Stalk-Forrest Group, Blue Öyster Cult

St.Ceilia: The Elektra Recordings (Rhino Handmade),Blue Öyster Cult Tranny and Mutation Secret Treaties Agents of Fortune (Columbia/Legacy), Curse of the Hidden Mirror (CMC International)

Soon enough other successes would be mounted, including the monolithic "Godzilla" and the MTV hit "Burning for You." But that's another story. Consumer-wise, as per protocol, Legacy has added several worthy bonus tracks to each reissue. Those on the debut are perhaps the most interesting as they come from some of the same pre-BOC sessions that make up the second segment of Rhino's St. Cecilia reissue (there's no overlap). Tyranny and Treaties spotlight various session outtakes (such as a studio version of longtime concert fave "Buck's Boogie"), non-LP singles tracks (a smoking cover of "Born to Be Wild"), and unreleased live material. Agents includes several demos, including Roeser's original four-track home recording of "Reaper," and a Lanier demo co-written with poet-rocker Jim Carroll, "Dance the Night Away" (Carroll later recorded his own version).

In the meantime, there's an album of all-new material out on the CMC International label. There have been numerous rhythm section changes over the years (the Bouchard brothers are long gone -- currently Danny Miranda and Bobby Rondinelli have the bass and drums gig) as well as intermittent lean times (1994's Cult Classic found BOC rerecording tunes from its '70s heyday). But even if Curse of the Hidden Mirror can't hold a candle to the first four studio albums, it is a solid effort.

Curse kicks off with the AC/DC-styled riff-monster "Dance on Stilts," and a few tracks later the first single, "Pocket," cues up, a thumping, melodic rocker that, pardon the cliché, is "classic BOC-esque." A couple of numbers do have an irredeemably syrupy '80s-mainstream feel, and the era of provocative/fantastical song-titling seems to be long buried in the face of clichés like "Eye of the Hurricane" and "I Just Like to Be Bad." That said, not only is the edgy, six-minute "Stone of Love" one of the best songs here, it bears an unexpected (and undated) Meltzer-Roeser songwriting credit. Another promising sign: Manic cyberpunk author (and former punk singer) John Shirley's name is listed in eight of the 11 song credits, stepping into the old Pearlman-Meltzer lyrics role. And given that the album title itself was nicked from an ancient Stalk-Forrest Group song, "Curse of the Hidden Mirrors," these bringing-things-full-circle touches have a nice feel if you're a fan from back in the day.

BOC: One of the best American bands of the '70s.
BOC: One of the best American bands of the '70s.

Word has it that BOC will be touring extensively to promote Curse, so as the saying goes, expect once again to see cities on flame with . . . aw, you know.

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