Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Imaginos Saga

"I am the one you warned me of."
"I am the one who never, never lied."

From Imaginos, "I Am The One You Warned Me Of" by the Blue Oyster Cult.

On my way home from a meeting this evening I fumbled around the storage compartment that sits between the driver's and front passenger's seats in my car. Near the bottom of the pile of cassettes and wires I found a favorite album of mine. It's titled "Imaginos," the 1988 album produced by the Blue Oyster Cult, my favorite Heavy Metal band. Some would argue that BOC is not metal. Technically speaking they are the original Heavy Metal band. The term "Heavy Metal", as a moniker for a musical genre was coined by Sandy Pearlman, who was manager for the band during its formative years. He used the term "Heavy Metal" in an interview with Creem Magazine to describe Blue Oyster Cult's crashing guitar sound. Sure, the sound was nothing new. Led Zepellin and Black Sabbath had been blasting away a couple of years prior, but the name was first applied in reference to BOC.

Back to the album, Imaginos. During the 80's the band went through some radical changes both in music and personnel. Drummer and founding member Albert Bouchard was kicked out of the band, but prior to that he was commissioned to work on "Imaginos," a mythologized spin on the history of America and the origins of World War I. Bouchard wrote much of the music and probably recorded on some of the songs with such notable musicians like Joe Satriani and Robbie Krieger. Vocals by current BOC members, Donald Roeser (aka Buck Dharma) and Eric Bloom fill the tracks also. What I love about this album is it's musical and lyrical intensity. It tells the story about the central figure, Imaginos, who is also Desdinova, an alien born and raised among humans in New Hampshire. He goes about singing songs "Nobody Knew" and "Stories Left Undone." People note his powers of seeing into the future and he takes some friends with him on a journey to Mexico. Along they way their ship is wrecked in a storm and his friends leave him to drown on "An oyster bed that seems plush as down." He drowns in the tide and his body is collected by the Blue Oyster Cult, a group of aliens. They have the power to restore him and when they do, they offer a deal - die as a human or live and become one of them. He chooses the latter and then discovers that he was always one of them. He realizes his mission and begins it in earnest. I won't say more and there is a lot more to the story . There are other websites that deal with this topic, but the best place to go is to this BOC FAQ site.

You have to go pretty far down the FAQ to get the scoop on Imaginos.

My favorite songs on the Album? Well, that's a toughie.

I love the following songs, all for different reasons:

"I Am The One You Warned Me Of"
"In the Presence of Another World"
"The Siege and Investiture of Baron Von Frankenstein's Castle at Weisseria"
"Del Rio's Song"
"Blue Oyster Cult"
"The Magna of Illusion"

"Astronomy" and "Blue Oyter Cult" are re-works of songs from their third album, "Secret Treaties." "Astronomy" retained it's name, but "Blue Oyster Cult" is basically a musical and lyrical overhaul of "The Subhuman."

I understand that you cannot find this album in CD or other form as a new record in any store in the U.S. You might find it elsewhere. I happened to find it as a used cassette from a used record store. I've played it so many times in my car, I now hear scraping noises.

If you love metal and BOC, perhaps you can find this gem on eBay or some other outlet. It's worth spending a couple of bucks.


Blogger Kevin W. said...

Great discussion of Imaginos; occasionally I read blogs of supposed BOC fans who hate it, which I cannot understand...most of it is fantastic. However, I think you erred by leaving off "Les Invisibles" as a top notch song from the album. Weakest song on it is probably the title cut, ironically; but nearly all of the songs are worthwhile.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Broadlighter said...

Thanks for the comment Kevin. It's been a while since I checked in here, so you might never read this comment. I agree that "Les Invisibles" is one of the better songs. It is the beginning of the story, hence it's importance in setting the stage for the arrival of Imaginos.

I'm not surprised that so many BOC fans hate this album. It's making marked a big crossroads for the band as Sandy Pearlman, Albert Bouchard and the rest of the band parted ways for good afterwards. I didn't like it at first because it sounded too 80's to me, but listening to it repeatedly and reading the album notes helped me appreciate its depth and power. A typical BOC who thinks the band should stay in its creative box would not like this, not one bit. It's their most out-of-box offering I've heard, yet.

2:38 PM  

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