BLUE ÖYSTER CULT – The Symbol Remains
What a marvelous fucking treat it is to listen to this brand-new offering by the legendary (and musically progressive) US heavy metal act Blue Öyster Cult! I think it is fair to say that many of us have eagerly awaited this 14-track opus of theirs but let me assure you that it has most certainly been worth the 19-year wait. Yes, you read that right.
”The Symbol Remains” is an incredibly inspired and diverse effort that captures the very essence of what the band is all about while simultaneously encapsulating all the various traits and characteristics of their previous records and eras in a truly glorious fashion. That is merely another way of stating that this deeply atmospheric disc is so varied that it ought to appeal to all fans and adherents of the group regardless of what albums and periods of their history you prefer; there is something for everybody here. What amazes me the most is that each and every song offers something special, and they all range from good to downright outstanding, which in turn means that the LP never loses its flow or momentum. While certain tracks lean toward some of their more well-known and commercial-sounding tunes of the past from a purely stylistic perspective, others are more intriguing and slightly sinister. A perfect example of an occult-sounding piece is “The Alchemist”, which is undoubtedly one of the very highlights of the whole affair. The explosive album opener “That Was Me” slays too and there is something unique about “Florida Man” that defies description. Then there is the chorus to “Tainted Blood”, which is so ridiculously catchy that it will drive you mental. Contrary to many other heavy metal outfits out there, these guys are capable of writing captivating lyrics and the ones that grace “The Symbol Remains” are no exception to that rule.
There is a lot of great stuff to immerse yourself in here and Blue Öyster Cult are firing on all cylinders while the production captures the epic and vibrant edge of their sound and style. They have not reinvented themselves as such; they have crafted one of the most memorable and fascinating records of their career and it looks to both the past and the future. Listening to this wicked thing of metal magic is a beautiful experience.