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3.72 | 26 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 1980


1. Black Blade (6:33)
2. Monsters (5:11)
3. Divine Wind (5:07)
4. Deadline (4:27)
5. Here's Johnny (The Marshall Plan) (5:23)
6. Hungry Boys (3:38)
7. Fallen Angel (3:11)
8. Lips In The Hills (4:25)
9. Unknown Tongue (3:55)

Total Time 41:53


- Eric Bloom / guitars, vocals
- Donald Roeser / guitars, vocals
- Allen Lanier / guitars, keyboards
- Joe Bouchard / bass, vocals
- Albert Bouchard / drums, vocals

About this release

June 14, 1980

Thanks to cannon, Pekka, Lynx33 for the updates


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I have always loved the cover of this album since I was a kid. My friend’s older brother had this on vinyl, and my interest in dinosaurs and science fiction art made this an easy eye-catcher.

Blue Oyster Cult were often said to be the American answer to Black Sabbath but I have never been able to hear that in the music. For this album here, they got Martin Birch as producer, who was already known for his work with Sabbath and Deep Purple’s “Machine Head” and who would go on to produce albums for Iron Maiden. BOC and Black Sabbath toured together, too, on what was called the Black and Blue tour. Still, the band doesn’t sound at all like Black Sabbath. But they don’t have to.

I’ll admit it took me some time to get into this album. Having been sufficiently impressed with their first three albums and having a greatest hits album plus formerly owning two other later albums on cassette, I had more expectations from this one. I kept adding it to a playlist of albums to review and then taking it off again. Finally I decided to give it my full attention and I was pleasantly surprised in parts.

“Black Blade” is a song based on the writings of Michael Moorcock. It’s hard rock pop with punk edge in parts and tells the story about an evil blade that possesses its bearer to kill. The story is a bit similar to the Heavy Metal movie theme where a mysterious green orb also causes otherwise gentle people to behave in a bloodthirsty manner. Incidentally, BOC were closely involved in the music soundtrack of Heavy Metal, and some of the songs would end up on their next release. There’s some nice eerie music with creepy sound effects in the middle. One of BOC's classic fantasy sci fi type story telling songs, Eric Bloom’s vocals are as usual full of passion. This is a great theatrical hard rock number with rhythm changes and synthesizer; like prog hard rock almost. The blade speaks at the end in metallic voice.

“Monsters” is next, and why didn't I notice this one right away? A hard rock track with an almost seventies danceable intro then suddenly goes jazz with sax and piano drums bass and no guitars. That fast boogie part contrasts great with the hard n’ heavy part and then another jazz break. What are these guys trying to prove? Then an almost boogie rock prog section, after which the song slows down with some nice piano. A new melody is introduced. The chorus fast with piano bass drums and lead guitar. Seemingly seamless and well-crafted, the song wraps up with heavy hard rock bit but with added sax and groove. Great song!

“Divine Wind” is slow with piano, guitar and a hard bass but has a menacing pace almost. “If he really thinks we're the devil / then let's send him to hell”. The music is steady and not varied like the first two tracks. Track three is a good spot for it. The backing female vocals sound a bit like heavier Pink Floyd.

“Deadline” is more pop with hard strummed guitar and synthesizer. Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser takes the vocals. Again, the music is minimalistic but the lead guitar adds colour.

“The Marshall Plan” is a story about young Johnny who goes to rock show with Suzie but sees her leaving with the band. Johnny decides to take up the guitar and become a rock star. The “Smoke on the Water” riff sneaks in at one point, the original song recorded by producer Martin Birch. There’s a spoken part which sounds a bit cheesy as Johnny talks about his plan to play heavy music. Don Kirshner’s voice introduces the now successful Johnny. There’s a fast, upbeat hard rock instrumental with lead guitar. The music has become more varied again. The story is a bit trite but it’s a fun song.

“Hungry Boys” is a fast paced hard rock with piano and an electric drum break. It’s a typical BOC fast boogie rock number. Drummer Albert Bouchard takes the vocals.

“Fallen Angel” features bassist Joe Bouchard on vocals. His singing is rough, almost a shout, but possess a very pop rock / hard rock sound. The synth-led melody is catchy, and the guitar solo like pop-sounding Kansas. The music reminds me of the Canadian pop-rock band, Prism.

“Lips in the Hills” brings us back to the exciting rocker ability of BOC and it was the first song to really grab my attention. Eric Bloom is back on vocals again. This is hard rock BOC! Nothing complex or overly simple, just guitar rock energy and fury with a one of the band’s typical suspense story tales.

“Unknown Tongue” concludes the album. It’s hard rock with piano and yet another almost horror suspense style story piece about what sounds like a slightly twisted young lady. There’s a bit of pretty but horror movie-type piano. A good track though less involved than the first two.

While this is not my favourite Blue Oyster Cult album, it does typify what a BOC album sounds like: essentially a rock band with hard rock and heavy rock up front and occasional meanderings into traditional heavy metal and progressive trim where suitable. What is to be admired and liked is the band’s ability to produce exciting and at times very interesting songs about aliens, ghosts, science fiction and the super natural. It’s almost as if the members know not to take themselves seriously about their taking their work seriously, if that makes any sense. There’s a tongue in cheek quality to the genuine sincerity they put into their entertainment. For that, I like them. But I wish this album had a few more memorable tracks for my taste.
Blue Oyster Cult's "Cultosaurus Erectus" caught my attention because it was inspired by the science fiction author Michael Moorcock, and it sports a mighty artistic cover with a dinosaur with a mouthful of razor teeth. Not knowing what the music would be like was quite a bonus for me as I was delighted when the first heavy chords of 'Black Blade' strike. This is heavy stuff, and it has a great melody and competent clean singing with a spacey echo. The riffs are simple but dynamic and the organ layers are great. It powers along brilliantly with some awesome lead guitar work and an overall solid structure.

'Monsters' is quite proggy with those jazz sax interludes and overall time sig shifts. It really hits home with all the blazing riffs and outbursts of jazz. The heavier side of BOC returns on the blistering rock of 'Divine World' and then it gets into more AOR territory on 'Deadline' though it sounds great and is a nice diversion.

I was quite astonished at the creativity of 'The Marshall Plan' as we hear a live crowd roaring in places and even the Deep Purple monster riff from 'Smoke On The Water' rears it's head. 'Hungry Boys' takes us into a driving rock sound that just hammers along with anthemic chorus and fast paced drumming. 'Fallen Angel' is a hard rock belter and is followed by even heavier guitars on headbanger 'Lips in the Hills'. The last track is a moderate tempo riffing thing called 'Unknown Tongue' that finishes the album off on a fairly strong note, though a very AOR one at that.

In my opinion this is a solid album and one that will please fans of BOC. It is not a perfect album, though it starts with three exceptional songs, but still has enough melodic rock and innovation to make it worth a listen.
After three discs charting a more pop-influenced style, Cultosaurus Erectus finds Blue Oyster Cult steering back towards the murky, mysterious spirit of their early years on some of the songs (Unknown Tongue, Black Blade, Monsters) whilst retaining their radio-friendly AOR sound on others (Hungry Boys, the slightly overlong narrative song The Marshall Plan, or Lips In the Hills for instance).

Unknown Tongue, the album closer, seems to prefigure the sound of the better parts of Fire of Unknown Origin, the following album - and indeed both this album and that one were produced by Martin Birch, whose hard rock approach probably helped make this the most hard-edged and heavy Cult release since Secret Treaties. It's not on a par with that album, mind, but it's a decent stab at turning the weirdness dial back up.

Members reviews

This is an album which, as its rating suggests, does not quite live up to the promise delivered by its first three tracks. After having veered towards a definitely poppier sound in their previous three albums, which gave them a hit in "Don't Fear the Reaper", but at the same time alienated many of their earlier fans, BOC enlisted the help of legendary hard rock producer Martin Birch - exactly as the same time as Black Sabbath did. The result is an album which is distinctly harder-edged than its predecessors, but also somewhat schizophrenic - torn between songs harking back to the glory days of "Tyranny and Mutation" and "Secret Treaties", and AOR-tinged. radio-friendly compositions.

"Cultosaurus Erectus" starts with a bang, with the Michael-Moorcock penned Black Blade, a spacey, dramatic tour-de-force inspired by the saga of Elric of Menilboné and his eponymous sword, Stormbringer, eater of souls. The following track, "Monsters", is probably one of the most progressive things ever written by the band, with its blaring sax interludes, manic riffing and wild, jazzy time signature changes. It's a pity BOC chose to go the easy way, instead of exploring the avenues opened by this brilliant song. The initial triple-whammy closes with the haunting, vaguely sinister "Divine Wind" (incidentally, this is what the Japanese word 'kamikaze' means), which features a superb guitar solo by the one and only Buck Dharma at the end.

The rest of the tracks, as already stated, is not completely on a par with these three. Some, like "Hungry Boys", are nondescript filler, while "Lips in the Hills" is somewhat reminiscent of some of the material on the band's first three albums. Album closer "Unknown Tongue" is deceptively easy on the ear, though not as clearly radio-oriented as "The Marshall Plan" - a very well-crafted, catchy song with an intriguing storyline, which also references Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water", and would sound great performed in a crowded stadium.

Even if not as good as its follow-up, the mighty "Fire of Unknown Origin", "Cultosaurus Erectus" is a fine return to form for one of the greatest bands of the Seventies. Not perfect, but nevertheless warmly recommended to all lovers of classic rock music.
A mixed bag as BÖC adopts the talents of new, more hard rock oriented producer. The band seems to be struggling to balance a variety of influences, from their more traditional sci-fi rockers (the excellent Black Blade) to self referential stadium rock (the equally fine The Marshall Plan) to more jazzy territory (the disappointing Monsters) and even 80's synth-rock (the embarrassing Hungry Boys.) As a result, the album is a schizophrenic experience, divided equally between glorious rockers and utter stinkers. I think the good outweighs the bad, but this is definitely a transitional album, paving the way for their much more accomplished "Fire of Unknown Origin," to be released the following year.

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  • Tupan
  • Paluvatar
  • ian
  • Atreju
  • Seven Moons
  • Spookyfoot
  • kllytrrnc
  • Citizen
  • joe2m
  • Lynx33
  • fisciletti
  • acefrehleylead
  • Zargus
  • ultmetal
  • cannon
  • stefanbedna
  • Tlön
  • mr.gonzoss
  • Hagbard Celine
  • Sean Trane

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