Blue Öyster Cult

Workshop of the Telescopes

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Blue Öyster Cult was long in need of a thorough career retrospective, and this is it. Thirty-two tracks filling up two discs with a total running time of 154:46, Workshop of the Telescopes traces BÖC through 14 years as the kings of lite metal, 1972-1986. Actually, as annotator Arthur Levy notes, there are at least two phases in that era. The first, running through 1974, includes the classic first two albums, Blue Öyster Cult and Tyranny and Mutation, when BÖC was one of the few acts in those pre-punk days bucking the trend toward soft rock without indulging in the more grotesque aspects of heavy metal. This material takes up disc one. Disc two leads off with "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," which launched the second phase of the band's career, when it sought to balance its hard-rocking approach (heard especially in concert) with pop accessibility. Since this period was marked by uneven material, it is ripe for compiling, and the selection here is good. On the whole, Workshop of the Telescopes lives up to Levy's description of it as "the ultimate BÖC anthology." It's about time.

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