Frontiers [Release date 06.03.20]
Blue Oyster Cult originally released ‘Heaven Forbid’ in 1998 on the CMC label, so it never got a widespread release and the band had left the label by their next album. Although there are no bonus tracks it has been remastered by Alessandro Del Vecchio. Does this man ever sleep?!
The core trio of Eric Bloom, Buck Dharma (who handles lead vocals on the majority of the album) and Allen Lanier were joined by bassist Danny Miranda (later to feature in Queen’s live band) and former Rainbow drummer Chuck Burghi.
Another former Rainbow drummer Bonny Rondinelli appeared on one song. The band co-wrote eight of the album’s ten songs with SF/horror writer John Shirley, the eleventh song on the album being a live version of ‘In Thee’.
Casting aside the awful cover artwork (the alternate cover was better), this album has some good songs that have stood the test of time, including the opening track ‘See You In Black’, a frantic hard rocker. ‘Harvest Moon’ with Buck Dharma, is one of those melodic rock songs he does so well, whilst ‘Power Underneath Despair’ is one of the dark, menacing songs – Blue Oyster Cult doing what they do best.
The album’s quality does dip on ‘Hammer Back’, ‘Still Burnin’ (although the guitar solos save the day on this one) and ‘Damaged’, which features a tasty bit of Hammond playing by Lanier.
Blue Oyster Cult’s first full new studio album since ‘Imaginos’ (bar the ‘Bad Channels’ soundtrack) was a mixed bag and although not one of the band’s best, certainly worth re-issuing and investigating if you missed it first time around. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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