Blue Oyster Cult
Secret Treaties


4.5
superb

Review

by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (158 Reviews)
June 6th, 2012 | 49 replies


Release Date: 1974 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The final part of the powerful trio of albums by Blue Oyster Cult, it is no surprise why 'Secret Treaties' is widely hailed as much as it is. You're missing out on a lot if it isn't already in your record collection.

Before reviewing the significance of 'Secret Treaties' in BOC's career, let's see just how successful it has become. Melody Maker rated it 'Top Rock Album of all time' in 1975. Not bad. The album spent fourteen weeks in the charts, peaking at #53. That's not bad either. The album achieved Gold status in 1992. Not too bad...Wait what? Gold status? Christ, that's one hell of an achievement in itself, for an album that had been alive for almost two decades!

Of course, it's no surprise why 'Secret Treaties' is so successful and also why various fans and critics think it to be Blue Oyster Cult's career-defining record. First things first, at least four of its tracks- being mysterious opener 'Career of Evil', the somewhat lyrically disturbing 'Subhuman', the mischievous 'Harvester of Eyes' and outstandingly epic closer 'Astronomy'-are featured in every BOC 'best of' compilation you can find. Is it really any surprise though? The answer, if you have listened to and loved the band's first two albums, will be a resounding 'Of course not'.

Contextually and musically speaking, the band sounded on 'Tyranny and Mutation' as if they couldn't get any better. However, upon the arrival of 'Secret Treaties', this could not be further from the truth, for the music itself seems to have improved greatly, if at all possible. Guitars sound even heavier, the vocal range is much more developed, and the overall atmosphere of each song could send you safely to sleep at any given moment, what with all the mesmerizing sounds going on.

What stood out the most on 'Tyranny...' was the band's excellent use of keyboard-laden melodies and interludes with some interestingly groovy guitar work, and on 'Secret Treaties' it is guaranteed you won't be disappointed. The magnificent opening vibes of 'Career of Evil' give way to some well-handled guitar riffs that seem to have a magic of their own, and the rumbling aggression of 'Dominance and Submission' gives off a stunningly obscure effect upon the listener, with the title of the song almost being chanted by each member of the band alongside the driving guitar work of Eric Bloom and Donald Roeser.

The band have obviously had fun making this album, as evident on such fabulously eye-opening numbers as the war-obsessed 'ME 262' (an ode to the german air-plane of the same name) and the melodic yet still hard-hitting 'Flaming Telepaths'. 'ME 262' seems to have more in common with Deep Purple playing the fast-paced madness of 'Burn' than it does with the more blues-influenced anthems of ZZ Top, and 'Flaming Telepaths' gives off a mystical energy that could only be generated by BOC themselves. Even the keyboards, which admittedly sometimes don't quite hold out for long enough, still manage to add incomparably stunning effect to the vocal talents of Bloom, Bouchard and Roeser, this being a direct highlight of the band's overall sound within the 70's.

Many will have at least heard of the band's tendency to create some very creepy lyrics, and even if you never get to hear the music itself, the lyrics will generate a power all of their own just by reading them thoroughly. Simply put, everything about 'Secret Treaties' makes you hungry for more. And that, unfortunately, is part of the extremely minor problem with the album-it's short length. At 38 minutes, it seems as if the band couldn't wait to get back out on the road to tour the world or make another album, but this is just for personal preference. I respect the band for keeping it at this length, personally.

The final addition to what I call the 'Power trio' of BOC's first three albums is something of an absolute eye-opener. Even if the keyboard melodies and flourishes don't quite grasp your undivided attention, there is still plenty more within 'Secret Treaties' to enjoy. Fact is, if you understand how much effort and fun the band had put into the making of their third record, you will surely realise why it is hailed as the gem it is.



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user ratings (181)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
rockandmetaljunkie
June 6th 2012


3880 Comments


Good review, i liked it, have a pos.

Kudos for reviewing BOC.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2012


4459 Comments


Great review, mate. POS'd!

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
June 6th 2012


21637 Comments


I need to listen to these guys more.

Good job on the review, pos'd.

Digging: Foxes in Fiction - Ontario Gothic

MO
June 6th 2012


19083 Comments


fuck yes so gooood love BOC

chambered49
June 6th 2012


1727 Comments


awesome

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2012


6345 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Epic album.

Good call for the review.

Digging: Aspherium - The Fall of Therenia

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
June 6th 2012


1923 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well,to be honest, this and 'Tyranny...' are such good albums they shouldn't really be without a review on Sputnik. To say I only knew the band a few years ago for 'Don't fear the Reaper' is frankly surprising, considering my dad wanted me to know the band's earlier material. Bless him.

Digging: Execration (NOR) - Morbid Dimensions

KILL
June 6th 2012


72285 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

http://oi47.tinypic.com/9uul9t.jpg

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

SteelErectedb4you8er
June 7th 2012


2618 Comments


Yeah, I avoided these guys for so long, but a buddy of mine gave me all of their earlier releases...and by god, do they rule! Nice review, man!

manosg
February 2nd 2013


6736 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Favorite BOC album.

Digging: Whitesnake - Slide It In

ViperAces
February 2nd 2013


12506 Comments


* insert cowbell joke *

manosg
February 2nd 2013


6736 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

what?

ViperAces
February 2nd 2013


12506 Comments


do you watch snl?

manosg
February 2nd 2013


6736 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh, it's an snl joke. No I have never watched it. Is it any good?

ViperAces
February 2nd 2013


12506 Comments


its cool, but the BOC skit is very well known, look it up on YT

manosg
February 2nd 2013


6736 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah, it's quite fun. Christopher Walken is a cool dude.

LifeAsAChipmunk
February 2nd 2013


4854 Comments


snl is kinda hit or miss

this ain't doe

LifeAsAChipmunk
February 2nd 2013


4854 Comments


fuck snl and their whole cast
tell me' yeezy says they can kiss my whole ass

porch
March 23rd 2013


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

best boc? i'll leave the floor open

porch
March 23rd 2013


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

has lasers instead of pop punk so it's better than an andcas youtube link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iusFEKr-vp0



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