Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Back in 1981, with the release of Blue Oyster Cult's "Fire of Unknown Origin", the tone was set for where 80's rock was supposed to go. Of course, the way Blue Oyster Cult set it was based on heavy guitars, pounding drums, and the occasional keyboards. We all know it didn't go they way they planned, what with the hair-metal scene and arena rock and such, but you can't blame Blue Oyster Cult for trying. In fact, you should praise them because not only is this album one of the high points of their great discography, but it is one of the highs of intelligent 80's rock and roll.

The Cult was still reeling from the biggest spoiler in their discography, their horrid attempt to make another commercial hit, "Mirrors". Although "Cultosaurus Erectus" had done a good job in giving them back their heavy image, they still needed to return to their early album's sounds. That might be why "Fire Of Unknown Origin" was welcomed, because of it's early 70's reminiscent crunching guitars. Another reason for this album's soaring popularity was the Buck Dharma penned "Burnin' For You", which was originally recorded for his first solo album, but he reluctantly agreed to release it under the Blue Oyster Cult name when Sandy Pearlman refused to release the album with it.

The thing that makes this album one of their best is their realization of their strengths. Instead of chasing after another radio hit, like they had done on "Mirrors", they return to their roots with crunchy riffs ("Heavy Metal"), and almost-ballad vocally powered songs ("Fire Of Unknown Origin"). The sci-fi movie themes that usually come with their albums are also present, most notably in "Joan Crawford". "Don't Turn Your Back" also deserves some recognition for Dharma use of pop lyricism, but still being able to pull off the rock n' roll image.

There are albums by Blue Oyster Cult that stand miles ahead of this, but this is an almost incredible turnaround from their previous attempts at chasing their "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" fame.

Review by Chris H

Tracks :

1. Fire Of Unknown Origin (4:11)
2. Burnin' For You (4:30)
3. Veteran Of The Psychic Wars (4:50)
4. Sole Survivor (4:04)
5. Heavy Metal: The Black And Silver (3:19)
6. Vengeance (The Pact) (4:41)
7. After Dark (4:25)
8. Joan Crawford (4:54)
9. Don't Turn Your Back (4:02)

Link : @

Artwork Included


  1. 'Joan Crawford' was absolute crap.

  2. The line "Time to Play B-sides" in Burning for You always made me wonder... if there was supposed to be something special about the B-side of the single!

    Like John Lennon's Meat City (B-side to Mind Games)... that is different slightly from the released album version.... in that the backwards portion of the single Meat City says "See the Album"... while the LP version of Meat City played backwards says... uh... something else... (as I presume the PC police might read this).... let's just say John was a not a big fan of "pigs"...


  3. It's a decent review of an interesting B.O.C. album that definitely had some great songs...and maybe a couple of average tunes.

    Having said that, it's unfortunate that Chris H (reviewer) doesn't seem to realize that even though the album Mirrors was not a commercial success, and definitely confused some B.O.C. fans, it's a great album with some incredible songs on it that Buck and Erik now have decided to include in their live shows. Those songs being "I A m The Storm", "The Vigil", and "The Great Sun Jester".
    Time has proven that B.O.C. were right with their initial song writing instincts, and Mirrors has proven to be a underrated classic by the band.

  4. Surprised you didn't mention the animated movie Heavy Metal which came out around the same time as this album. I used to wonder if BOC thought they were going to do more than one song (Veteran) for the film. Sole Survivor and Vengeance tie directly in with the movie's theme.


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