Thursday, 11 March 2010

Don't Fear the Reaper

I heard this bit of "classic rock" on the radio last night, and it reminded me what an overwhelming disappointment of a band Blue Öyster Cult is. When I was a kid, I was not averse to a bit of nasty, sticky rock goodness, but only knew BÖC from album covers and the occasional reverential whispers of friends. I knew, though, that they had an album called The Black Sword, which was about my emo teen hero Elric. And they had an umlaut, like Mötorhead, and the word "Cult" in their name, like Southern Death Cult. How much darker could this shit get, dude?

Bear in mind that at this stage in my life, I was just discovering Bauhaus and Southern Death Cult and The Birthday Party, and was beginnign to think of even shredding metallers like Iron Maiden as a little bit stodgy and old hat. But I still had faith in BÖC - Elric! The Reaper! You know, the ACTUAL GRIM BLOODY REAPER!!!

Well, sometime in my teens, I actually heard this song. Far from the wild, frightening horror rock circus I imagined it's like a slightly overly serious ELO record, Queen without the knowing wink, like Jeff bloody Wayne's War of the bloody Worlds, for god's sake. The intro sounds like R.E.M!

So, no, Don't Fear the Reaper. Judging by this, the sound of death is the sound of an old man gently farting. Laaaa lalala!

Look at them! Gah!


  1. They do have some good songs, but "Don't Fear the Reaper" isn't really one of them. (That sounds like a weird remix you've got there on Youtube, BTW.) Secret Treaties is a good album, for example.

    BOC are one of your classic examples of bands going on so long (the 'too long' point varying from one band to the next, many reaching that point by track 4 of their debut LP) that they end up disappointing absolutely everyone, including the people that liked the stuff that made their original fans call them sellouts and - inevitably - themselves. At one point (possibly even still, I dunno) Blue Oyster Cult's replacement lead singer was a guy who had previously written a BOC fanfic novel. I'm not exactly sure what that says about them, but it certainly says everything you need to know.

  2. I bet the BÖC story is part of a standard Hollywood rock comedy producer's orientation kit, alongside Jack Black's phone number.

  3. Also, so called "Tom", I bet you're one of them muso types who likes to put records on then hush eveyone up and say stuff like "listen to sustain on that snare drum - no, shush! Listen!"

    I bet!!!!!!

  4. Speaking of which, what's up with this "audiophile" sort-of genre I keep seeing in shops? How is that a 'kind' of music? How is possible for there to be musicians who are "audiophile" stars but not famous as, say, jazz singers?
    I honestly do not get this one.

  5. "...a hobbyist who seeks high-quality audio reproduction via the use of non-mass-produced high-end audio electronics."

    There's surely already some kind of Lovecraftian thing about this? Maybe written by Ligotti?

  6. "Audiophiles are split into three schools of thought regarding testing. Objectivists believe that audio system measurements and double blind testing is of the greatest importance. Subjectivists believe that measured performance can not account for all discernible differences in sound quality and thus they rely on extended listening tests to form an opinion. Audiophiles in the third group choose to combine both approaches by performing objective technical tests in combination with extended subjective listening tests."

    Or perhaps Umberto Eco?

  7. "We play my solid 256kbps VBR MP3 of "Heroes" off my iPod; it sounds like shit. Free of pops and crackles, yes, but completely lifeless, flat in every way. This is the detail that matters: Audiophiles are basically synesthesiacs. They "see" music in three-dimensional visual space. You close your eyes in Fremer's chair, and you can perceive a detailed 3D matrix of sound, with each element occupying its own special space in the air."

    JG Ballard? Mind you, I say that about everything.

  8. Vaughn shook his head, sadly. "You keep listening to the music, Ballard. That's why you can't hear what's really there."


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