Heaven Forbid

Blue Oyster Cult

Review score: 71%

Review Date: July 2012
Reviewer: Tali
Source: Rock Hard Reviews
(www.rockhardreviews.com)

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When I was little, my dad would come home from work some days to find a new CD waiting for him. From then until dinner he would play it through. Some songs he’d sing for days (like Harvest Moon). These are some of my earliest memories of rock. Some nights I would request songs, Hammer Back being one I remembered the name of, though that’s probably because the title is repeated frequently in the song. Maybe it’s not something you want your kid to be singing, but it wasn’t like I had any idea what it meant.

More recently I was listening to his Blue Oyster Cult CDs and was surprised when I put the album on and found I knew every word (and tune). This album has to be one of my all time favourites.

Which songs to pick out as essential listening? It’s a near impossible task. I suppose I’ll just go for the ones I remember best and hope I don’t end up listing the whole album (I could, but I’m sure you don’t have time to read it all).

The Music:

See You in Black

This song goes straight into heavy guitar sound, far from their tinny origins. It’s a surprising start to an album, but also an energetic one that gets you in the right mindset. Of course, it has a story, it’s BOC! It’s about a woman whose husband beats her, the narrator isn’t happy about this and likes to see her dressed like she’s mourning. It’s a fast track and there’s a harsh edge to the singer’s voice, making it a lot heavier than they usually are. Still, old fans won’t be too upset since it’s not a full screaming death metal song or anything like that.

Harvest Moon

Monsters and the coming of winter, what’s not to like? It’s a light song, a lot like their older stuff (minus cow bell). The guitar riff is similar to Don’t Fear the Reaper, and the vocals are haunting. Not that it’s a rehash of Don’t Fear the Reaper. It’s an original sound and a brilliant song; most definitely essential listening.

The singer’s voice is what modern bands, like Black Veil Brides or Falling in Reverse, are aiming for with their light spread of auto-tune, but there’s no computer here.

X-Ray Eyes

Who didn’t want super powers at some point? Or dream of seeing through walls? Well, according to BOC it’s not as good as it sounds. This song is a lovely merge of their old style with modern recording equipment. It’s pretty simple, but that’s the charm of it. It’s reminiscent of their old Stormbringer based songs. The keyboard may be set to bad sci fi movie effects but it actually works. It’s easy to sing along to and definitely rocks.

Hammer Back

The guitar’s repetitive, growling and the singer switches from harsh to actual singing. Like See You in Black, it’s heavier. The tune’s catchy as are the lyrics. By the middle of the song, it’s impossible not to sing along, even if you’re a kid without a clue what it actually means.

In Thee

I don’t usually like the softer track that comes with almost every album ever created, but this one has a charm I can’t hate. A live recording, but they have definitely turned down the audience. It’s a complete switch around from any of the other songs and a good ending to a good album. The whole band seems to be singing along with this one, but that might be because half of them don’t have anything to do (I can imagine it coming up on guitar hero and the guy on guitar sweating and swearing while everyone else is a bit bored or just enjoying the song).

Conclusion

There’s a lot of stuff here and it’s pretty mismatched, but it works. It’s a great album and one of my all time favourites. I don’t know what takes novelists so long to put together stories, because BOC tells eleven in fourty five minutes. It’s definitely worth a listen, whether you’re an old fan or looking for a new band to love. They’ve obviously worked hard and it shows.

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Track List (may vary)

  • See you in Black
  • Harvest Moon
  • Power Underneath Despair
  • X-Ray Eyes
  • Hammer Back
  • Damaged
  • Cold Grey Light of Dawn
  • Real World
  • Live for Me
  • Still Burnin’
  • In Thee