Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014
When Blue Öyster Cult unleashed their self-titled debut circa 1972, the long-term future of the Stony Brook, New York-born group appeared all too precarious. Initially plagued by a lack of commercial success, it wasn't until the release of Agents Of Fortune in 1976 and their breakthrough single “(Don't Fear) The Reaper” that they began to entrench themselves with the public consciousness. Further solidifying their reputation as a bona fide creative and commercial force not to be ignored via Some Enchanted Evening (1978) and the Martin Birch-Produced Fire Of Unknown Origin (1981) and a notoriously rigorous touring schedule, the group would soon enter a period of prolonged dormancy after the poorly-received combination of Club Ninja (1985) and the long-gestating disaster Imaginos (1988). Fortunately for all parties involved, the group now finds itself on the cusp of a true resurgence with the highly-anticipated release of the in-concert covenant Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014.
On the brilliant Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014 (2020), an expertly assembled seventeen song collection of in-concert Hard Rock, taken at the group's 10/17/14 performance at the Hard Rock Casino in Northfield, Ohio, each track, beginning with the fist-pumping anthem “The Red And The Black” the woefully-overlooked rarity “Golden Age Of Leather” and the hook-laden chart-topper “Burnin' For You”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of all parties involved, myself most definitely included. Wasting little--if any--time re-affirming their rightful place as quasi-Godfathers of both the Hard Rock and Heavy genres (the group served as an influence to Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Metallica, among countless others), they effortlessly flex their muscles early and often. Initially offering a truly airtight array of excursions that are simultaneously nostalgia-inducing and deftly delivered, the group reminds us of the magnitude of their impacts by boldly surging onward.
Continuing with the New Wave-infused “Shooting Shark” the trademark instrumental “Buck's Boogie” and the Michael Moorcock co-penned gem “Black Blade” (written from 'view' of Elric Of Melniboné, Moorcock's most famous character), the steadfast--albeit defunct--combination of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Eric Bloom, guitarist/vocalist Donald 'Buck Dharma' Roeser, guitarist/keyboardist Richie Castellano, bassist Kasim Sulton (The New Cars, Todd Rundgren, Utopia) and drummer Jules Radino (Gary Hoey, Popa Chubby, Tony Bruno) steamrolls ahead at what can only be described as a well-rehearsed ease. Driving home each key focal point via a seamless blend of soaring vocals, blistering fretwork and imaginatively punishing rhythms, they wisely focus on their most well-received favorites. Firing on all cylinders like the well-oiled machine they have so obviously remained throughout the duration of their career (most notably their leanest years), the group delivers the goods.
Available in a variety of formats (i.e. Blu-Ray, 2CD+DVD and 180 Gram Gatefold 3 X LP), other standouts, including the fist-pumping, quasi-mosh-inducing anthem “Godzilla” the maddeningly infectious staple “(Don't Fear) The Reaper” and the obligatory--albeit highly-effective--closer “Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll”, serve as much-welcomed reminders of their unabashed lyrical and compositional 'skill-sets'. Easily one of the most highly-anticipated Classic Rock re-issues in recent memory (Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014 promises to be the first in a series of multiple live re-releases and, if the rumors are true, new material), the well-rehearsed ease in which they execute each track may offer hindsight into the group's unnervingly longevity. Even if you somehow find yourself less that enthralled with the group's morphing line-ups, the end result(s) of the group's more-than-considerable efforts are a true must-have for every genuine and sincere Blue Öyster Cult aficionado.
Although one might effectively argue that the group's proverbial 'glory days' are indeed in the past (love 'em or loathe 'em, even the oft-lamented Heaven Forbid and Curse Of The Hidden Mirror were released twenty-one and eighteen years ago respectively), the majority--if not all--of the adrenaline-soaked wares contained herein are seemingly guaranteed to appeal to even the most pessimistic of purists. While only time will tell if the group is capable of replicating the success of yore with their addition to the nostalgia-fueled Frontiers Records roster, their ceaseless dedication to honing their razor-sharp chops is seemingly guaranteed to ensure their continued prosperity. Needless to say, if you've once again found yourself in search of a refreshingly Old School/Classic Rock alternative to the painfully mindless din and clatter that is so often force fed en mass the mainstream, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane cure-all for what ails you. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014 (2020)
Cult Classic (2020)
The Complete Columbia Albums Collectiön (2012)
Curse Of The Hidden Mirror (2001)
Heaven Forbid (1998)
Workshop Of The Telescopes (1995)
Career Of Evil: The Metal Years (1990)
Club Ninja (1985)
The Revölution By Night (1983)
Fire Of Unknown Origin (1981)
Cultösaurus Erectus (1980)
Some Enchanted Evening (1978)
Agents Of Fortune (1976)
On Your Feet Or On Your Knees (1975)
Secret Treaties (1974)
Tyranny And Mutation (1973)
Blue Öyster Cult (1972)
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