Blue Öyster Cult
The Symbol Remains

Label: Frontiers Music
Three similar bands: Wishbone Ash/Ghost/Black Sabbath

Reviewer: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
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 True (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
14. Fight

Eric Bloom – guitars, keyboards, vocals
Buck Dharma – guitars, keyboards, programming, vocals
Richie Castellano – guitars, keyboards, programming, vocals
Danny Miranda – bass guitar, backing vocals
Jules Radino – drums, percussion, backing vocals

Blue Öyster Cult (1972)
Tyranny and Mutation (1973)
Secret Treaties (1974)
Agents of Fortune (1976)
Spectres (1977)
Mirrors (1979)
Cultösaurus Erectus (1980)
Fire of Unknown Origin (1981)
The Revölution by Night (1983)
Club Ninja (1985)
Imaginos (1988)
Cult Classic (1994)
Heaven Forbid (1998)
Curse of the Hidden Mirror (2001)

Albert Bouchard – backing vocals, cowbell and percussion on "That Was Me"
Andy Ascolese - keyboards on "Nightmare Epiphany" and "Florida Man"; piano on "The Alchemist"
David Lucas - Backing vocals on "Edge of the World", "The Machine", "Florida Man" and "Secret Road"; cowbell on "Fight"
Phil Castellano - harmonica on "Train True (Lennie's Song)"; gang vocals on "Stand and Fight"; backing vocals and claps on "Florida Man"; choir programming on "Secret Road"
Kasim Sulton - backing vocals on "The Return of St. Cecilia" and "There's a Crime"
Steve La Cerra - gang vocals on "Stand and Fight"; backing vocals and claps on "Florida Man"
Kevin Young - gang vocals on "Stand and Fight"; backing vocals and claps on "Florida Man"
John Castellano - backing vocal on "Florida Man"
Jeff Nolan - theremin on "Florida Man"

Recorded at Mercy College Studio A, Dobbs Ferry, NY
Produced by Eric Bloom, Buck Dharma and Richie Castellano
Executive produced by Steve Schenk
Chief Engineer - Richie Castellano
Overdub engineering - Buck Dharma
Engineer - Sam Stauff
Assistant engineer - Steve La Cerra
Mixed by Tom Lord-Alge
Mastered by Ted Jensen

Released 2020-10-09
Reviewed 2020-11-14


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The story of Blue Öyster Cult begun back in 1972, they had big success not long after that releasing hit single (Don’t Fear) the Reaper that is probably their most famous song – Astronomy is another one of those songs that I recall from their past works. But I think that is fair to say that Blue Öyster Cult never really did do much impression on me, besides some great songs like those mentioned. I have never liked any of their albums that much and now they come with their fifteenth, so the story continues. But it took quite a while between the albums, that was according to Wikipedia due to the lack of commercial success for the 2001 predecessor, the band thought the playing live was more profitable than making albums that no one but hardcore fans bought. But 2020 is a strange year and here comes another album from a band of distinguished gentlemen.

It is classic hardrock, Blue Öyster Cult has been an inspiration for many bands as they were leading the way and not just copying. And while this album might not hold too many surprises it still feels fresh and vital, not just a pale copy of what has come before – perhaps the long time between albums had them forget what they did before and therefore they made something fresher. Not to say that it doesn’t sound like BÖC, it does, and we get many familiar touches and quirks that we have come to known from the band. Good production and vocals are marks you notice, and the variation is good with sensible playing time.

I find it difficult to fault this album, it is surprisingly vital and surprisingly good with some really excellent songs like The Alchemist and The Machine that shows a band that is still very much alive despite advanced age. Let’s hope they remain that way for years to come, these songs should be heard in the live repertoire when there is a chance for musicians to come out and play live again. I like this album, it may not be one of the absolute highlights or so, but it was surprisingly good and I think it holds up better than most earlier BÖC albums that I have heard – granted, I am not really an expert on this band so there might be albums that I have missed or overlooked but I think this is one of the better from this band.

Fans of Blue Öyster Cult will most likely find this album to be pretty great, and many other music fans as well. It is a pretty enjoyable release, perhaps not outstanding enough to make a giant mark, but there are some great highlights on it. I think it is worth checking out, there is a good chance that you will like The Symbol Remains.