I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with the other people that reviewed this....Imaginos is one of B.O.C.'s worst albums and certainly their most confusing album as well.
Recommend this product?
The album began as a collaboration between Sandy Pearlman and drummer Al Bouchard. The two actually started working on it back in 1981, shortly after Al was fired from B.O.C. Reportedly, Al was recording this in a studio right next to Blue Oyster Cult as they were recording The Revolution By Night in 1983. Pearlman and Bouchard worked on the album for three years and then presented it to CBS, who hated it and refused to release it. Their biggest problem was Al Bouchard's vocals, which they were far from happy with. The album was shelved for a few years, then In 1986, Sandy Pearlman and Steve Schenk approached CBS and suggested that they get Eric Bloom and Donald Roeser to play and sing on it and release it as a Blue Oyster Cult album. CBS agreed and work was resumed on the album, though Al Bouchard wasn't as involved this time around. Al Lanier, who had just rejoined B.O.C. after a two or three year hiatus, also contributed to the album, along with Joe Bouchard, even though the latter admits that he did very little on the album, playing one keyboard part( which he thinks they erased!), co-writing a few songs and providing some backing vocals here and there.
The album also features Kenny Aaronson on bass, Thommy Price(drums) and Tommy Zvoncheck(keyboards)...both of who played on the album Club Ninja...and at least half a dozen guitarists, including Robbie Krieger, Aldo Nova and Joe Satriani, along with several additional vocalists. And although all five original B.O.C. guys play on the album, they seem more like session musicians this time around. This feels more like a Sandy Pearlman album than a Blue Oyster Cult album, since Pearlman helped produce it, along with writing all the lyrics and writing the story behind it. Oh yes, the story....
I have had this album for many years and I'm still not very sure if I completely understand the whole story, even after how well it's explained in Martin Popoff's book Blue Oyster Cult:Secrets Revealed, which just came out in July of this year and is a must read for all B.O.C. fans. Pearlman came up with the idea for Imaginos in the late 60's. Several songs that fit in with the Imaginos story, like The Subhuman( retitled here as Blue Oyster Cult) and Astronomy (also redone here) had popped on earlier B.O.C. albums. Supposedly, a woman gives birth to a boy called "Imaginos", who is a descendant of these extra-terrestrials who call themselves "Les Invisibles",and he has all of these neat powers and can travel through time and he's an actor ,and at one point he's left to die by two good friends( don't sound like very nice friends to me!), but he is saved by some oyster boys and changes his name to Desdinova, (which means "eternal light" in the native tongue of the Partausupians) probably because it sounds neater, even though it has the same amount of syllables as "Imaginos", and then at one point, he discovers a mirror, but it's no ordinary mirror, it's EVIL and somehow plants the seeds for World War 1 , and Frankenstein's castle shows up at one point.... It's something like that... or MAYBE NOT! MAYBE THE WHOLE THING IS JUST SOME WEIRD DREAM, like I wish this album was... Pearlman does his best to explain this story in the liner notes, but he does it in a way that makes me go, "WHAAA?..."
To make things more complex and confusing, the lyrics to the songs are not included and if you're understanding the order of the events, the songs aren't in the correct order, either!
The order of the songs on the album is: I Am The One You Warned Me Of, Les Invisibles, In The Presence Of Another World, Del Rio's Song, The Siege and Investiture Of Baron Von Frankenstein's Castle At Weisseria, Astronomy, Magna Of Illusion, Blue Oyster Cult, Imaginos, but the real order should be Les Invisibles, Imaginos, Del Rio's Song, Blue Oyster Cult, I Am The One, The Siege,etc.., In The Presence, Astronomy, Magna Of Illusion. BUT WAIT, this is a story that involves time travel, so maybe the first order is correct, or maybe THERE IS NO ORDER! HELLLPP! But more than enough about the story....
....what about the music?
Musically, this is the heaviest album that B.O.C. has ever done, or more appropriately, the heaviest album ever released under the name Blue Oyster Cult. The drums are really loud, there are layers and layers of guitars and backing vocals and whatnot. It's loud, but overproduced and not as listenable as the last two or three B.O.C. albums. The remakes of The Subhuman and Astronomy are unnecessary and, in my crumple opinion, not nearly as good as the original versions, though I've never really liked Astronomy all that much to begin with.
All of that being said, I can say some very positive things about the album. First of all, Eric Bloom sounds great on the three songs that he sings. I don't think he has ever sounded better, especially on the opening track, I Am The One You Warned Me Of, which is easily my favorite song on the album. Bloom, in his powerful, commanding voice, sings the #@#$ out of this song. This is the type of lyric that he was born to sing. I also dig some of the guitar riffs on it. The other two songs that Eric sings on, Del Rio's Song and In The Presence Of Another World, are also quite enjoyable, the latter giving the album it's only quiet moment. I've had the silly refrain for "Del Rio" going through my head the last two days....Del Rio's Song, go Del Rio"...tis kind of Beach Boys like! And, the song Les Invisibles is a catchy piece of hard rock. I've been listening to this album a bunch this past week and finding that I don't hate it nearly as much as I used to. I do have to admit that I love the cover, which is a black and white photo of the Cliff House in San Fransisco. It's very spooky, like something one would see in an old black and white horror flick. And, as I'm writing this review, I'm listening to the Frankenstein song and realizing that I like that tune as well! Damn!
I find the last four songs on Imaginos practically unlistenable, however, due to the overproduction and some of the unintentionally silly backing vocals, particularly on Blue Oyster Cult and Imaginos.
When I originally started writing this review, I gave this album just two stars, but I'm tempted to up my rating to three stars, since I've grown to appreciate it more this past week. I still don't care for the story and the whole concept behind the album and I don't believe it should have been released as a Blue Oyster Cult album, since it's really just one person's idea of what B.O.C. is. Well, maybe TWO people's idea, if you count Al Bouchard, who had a hand in writing seven of the album's nine songs. So, I guess I don't care for the lyrics, but enjoy most of the music. Recommended, I think, but only for Sandy Pearlman fans.