June 11, 2020

So we now come to the Curse Of The Hidden Mirror, part of the latest batch of live and studio albums being put out by Frontiers Music, a record that has been out of print for quite a while and, apparently, this is the first time it has ever been released on vinyl. This was the band’s fourteenth and last studio album, being put out in 2001, and relatively poor sales saw it lead to the band being dropped by Sanctuary Records; reputations count for nothing and the music business remains as fickle as ever! For fans of trivia, the name of the album was taken from a song by the Stalk-Forrest Group on their one and only unreleased record in 1970 – with The Stalk-Forrest Group being a pre-curser to BÖC, a name which they adopted a year when bassist Joe Bouchard replaced Andy Winters. Their previous album, Heaven Forbid, had seen the band move into slightly heavier territory and this movement was to be continued with Curse Of The Hidden Mirror. Effectively, the line-up remained the same too with Eric Bloom (vocals/guitar), Donald ‘Buck Dharma’ Roeser (guitar/vocals), Allen Lanier (guitars/keyboards), Danny Miranda (bass) and Bob Rondinelli (drums). As usual, vocal duties were shared between the two main singers with Bloom leading on seven tracks and Dharma on the remaining four and this has always given the band a delicious contrast.

Keeping with the familiar, the American sci-fi and horror author John Shirley again wrote many of the lyrics for the album and his unique, intellectual stylings give a sharp edge to the band’s music. I still fail to understand why this album did not do better, maybe it was just another victim of changes in the public’s musical appetite, but I still consider it a strong addition to their catalogue with the guitar work being close to perfection and the vocals simply sublime. Just listen to Out Of The Darkness to witness a band in total control, at the top of their game and still able to move you with their emotionally charged guitar breaks. There is not a bad song here – how could there be as this is BÖC, with the band showing just how vital they were and still able to move with the times. The real tragedy is that they have not released any new material since this fine album but, with luck, 2020 should be the year that we see a new album for the band and I simply cannot wait. If you consider the early ’70s albums to be the band’s best then just listen to the last couple they made and you will be impressed; this is the same band after all that produced the classics, and class is permanent. Sadly, there is no bonus material on the new release but this is not a problem or an issue – simply sit back and become immersed in the band’s sublime music and revel in what is a quite fabulous heavy rock album, and one to savour again and again.

Track List:  Dance On Stilts, Showtime, The Old Gods Return, Pocket, One Step Ahead Of The Devil, I Just Like To Be Bad, Here Comes That Feeling, Out Of The Darkness, Stone Of Love, Eye Of The Hurricane, Good To Feel Hungry.

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