Blue Öyster Cult is back with their first album in almost 20 years. The Symbol Remains gets its name from a lyric from their 1983 song “Shadow of California,” off their Revolution by Night LP. First rumored in early 2017 and confirmed last year, this release contains 14 new tracks from the classic rock outfit.
Original members Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser and Eric Bloom still lead the group with help from bandmates Richie Castellano, Danny Miranda and Jules Radino. Whether you’re a die-hard BÖC fan or just a fan of classic rock in general, this album is sure to pique your interest.
Each song on this album is full of head-banging moments and plenty of shredding guitar solos as the band appears to have taken a deep-dive back into their expansive catalog to find inspiration and influence for this release. Long time BÖC collaborator John Shirley returns with lyrics for a number of songs and the album also features a track from co-writer Richard Meltzer, who has been contributing to the band since their Soft White Underbelly days, the band’s former moniker. Roeser and Castellano have six and seven writing credits respectively, and their guitar prowess is heard time and time again throughout this release, as is Bloom’s infamous “stun guitar.”
From start to finish, this record is a hard-rockin’ pleasure of an album to listen to. With catchy choruses and riffs, there’s something new, but nostalgic to find in each track. “Tainted Blood,” “Nightmare Epiphany,” and “Train True (Lennie’s Song)” will be stuck in your head for for days and behemoths like “The Alchemist” and “The Return of St. Cecilia” each require at least a second or third play-through, with each listen more enjoyable than the last. There is something for everyone on this record and in true Blue Öyster Cult fashion, founding member Albert Bouchard returns to contribute cow bell to the opening track, “That Was Me.”
BOC also released a few videos to accompany the roll out of the album. Watch “That Was Me” below and more here.
The Symbol Remains comes out on October 9 and will be available on all major streaming services, but you can also get it on Vinyl and CD as well. BÖC has released music videos for the first three tracks on the album and while the majority of their 2020 tour has been postponed, they are actively updating their website with tour dates and will hopefully be in Middlebury, NY on February 13, 2021.
Key Tracks: Tainted Blood, The Return of St. Cecilia, The Alchemist