Few rock & roll bands have had as expansive an influence as Long Island’s Blue Öyster Cult, with the group’s music often cited as being crucial to the development of heavy metal, hard rock, and even underground goth music with lyrics referencing the supernatural themes prevalent in classic sci-fi and horror. Now, the band has announced the release of the first new studio full-length album The Symbol Remains, marking Blue Öyster Cult’s first new material since 2001’s Curse of the Hidden Mirror; recorded by the current lineup of founding members Eric Bloom and Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser with bassist Danny Miranda, keyboardist/guitarist Richie Castellano, and drummer Jules Radino, the album derives its title from a lyric written by former manager and collaborator Sandy Pearlman heard on the 1983 album The Revölution by Night; Pearlman died in 2016, making his participation on the The Symbol Remains impossible, but Bloom explains that the title was chosen to indicate “that the band is back and still rocking after all these years.” Album track “Box In My Head” is now available to preview on YouTube, while a music video for “That Was Me” has been newly released, featuring a guest appearance by former BÖC member Albert Bouchard providing “more cowbell.”
Despite financial and commercial concerns following the less-than-stellar sales of Curse of the Hidden Mirror, BÖC’s members never doubted the appearance of a new album, with sessions for The Symbol Remains beginning in 2019 with the quintet blending newly written material with reworks of past songs. Bloom comments, “With the song demos emerging for this record, we realized there was as much if not more variety in style and content on this record as any in our history,” an approach that BÖC embraced to achieve a sound that would be pleasing to longtime fans and embody the group’s sound over the last 50 years. Similarly, Roeser states that although vocally and stylistically the band’s sound will be familiar, “The goal was for the new music to stand up to the quality and vitality of our legacy recordings, and I believe we have successfully done that.” As well, with the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in the cancellation of live shows and preventing travel and in-person collaboration, a significant portion of the album was completed through online production and video conferencing, with mixing duties handled by the renowned Tom Lord-Alge.
The Symbol Remains is the fifteenth studio album from Blue Öyster Cult, due for release on October 9 via Frontiers Music SRL in CD, digital, and vinyl formats, with Pre-orders for the album are now available. Along with the standard black edition, the two-LP vinyl edition will be presented in green, crystal, and blue variants, each limited to 200 copies worldwide, all of which can be ordered via Frontiers’ U.S. and European webstores.