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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Blue Oyster Cult - 1985 Club Ninja
Blue Oyster Cult - 1985 Club Ninja

ARTIST: Blue Oyster Cult
ALBUM: Club Ninja
SERIAL: FC 39979
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 2009, American Bear, 70002


LINEUP: Eric Bloom - lead vocals, stun guitar * Donald 'Buck Dharma' Roeser - vocals, lead guitar, keyboards * Joe Bouchard - bass, vocals, guitar * Tommy Zvonchek - synthesizers, piano, organ * Jimmy Wilcox - drums, background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 White Flags * 02 Dancin' In The Ruins * 03 Make Rock Not War * 04 Perfect Water * 05 Spy In The House Of Night * 06 Beat 'Em Up * 07 When The War Comes * 08 Shadow Warrior * 09 Madness To The Method


By 1985, Blue Oyster Cult were fast becoming the equivalent of a pass-through turnstile. Despite some good efforts during the early 80's, the band's traditional sounding style of melodic rock was losing ground versus all the youthful hair metal coming through the MTV channel. Simply, the band couldn't compete despite some good music being produced. A brace of good if unspectacular albums such as 'Cultosaurus Erectus', 'Fire Of Unknown Origin' and 'Revolution By Night' kept BOC in the limelight during this period. But they couldn't sustain it, with the departure of veterans Allen Lanier and drummer Albert Bouchard. For this album 'Club Ninja', the band recruited Tommy Zvonchek (a member of Aldo Nova's touring band) and drummer Jimmy Wilcox to fill the gaps. Also, for the first time in the band's history, they resorted to the use of outside writers. You know something's up when outside writers are bought in.. the writing's on the wall. Hence, Bob Halligan Jnr, Larry Gotlieb and a few other provided some input. Despite being lauded as being the band's worst studio album, I disagree. I think this is a solid melodic rock album that will please this readership, less so long-time BOC fans.

The Songs
On a bed of synths, 'White Flags' comes riding in from left speaker. The whole song is a nervous slice of musical energy that is both calm and angst ridden in the space of one breath. The album's single 'Dancin' In The Ruins' is a cool tune, with supremely melodic moments and a smooth pulsing chorus. Keys again take the lead on 'Make Rock Not War', the anthemic nature of this track compares favorably to prime-time Petra. One of the album's most interesting tracks is 'Perfect Water', which treads all over the soundscape with a professional sheen that only a band like BOC could pull off. Conversely, 'Spy In The House Of The Night' sounds as if the band have called on memories of past efforts to entertain us. Another cool track with a variety of interesting passages. 'Beat 'Em Up' is probably the albums heaviest moment, Roeser gets to let rip here. 'When The War Comes' is a confusing piece of work, with dark themes and lyrics. 'Shadow Warrior' is more straight-ahead rock while the closer 'Madness To The Method' is seven and a half minutes of living in the BOC universe.. something long time fans can only appreciate.

In Summary
As mentioned, in lieu of the heavy criticism afforded the band for this album, there are a couple of moments that bely the negativity. Obviously the band didn't think so, as bassist Joe Bouchard left the group, leaving only Eric Bloom and Donald Roeser holding the fort. Two Oyster Cult anyone? It was all too much, the band dying a quiet death in 1987 after the completion of the touring obligations for the album. The break up of the band was only short-term as the band reformed and continued to play with differing line-ups all the way up through to the current day. In my opinion, 'Club Ninja' is certainly not one of their worst efforts.. perhaps I stand alone on that front? lol!

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#1 | Eric on October 22 2007 13:28:59
I have to agree here, not THAT bad an album and this coming from an old school BOC fan who just happened to live a few short blocks from the BOC band house on Long Island in the mid-70's. It was sad to see them sort of fade into oblivion at the time...
#2 | Recordjnky on October 22 2007 23:28:33
Well, i love everything BOC have ever released - including the much hated Spectres album - but being a huge AOR fan, CLUB NINJA is easily the best IMO.
#3 | gdazegod on October 23 2007 02:28:51
I thought 'Spectres' was one of their better ones. 'Godzilla', 'Fireworks', 'Searchin For Celine' and that awesome ballad 'I Love The Night' - all memorable songs in my teenage years!
#4 | vinyldinosaurus on January 29 2008 21:05:06
I hate to break it to ya but BOC have enlisted the help of songwriters from outside the band's ranks since their debut.
#5 | rostoned on June 16 2008 19:48:38
I saw BOC live last week in London and 'Perfect Water' was one of the highlights of the show. Great song and amazing techno prog atmosphere: could this track be the closest that BOC will get to sounding like RUSH? Buck's voice was soooo much Geddy Lee-esque!
#6 | DIGITAL on March 01 2010 17:32:55
Has some tasty aor moments 'dancin'. 'perfect water', 'spy', etc.
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