Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Blue Öyster Cult - Blue Öyster Cult

Blue Öyster Cult


Released 1972 on Columbia
Reviewed by boy howdy, 04/11/2004ce


When asked by Sandy Pearlman (ex-rock critic, mangager, and sometimes lyricist for the Blue Öyster Cult) what he thought the projected image of the Blue Öyster Cult was in 1974, Lester Bangs replied, "You see them as malevolent metal-flake suprahuman switchblade reptiles arriving off the streets of space implacable with mystic-Nazi trappings." Chuckling, Pearlman admits "That's pretty good. That's about it." (Creem Magazine, September 1974)

With songs dealing with issues as diverse as riding Satan's hog in a motorcycle club, girls or huskies at leather's end, stairways to the stars, molten ears and eyes, and the silverfish imperetrix all appearing on their first album, Bangs hit the nail on the end in describing the mysterioso aesthetic of the early Blue Öyster Cult. Their first album is a testament to just how fully realized (in a charmingly flaky way) the Blue Öyster Cult vision was in the early days when still under the guidance of svengali-like managers and sometime lyric scribes Sandy Pearlman and Murray Krugman. Housed in a sleeve featuring the Blue Öyster Cult's Kronos symbol suspended above a railway to space, this LP had few immediately recognizable precedents when it hit shelves in 1972. The opening track, "Transmaniacon M.C." roars off the line like one of the methamphetamine-fueled Hell's Angels it mythologizes heading south from Altamont. Half speaking the cryptic lyrics, Eric Bloom's streetwise snarl and Buck Dharma's firemad lead guitar runs serve to announce loudly and clearly that the sixties were officially dead and gone.

The band proceeds to let out a torrent of taut, complex riffs and leads, dreamy keyboards, streamlined bass runs, intricate drum patterns, and some of the most darkly cryptic lyrics of all time. At times subdued (Then Came the Last Days of May, Workshop of Telescopes), at times crushingly heavy (Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll), and at times content to chug along like a runway freight train (Transmaniacon M.C., Stairway to the Stars), the sheer focus in the channeling of dark energies in the creation of Blue Öyster Cult's debut makes it a truly unsung gem for the ages.

Oh yes, Satan's bred trash have left the workshop of telescopes with their black hearts and cold lips, whips in hand and third-eye vision intact. Imbibing in the pure nectar of antipathy and biting the faces of girls who are as beautiful as a foot. The Blue Öyster Cult hit the streets running in 1972 and continue to be found "on tour forever".


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