Blue Öyster Cult – Secret Treaties (Review)

Blue Öyster Cult – Secret Treaties (1974)

Secret Treaties is the last and best of the so-called “black-and-white” trilogy of albums that kicked off Blue Öyster Cult’s career: a trio of mysterious, monochrome-covered rock albums that peaked with this 1974 release. It’s dark, esoteric and also a bit of a hoot. It’s an album of parodic garage-rock horror reminiscent of Alice Cooper’s Killer, full of psychedelic monster mashes like Career Of Evil, the oddly cute Cagey Cretins and the seismic, psychotic Harvester Of Eyes. And those aren’t even the best tracks. Overdriven boogie rocker ME262 puts you in the pilot’s seat of a Junkers Jumo 004 (“Hitler’s on the phone from Berlin, he’s gonna make you a star”) and Dominance And Submission has a superb, swinging groove, an unforgettable climax (“radios appear”) and some creepy interjections from Charles The Grinning Boy… “it will be time”. But the album truly peaks with its closing tracks, Flaming Telepaths and Astronomy. Both are grand, magnificent masterpieces with affecting muscianship and beautifully cryptic imagery. Astronomy in particular is a complete head-scratcher. I’d love to know what “the nexus of the crisis, the origin of storms” really means but then… I feel like not knowing is kind of the point. And the reason Secret Treaties remains so eternally fascinating and alluring.

38 thoughts on “Blue Öyster Cult – Secret Treaties (Review)”

  1. Good call HMO, one of my very favourite discoveries of the last few years, this one. I’m more of a Dominance & Submission kinda dude myself. Plus that LP cover is just so damned brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t actually done the ‘best of the first three’ calculation yet myself but I have no reason not to accept your result. There are few better songs by anybody than ME262 and Astronomy. Looks like it is going to be a BÖC night for this rubric scarab.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I got sucked into an internet rabbit hole yesterday and was looking at the best hard rock albums of the ’70s, and this one kept coming up. Also, I read this while listening to Killer. The last track just started. I kid you not.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I do, I found a handful at a thrift store years ago. A self titled one, Mirrors, Agents of Fortune, and Some Enchanted Evening. Honestly, none of them blew me away but I’m hoping this will be my gateway.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a few that I’d got from a pal, but I can’t say I’ve really listened to them. They have a lot of terrible looking album covers… and you know me and album art.

        Liked by 1 person

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