This moody mini-epic, a highlight of the Fire of Unknown Origin album, blends art rock, new wave, and heavy metal elements into one singularly potent track. The lyrics, penned with noted sci-fi author Michael Moorcock, tell the weary tale of a futuristic warrior who finds himself drained and hopeless from years of ceaseless warfare. The music echoes the alienated tone of these lyrics with a minor-key melody that moves at a dirge-like tempo. "Veteran of the Psychic Wars" could have ended up sounding dull in the wrong hands but Blue Öyster Cult's recording of the song works nicely thanks to atmospheric arrangement full of little details that give the song a cinematic feel: heavily echoed militaristic drum beats drive the song, a cello adds a moody texture during the synth-heavy instrumental breaks, and Buck Dharma unleashes an eerie guitar solo during the midsection that effectively mirrors the quietly anguished tone of Eric Bloom's lead vocal. The cinematic feel was no chance occurrence: it was one of a series of songs that Blue Öyster Cult wrote for the animated fantasy hit Heavy Metal and ended up being the song the producers chose. It fit the film's comic book-styled animation beautifully, proving that "Veteran of the Psychic Wars" was one of Blue Öyster Cult's finest ventures into the fantastique.