buck?) and "One Step Ahead Of The Devil." Itís all BOC, and at their very best.
There are neither surprises nor any different directions taken musically
on this album. You know what youíre going to get with BOC. Itís straight
ahead rock and roll with a mystical science fiction theme. They have
always been one of my favorites; there is no denying that. I saw them
perform back in 1976 at the Palace Theater in Albany. Bob Seger opened
up for them, if you can believe that. From that day forward I was
hooked. If you are a real diehard fan like me, check out the CD "Bad
Channels-Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" (1992). I think they
made a dream come true when they recorded the music for that movie.
You will find out what I really mean about playing music with a science
fiction theme when you hear it.
For a bunch of guys in their fifties they sure know how to rock. They
put groups half there age to shame. BOC still has it down pat, make
no mistake about it. "Curse Of The Hidden Mirror" has my vote as one
of the best rock albums of 2001.
1. Dance On Stilts
3. The Old Gods Return
5. One Step Ahead Of The Devil
6. I Just Like To Be Bad
7. Here Comes That Feeling
8. Out Of The Darkness
9. Stone Of Love
10. Eye Of The Hurricane
11. Good To Feel Hungry