Album Review: “Fire of Unknown Origin” by Blue Öyster Cult
Blue Oyster Cult live in 1981 - metalnrocknroll4eva2 / Youtube
Blue Oyster Cult hit it back hard with their eighth album release in 1981, Fire of Unkown Origin, after suffering two releases that failed commercially. Eccentricity was a major point of success for the band, which they capitalized on again with the songwriting on this album. The band brought in several creative contributors for the project, beckoning to the likes of Patti Smith, Sandy Pearlman, and Richard Meltzer – which was given a hint of fantasy and science fiction thanks to the involvement of writer Michael Moorcock.
Blue Oyster Cult shocked fans with the instrumentation and composition of the music in Fire of Unknown Origin, using synthesizers, piano, and organs in the mix – all while retaining that heavy, brooding atmosphere. Of course, being fueled by the creative minds above, the band was ready to take on a new direction with their music.
Tracks like “Burning For You” employs a noir theme which is fitting to the overall feel of the album, while the title track goes ham on the synthesizers, giving a new dimension to the band’s sounds. “Heavy Metal: The Black and The Silver” takes its name quite seriously, carrying a doomsday type of feel, while “Joan Crawford” goes all glittery with its glam-rock style. Capitalizing on the heavy theme is “Veteran of Psychic Wars” is extra-soupy, with intertwined lead guitars and peculiar percussion choices that make it a unique track overall, not only in its own record setting but against contemporary bands as well.
Fire of Unknown Origin was also the last album that had the original lineup of the band recording together, as they fired the original drummer Albert Bouchard after the album’s supporting tour.