Blue Öyster Cult

Career of Evil: The Metal Years

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Contrary to what some may believe, Blue Öyster Cult was never strictly a heavy metal band. In fact, some of its greatest triumphs -- including "Don't Fear the Reaper" and "Burning for You" -- weren't in a metal vein. But there's no denying that the band made its share of outstanding contributions to the genre, which are generally well represented by this best-of compilation, Career of Evil: The Metal Years. Because Blue Öyster Cult tended to be heavier live than in the studio, Columbia did the right thing by favoring its live recordings over its studio material. Blistering live versions of "Godzilla," "Cities on Flame," "Hot Rails to Hell" and "The Red and the Black" -- '70s metal classics that no headbanger should be without -- pack an undeniably ferocious punch. The pedestrian "Beat Em Up" from 1986's Club Ninja was recorded when the group was past its prime; but in general, this CD does a fine job of illustrating just how valuable the rockers' contributions to metal were.

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