"Spectres is not my favorite BOC album, or even top three favorite but, I was so pleased with the previous BOC remasters I had to get it. For $10.99 it was money well spent. The remaster slightly improves the overall sound and clarity of the album and while the packaging is slightly less robust than the remasters of the first 4 BOC albums, it certainly has more to offer than the original cd release. The bonus tracks are leftovers from the same recording sessions that yielded the album so I wasn't expecting anything fantastic. That said, I actually think Night Flyer is a stonger track than one or two of the tracks that made the original Spectres. Also, M For Murder is decent as is their cover of Be My Baby (surprisingly). Overall a very solid remaster. I have already ordered the Legacy Edition of Some Enchanted Evening and as someone mentioned earlier...
Where is the remaster of On Your Feet Or On Your Knees???"
Raise your can of beer on high and seal your fate forever...
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 02/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Coming off their immortal hit "Don't Fear The Reaper" and the classic album "Agents Of Fortune," Blue Oyster Cult decided that "if it was worth doing, it was worth overdoing." I always thought the similarity to the title "Spectres" and the wall-of-sound production style of the legendary Phil Spector was not a coincidence, as the band layered it on like never before. As they posted on "RU Ready To Rock," "I only live to be born again." So what the heck, since they had just become one of the hottest touring rock acts of the seventies, why not go all out?
That they did. "Spectres" is crazy with variety. From a monster (yes, pun intended) riff rocker that opens the album with "Godzilla" to the dark double whammy the closed the original album via "I Love The Night" and "Nosferatu," the band let their imaginations run wild. The allusion to Spector comes through loud and clear on "I Love The Night," with atmosphere and density for miles. There was even an unrecognized hit single co-written by Eric Bloom and Ian Hunter, "Going Through The Motions." Why there wasn't another radio breakthrough ala "Reaper" amazes me to this day. The mood was often dark, but it was more a thrill-ride than a slasher-flick. The cinematic sci-fi boys' choir on "The Golden Age Of Leather" would have made Queen proud.
In the Blue Oyster Cult's second act of their illustrious career (the knockout first three albums, then the seventies arena period from "Agents" through "Fire Of Unknown Origin" to the mixed line-up albums that followed), "Spectres" is probably second or third on my list of favorites. (Number one is "Agents.") I am quite pleased by the re-mastering, more so for the repackage job than the slapdash original CD. Here is hoping "Mirrors" and "Cultosaurus Erectus" get the same respectful treatment. While we're at it, how about finally giving us "Imaginos" on CD?
PS: The Bonus Tracks. Like on "Agents Of Fortune," I really could have done without the expanded material here. Only "Night Flyer" is of any merit, and the odd-ball take on "Be My Baby" is novelty at best. "Spectres" held together really well as an entity; tacking these afterthoughts on as a "bonus" is like altering a Picasso with a sharpie."
My alltime favourite L.P !!!
Jamie Ross Archer | Sandringham, AKL, NZ | 12/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For me, this review is A) My very 1st review on Amazon & B) unequivocally my all-time favorite L.P ever. Big statement to make, so here's my little piece on just why this album gets to me like no other...
Firstly a little plug for Martin Popoff's excellent book on the 'cult "Blue oyster cult-Secrets revealed". It is a very well written book with lots of great insights about the key reason for their success-the great music they produced together. If you are a fan of the band, then i urge you to buy the book. It is well worth the money !!! But crucially in acknowledging this book, what it did was give me unparalleled insight into how "Spectres" came into being, Where the band in terms of their overall career, personal relationships between members & management and so on. Armed with this extra knowledge, i feel vastly more confident in giving a more considered, balanced & more objective review than if i had not read the book previously. O.K, thats enough background. On with the review...
Coming off the heels of a successful tour & major career boost that was "Dont fear the reaper" , the bands confidence was very high & all came into this project wanting to do an album that would connect with a bigger audience, hence the album containing more poppish sounds than previously. To progress, you have to try different things which may at the time be slightly alien to some sectors of your fanbase, but the greatest artists never settle. They need to keep challenging themselves-didn't Neil Young head for the ditch on more than one occasion ???. Anyways, all band members came into the sessions armed with great ideas. Which to digress slightly is another crucial aspect of why this group is so great. All band members could write great songs-individually & together when the opportunity arose.
Before the song reviews, heres an idea of mine on what was a crucial part of their success, but rarely (if ever) gets mentioned in any review i've ever read on B.O.C. The vocal harmonies are for me one of the bands secret weapons. They enhance the music beyond compare !!! Add that all 5 guys could sing lead as well & and you have a great base to work from. It adds so much more color to the songs-elevating their music above the other more traditional bands of that tiime (I.E a solitary lead singer-with no back-up vocals). Righto, finally the songs review part !!!
"Godzilla" Shout it, dont just say it !!! Most guitarists would give their left testie to come up with a great riff like this... Everything about this stomper screams big. Big riff, big vocals etc. Very tasty midsection spoken section (bloom learnt japanese especially for this song-and subsequent tour). "Golden age of Leather" This prog-ish multi-part mini operatic epic is one of the overlooked classics of this album. Fantastic arrangement & vocal enchancements (A boys choir) make this even by their own standards, unique. "Death valley nights": Absolutely-with out hesitation, my alltime fav B.O.C track due to stunning vocal harmonies & impeccable arrangements. This track i always repeat when listening to the album. The re-master revealed far more depth in the vocal harmonies. And, this is Albert's finest vocal/written contribution to B.O.C's legacy. "Searchin' for Celine": Laniers 1st song is one of 2 that ive had the most trouble with over the years, but now i love it !!! Totally different to the rest of the album(accusations of 'disco-ish' have been thrown at this track), but with its bright poppy beat, it kinda just nags away at you. To like it, that is!!!! "Fireworks": the 2nd Albert classic. Killer impassioned vocal & celestial harmonies, beautiful piano melody & well structured arrangement make this song very special indeed. Pity it never got more exposure in the live arena. "R U Ready To Rock": Again, another killer guitar riff !!! Justifiably a live favorite, this rocker is a behemoth of a tune. "Celestial the Queen": Joe Bouchards 1st tune & the 2nd track that has taken its time to reveal its unique charm! The re-master hugely improved my appreciation of another overlooked song. BTW, joe shoulda sung more lead vocals!!! Great synth work by Lanier as well. "Going through the motions": The poppiest tune, without question. But 'ohhh, what a thrill'!!!! Fantastic keyboard/synth work & great sympathetic guitar melody line/solo from Buck. "I Love the Night": This song would have to be the most exquisitely arranged track of the whole B.O.C catalogue. A guitar masterclass from Buck, this haunting track never fails to entrance you every time you hear it. "Nosferatu": And lastly, Joe B's Epic that is this shimmering evocative Vampire ode. Huge production, stunning arrangements, intense guitar work make this another classic in their vast canyon of work. A major way to finish the album.
Lastly, i'd like to thank the main people who need to be thanked.
Albert, Alan, Buck, Eric & Joe. Thanks from this fan for creating what is for me, my album of choice !!! It is, IMHO, a masterwork...
Gets better with time...
NYC Leather Pants Wearin' Wierdo | New York | 04/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My previous review of BOC's mediocre "Spectres" met with such contempt that your leather pants wearin' friend from NYC has decided to placate all you ghouls and rework a more pleasing version. No doubt, "Spectres" still could have been better......but with this new remaster and additional bonus songs, I must admit I am intrigued. Alas, I will contain my frequent urge to trash this gem, lest fellow hardcore fans fly through my bedroom window at night and suck my blood dry. Down, Down I say! You Dogs!
Production values on this collection are indeed much better than any previous recording. The opening track, "Godzilla" sets the house on fire with Roeser's blistering lead guitar work over dual harmony vocals. The signature vocals have always worked real well on this song, and perhaps the band should consider doing more Bloom/Roeser harmonies. Although this version of "Godzilla" is a bit campy in tone, it remains a classic. The real star of the show, however, is "Golden Age of Leather". Everything good about BOC is in this song, and it never gets tired. It's all there, guitars, vocals, lyrics, etc. "Death Valley Nights" is next and is a natural fit after "Leather". Some other highlights are the lush "I Love the Night", (one of my fav BOC tunes) and "Nosferatu". The rest of this collection is very pop in tone, and sounds outdated. What balances out weak songs such as "Searchin' for Celine" and "Celestial the Queen" are the new bonus additions such as "Night Flyer" and "Dial M for Murder" which are just as good if not better than anything else Cult did in this period. Perhaps not surprisingly, "Be My Baby" makes it onto this as a bonus; back in '77, probably sounded like a great idea.. but today considered a corny song for BOC to cover.
This collection is worth buying, if just for "Godzilla","Golden Age of Leather", "Death Valley Nights" and "I Love the Night". "Spectres" holds its own with the classics, although it doesn't hold up to BOC's other works in the 1970's. Due to the passage of so many years, many of the things that so displeased me about this record seem to slowly fade away, and some of the cheesy pop tunes become forgivable when thought of in the context of the time period: Disco was hot, rock was not.
An Album Of Curveballs
Michael Costa | Chicago,, IL USA | 09/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Listen to this record enough times and it will sink in how perfectly B.O.C. balanced multi-toned, virtuoso guitar work, elaborate song structures, and a deep sense of humor. Seriously... tunes about Godzilla, Nosferatu, biker gangs, overblown stadium rock ("R U Ready 2 Rock" sounds like "Destroyer"-era KISS) and relationships in various stages. Somehow, they pull it off without insulting the listener's intelligence (which is a B.O.C. trademark.)
What really makes "Spectres" stand out though is the over-the-top theatricality of the songs. It can go from metal to a capella to 70's FM soft rock to Beatles-esque pop to jazz fusion to prog rock to hard rock and back to metal in the span of a few tunes, and some changes even within the same song. It's just brilliant, and defies genre more than any other B.O.C. record.