On Friday, Blue Öyster Cult released its first new studio album in 19 years, The Symbol Remains.
The 14-track collection features a mix of hard-rocking and melodic tunes, with the main songwriting duties split between longtime singer/keyboardist Eric Bloom, founding singer/guitarist Don “Buck Dharma” Roeser, and guitarist/keyboardist/singer Richie Castellano, the latter of whom joined the band in 2004.
“What makes the record interesting…is how diverse it is,” Bloom tells ABC Audio. “Richie wrote…and sings some songs, Buck did the same, I did the same…Buck sings six, I sing five, Richie sings three…So, there’s a little bit of something for everybody.”
He adds, “There’s some great typical…Buck melodic tunes…So I think that people who like his stuff will be happy. And I think there’s some great guitar playing, both from Buck and Richie…And I think people who only know the obvious two or three songs will be pleasantly surprised by what we’re doing here in 2020.”
Bloom credits Castellano with being “the secret sauce” on the album.
“He’s an amazing guy,” Eric gushes. “He plays great, sings great…And he was an integral part of making this record…A lot of engineering and producing and writing.” (AUDIO IS ABC 1-ON-1)
Meanwhile, as with Blue Öyster Cult’s previous two studio albums — 2001’s Curse of the Hidden Mirror and 1998’s Heaven Forbid — The Symbol Remains features significant lyrical contributions from sci-fi author John Shirley, who co-wrote five songs.
Interestingly, Blue Öyster Cult’s founding drummer, Albert Bouchard, contributed backing vocals and percussion to the album’s lead track, “That Was Me,” and also appears in the accompanying video.
The band has released videos for four songs from The Symbol Remains; the latest, “The Alchemist,” premiered on the same day that the album arrived.
By Matt Friedlander
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