CD review BLUE ÖYSTER CULT ‘The Symbol Remains’

Not that you expect a new album from a rock veteran nearly two decades after having unveiled the so far latest album and if such a longplayer is announced, the question of meeting the standards, yes or no, rises. Blue Öyster Cult is such a veteran that returns with a new record and if there have been any doubts about the quality standards of ‘The Symbol Remains’, they are all swiped away after the first spin of the album.

The first triple of songs from ‘The Symbol Remains’ has been unveiled already as singles prior to the release of the album. ‘That Was Me’, “Box in My Head’ and ‘Tainted Blood’ are excellent appetizers for an album that exceeds expectations. ‘The Symbol Remains’ is a lively and dynamic record and acts as a musical Delorean that brings you back to ’70s and ’80s and while picking up the spirit of the time, Blue Öyster Cult sounds modern and anchored in the her and now.

19 years after ‘Curse of the Hidden Mirror’, the new longplayer sees the light of day on October 9th. Some of us might not have expected a new album from Eric Bloom and Co. while others might not have expected such a release that strong.

Blue Öyster Cult in 2020 finds again the sweet-spot between hard rock and heavy metal. In principle the band plays classic rock, manifested with songs like the grooving ‘Edge of the World’. But the fourteen songs include more. A highlight is for sure the hard hitting ‘The Alchemist’. It’s a bombastic track with a piano being dominant in the beginning. Quickly, the songs morphs into a heavy and mighty track that leans over to metal and reminds me of Savatage. Just wow.

The dark and metallic shimmering ‘Stand and Fight’ is another example for Blue Öyster Cult cruising in the overlap of hard rock and metal. This riff has pure metal background, a treat for your ears. Mentioning treats, ‘Train True (Lennie’s Song)’ is another example for the wide range of sounds. The song’s very dynamic and carries with its uptempo pace a lot of rock’n’roll, a song that makes it impossible to sit still. At least toes are tapping, if you want it or not. I could go on since with ‘The Return of St. Cecilia’ is next highlight waits in line, being equipped with the sound of a hammond, great leads and catchy vocals. The song could become a permanent part of a Blue Öyster Cult live show.

Whatever Eric Bloom and bandmates did over the last two decades, it was a good spend time, looking at ‘The Symbol Remains’. The veterans are back and it feels like they approached work on the new album with ease and fun. This album reflects joy of life and dedication for their passion for playing stellar rock music. Everybody that thought that the heydays of the band ended somewhere in the ’80s should give this album a fair chance. You will be surprised and you will love it.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. That Was Me
  2. Box in My Head
  3. Tainted Blood
  4. Nightmare Epiphany
  5. Edge of the World
  6. The Machine
  7. Train Ture (Lennie’s Song)
  8. The Return of St. Cecilia
  9. Stand and Fight
  10. Florida Man
  11. The Alchemist
  12. Secret Road
  13. There’s a Crime

Label: Frontiers Music

Genre: Classic Rock

Release Date EU: October 9th 2020

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