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The New Oldies: #8 Album of the Year 2020: Blue Öyster Cult – The Symbol Remains

Blue Oyster Cult The Symbol Remains

Something seems to be missing these days. It seems that record companies, radio stations, and streaming services are pushing some the great established musicians to the background. As a result these veteran artists are not getting the attention they deserve. Enter the Top 10 Album Countdown: The New Oldies. The main point is simple – to make this list you must have at least 20 years of producing established music. The album by the artist must have been released between November 1st, 2019 and October 31st, 2020.

#8 Blue Öyster Cult – The Symbol Remains

Call it a comeback.

Blue Öyster Cult’s The Symbol Remains lands on the list as The New Oldies #8 Album of the Year. It’s the band’s first album in 19 years, but one can argue its been since the early 1980s that Blue Öyster Cult has put out something of significance.

In 2001, Blue Öyster Cult put out the commercial flop album Curse of the Hidden Mirror. After that the band seemed disinterested in recording new music, but 2020 the band decided the time was right. It’s not the same lineup from the 1970s. 70+ year old veterans Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma are there and now on-board are Richie Castellano (guitars), Danny Miranda (bass), and Jules Radino (drums).

The demise of Hard Rock as a music genre has been greatly exaggerated. The Symbol Remains is Hard Rock at the core. At the same time it brings in a mix of heavy metal (such on That was Me, The Alchemist, and There’s a Crime), classic rock and roll (The Return of St. Celicia), country (Train True), and power ballads (Tainted Blood). There even is an incorporation of rap used on the track Nightmare Epiphany and some punk on the metal-heavy Edge of the World.

Lead vocals are shared by Bloom, Castellano, and 73-year old Buck Dharma. Bloom at 76 years old delivers big, powerful vocals highlighted by his performance on Edge of the World.

Science fiction and horror writer John Shirley, a key influence on the cyberpunk scene comes in and helps with some of the songwriting.

Blue Öyster Cult shows demonstrates a fact that every veteran band may have one more good album left in them. The Symbol Remains seems to have rejuvenated Bloom and Dharma. If you are looking for power rock layered with great instrumentation, The Symbol Remains is the album for you.

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