BLUE OYSTER CULT – Imaginos [remastered] (2013)
If there’s an intriguing album in Rock history, both lyrically as musically, “Imaginos” by BLUE OYSTER CULT should be in the top ten. Very hard to find on CD for years, there was limited editions in recent years, and now it’s being remastered (note: this is not the Columbia BOC box set remaster).
The reissue label assures that it has been freshly re-mixed too, but this is debatable.
I mean; I own the ’88 blue vinyl (remember the days?) and in this CD version (and the previous as far I know) some of the tracks significantly differ to their originals. Not just remixed with a slightly different balance in the overall sound, but with, for instance, different guitar solos in some places.
Anyway, this is a minor point because the important thing here is the medulla of the work – the songwriting & the concept – as the musical performances are excellent in both versions.
“Imaginos” took nearly eight years to complete and was originally intended to be the first in a trilogy of solo albums by ex- Blue Öyster Cult drummer & songwriter Albert Bouchard (he was fired in 1981).
In fact, the concept was conceived 20 years before by Sandy Pearlman, the band’s original producer and lyricist. It’s a story about an alien conspiracy theory that is brought to fruition during the late 19th and early 20th century through the actions of Imaginos, an agent of evil. The tale combines elements of gothic literature and science fiction and is strongly inspired by the work of H.P. Lovecraft.
Subtitled ‘a bedtime story for the children of the damned’, it has an intricate storyline whose often-obscure lyrics contain many historical references, and is still an object of speculation by fans and critics.
Thus, “Imaginos” is often considered more as a project of producer Pearlman and ex- drummer Al Bouchard. But the record company forced it to be released under the Blue Öyster Cult moniker.
Consequently, apart from real BOC members as Bouchard or Eric Bloom, there was many musicians involved in the recording sessions, including Joe Satriani, Aldo Nova, Robbie Krieger (The Doors) to name a few, whose brought together new musical inspiration.
But all the above are just details. “Imaginos” is simply an incredible piece of art.
There isn’t a duff track here, the disc can be enjoyed as whole following the story (not easy, believe me, as it isn’t chronological) or as individual songs. The music speaks for itself and you can take or leave the storyline.
Musically is immense, elaborated progressive hard rock that clearly relates the feel of BOC origins. It’s difficult to pull out highlights as all are captivating and different from the usual ‘rock record’.
“Astronomy” is one of the songs written by Pearlman many years ago and already recorded by BOC before, but here is delivered in a completely different but excellent form, stripped of atmosphere, mystery and poetic beauty.
The other is entitled as the band; “Blue Öyster Cult”, a very much evolved version of ‘The Subhuman’ from the same album. Both are superb and shows how were originally conceived as part of the story, finally, completely developed here in “Imaginos”.
You’ll be moved by the ferocious hard rocking lust of “I Am The One You Warned Me Of”, the deftness of “Les Invisibles” is impressive, and “Del Rio’s Song” is catchy & uplifting.
“The Siege And Investiture Of Baron Von Frankenstein’s Castle At Weisseria” is an absolute barnstormer that reminds one and all just how powerful this band can be – some classy keyboards emerge from the brutality at the end and the choral repetition of the ‘world without end’ refrain is very effective.
There’s an enchanting clime on “In The Presence Of Another World”, and the glorious title track “Imaginos” brings outstanding performances by a guitarists pleiad for a grand finale.
“Imaginos” is considered one of the heaviest albums released by Blue Öyster Cult, and one of their best.
I love the melodic and commercial hard rock of their two previous works (which first-time fans hate) but “Imaginos” is a completely different beast. And a great one to tame.
When I heard it the first time, didn’t like it. But when you get right down to it, this is an album of brilliant, entrancing, intriguing, mind-stompingly wonderful songs.
Absolutely essential listening.
1 – I Am The One You Warned Me Of
2 – Les Invisibles
3 – In The Presence Of Another World
4 – Del Rio’s Song
5 – The Siege And Investiture Of Baron Von Frankenstein’s Castle At Weisseria
6 – Astronomy
7 – Magna Of Illusion
8 – Blue Oyster Cult
9 – Imaginos
Eric Bloom – lead vocals
Albert Bouchard – guitars, percussion, lead vocals
Joe Bouchard – keyboards, vocals
Allen Lanier – keyboards
Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser – guitars, lead vocals
Joe Satriani – guitars, solo on (5)
Aldo Nova – guitars
Marc Biederman – guitars
Kevin Carlson – guitars
Robby Krieger – guitar solos on (7,8)
Daniel Levitin – guitars
Tommy Moringiello – guitars
Jack Rigg – guitars
Kenny Aaronson – bass
Thommy Price – drums
Tommy Zvoncheck – keyboards
Joey Cerisano – additional lead vocal (5)
Jon Rogers – additional lead vocal (9)
Daniel Levitin – additional backing vocals
BUY IT !