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With Sandy Pearlman back in the producer's chair, Blue Oyster Cult had yet another hit album with the release of Club Ninja. Originally released in 1985, B.O.C. continued their streak of chart success with 'Dancin' In The Ruins' climbing all the way to #9 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. This is B.O.C. at their best: loud and hard!
- A solid fan's album
I own every BOC recording I can get my hands on. There isn't much that I don't like, with each having both high points and low points. Despite the unfortunate name, Club Ninja is no exception.
While White Flags is solid, Dancing is the Ruins is another in the series of Buck legacy classics. Meanwhile, Make Rock Not War, Spy in the House of Night and Perfect Water certainly provide no reason to hit the skip button.
When the War Comes, Shadow Warrior and Madness to the Method all provide competent performances from the players all the same. The only real stinker here is Beat 'Em Up.
Now compare Ninja to Mirrors, wherein the Lanier-penned "Lonely Teardrops" is the only cut that should have ever been released from hiding, and you can see why this album is still well worth owning, IHMO....more info
- Ooooh,this is.......
Yes,this is thee last BOC to buy. The one with so few good songs(one?).
I think "Perfect Water" is the only song salvageable from this wreck.
A sad release , lost in some kind of confusion(I thnk?).
I love this band,but ooohh this sucks....more info
- Club Enigma
There are several things wrong with this album and a thousand things right with it. Both Al's were gone, and Joe was soon to follow. The album cover is laughable and the album title is just plain stupid. Half of the album was written from sources outside the band and then there's the mixed message of 'Make Rock Not War' and 'Beat Em Up' on the same album, huh. But this is a great record of hard rocking occult oriented BOC. Everyone expects a band to have its albatross and because its reputation precedes itself everyone thinks this is BOC's. I fervently disagree. Besides 'Beat Em Up', which I still like in a cartoonish way, I would say that this is one of Buck's greatest guitar albums. I know what your going to say, and believe me I love all of BOC and I'm not saying this is better than 'Tyranny and Mutation' or 'Secret Treaties', but there is some really solid songs and lead playing on this album.
This is by no means the first album you should get by them but definitely not the last either. If you do get it go in with an open mind and don't look at the cover. It's a shame to think with the all the s**t that's released these days, that sell millions of albums to zombified tweenagers, that this album almost buried one of the greatest rock bands of all time.
- One of the best BOC works
I must also state that, as a long time Blue Oyster Cult fan I really cannot believe the bad rap "Club Ninja" receives from many other fans. I cannot for the life of me find fault with this cd. Every song rocks, every performance is outstanding, the mix is clear (especially considering this was released in late '85) and the production (by Pearlman once again) is pristine. It's true that many of the songs come from outside sources, but, really, so what? As long as they're on the mark I don't really care. 'White Flags' is a truly amazing all-time pearl from the Oyster; if this had been written by Eric or Buck I think it would easily be a setlist mainstay. Even those two badly titled ones (and you know which they are) are great, saved by the sheer power and majesty of BOC. I think another reason some fans ?insist upon knocking "Club Ninja" is the fact that Lanier isn't on it. Well, he left the band. Tommy Zvoncheck, his replacement, is truly amazing though. Listen to his flourishes on 'Beat 'Em Up', 'Perfect Water', 'When The War Comes' and 'Madness To The Method' and tell me you don't agree! The concept of war is certainly more relevant today than it was at the time. All in all, "Club Ninja" is one of those great, vastly underrated masterpieces that will one day receive it's due. But why wait. Buy this cd and find out for yourselves here and now why this is one of Blue Oyster Cult's greatest recordings to date....more info
- a club i'm more than happy to join
Having bought the excellant 'heaven forbid' 3 yrs ago i have been slowly been building my b.o.c collection.learning quite quickly that 'club ninja'was best to be avoided i thought i would never buy,but as i worked on purchaseing from there self titled debut right through to 'imaginos' i was pleasantly surprised by each and every release, before even playing 'club ninja' i had already convinced myself that the cd would not let me down as indeed 'mirrors' and 'revolution by night' also received bad reviews and of which both cds i would also give a four star rating.'method to madness'is my favorite track from the cd but 'spy in the house of night','dancin in the ruins'and 'perfect water' should also be hailed as classic b.o.c (just read the majority of reviews below) it cant be denied.i cant believe that in 20 yrs of buying rock music i let b.o.c pass me buy as they are the most consistant yet underrated bands i have ever come across....more info
- stern connection
BOC trivia thats Howard Stern doing the voice at the beginning of "When the War Comes"...more info
- WHAT IN HELL WERE THEY THINKING?
It is quite clear...the 1980's were not very good for Blue Oyster Cult. Take this album, for instance. CLUB NINJA gives the impression that they were following the lead of others rather than taking the rock and roll bull by the horns and blazing a heavy metal trail for guitar worshippers to follow.
Also, a gaping talent hole was left in BOC when Albert Bouchard was dismissed and Allen Lanier left the band. The sound is very good, however, and that makes up for NINJA'S shortcomings.
It is known that this album was the reason that Joe Bouchard departed from BOC and mainly for the direction of the music that left him more than a shade dissatisfied.
But...never to fear...in 1988 Blue Oyster Cult released their best album...the monster known as IMAGINOS!...more info
- An awesome CD by an all-time awesome group!
I'll try to make this brief (good luck, right?). I got into BOC after their first album was released and they've been among my favorite groups ever since. I've seen them live four times since way back when. Since updating all my albums to CD's, I bought this a few weeks ago and have played it about 50 times in my car since! All the tunes I almost forgot from this album came back with intensity. The power, the energy, the great rock melodies, and of course the heavy driving force that has always been this predominantly Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma led band is all there. I love this group and always have. Their music has never been for the faint of heart. This CD has superb music from start to finish, something a few of their other albums didn't quite have. It surprises the bleep out of me that any true BOC lover would find ANY fault with the music here, since to me it is now among my top 6 of all of theirs (their first 3 will always rank at the top!!!). At the price offered here, you BOC fans, if you have never picked this one up, should find plenty of great rock here to satisfy, again and again and again!...more info
- Oh man... read my Revolution By Night review please...
Well... they must have had a contract obligation to produce another album... I cannot explain otherwise another load of such an uninspired junk. One song is more or less OK - "Beat'em Up" at least has some drive to it, tune and rhythm are pretty catchy there. The rest of it, though... oh yeah, consistency is there alright, but it's the wrong kind of consistency - that is, consistently weak music and, all of a sudden, weirdly bad (or is it badly weird) lyrics. Forget about it......more info
- B?-C`s worst record
I have all b?c-records and this definetely the worst of. "White flag" is only flash of light...
Save ur money, don`t buy it, u lost ur money...
If u want new b?c, buy imaginos instead of it......more info
- Simply: their worst!
I never write a review to slag people's opinions (I'll dump on a bad album, of course) but this time, I dunno, I guess I'm in the mood. I'm a B.O.C. fanatic. Have been since album number one. I have everything they've ever done. I've been reading so many positive reviews here about their mid-period albums, which are nothing like their first three, that I thought I'd pick on the fans of this in particular, their worst album ever. But the same goes for anybody who thinks "Mirrors" is a great album, too. YOU ARE NOT A BLUE OYSTER CULT FAN. YOU ARE A FAN OF CORPORATE ROCK. YOU DON'T LIKE UNPREDICTABILITY, DARKNESS OR MYSTERY IN THE MUSIC YOU LISTEN TO. YOU ARE PROBABLY ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO THINKS LATTER-PERIOD SABBATH WITHOUT OZZY WAS THEIR BEST INCARNATION, OR THAT DAVID COVERDALE WAS THE BEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN TO DEEP PURPLE. SERIOUSLY, "CLUB NINJA" MAKES REO SPEEDWAGON SOUND GOOD. IN FACT, MOST OF "MIRRORS" IS A PRETTY SORRY FOLLOW-UP TO EARLY CLASSICS LIKE "WORKSHOP OF THE TELESCOPES" OR "WINGS WETTED DOWN". BUT YOU WON'T APPRECIATE THAT ERA OF THIS BAND, SO DON'T GO TRYING TO REDISCOVER IT. YOU WON'T LIKE IT. THE BAND CHANGED THEIR SOUND DRASTICALLY TO APPEAL TO PEOPLE LIKE YOU. BUY "PIECES OF EIGHT" BY STYX OR SOMETHING FROM BOB SEGER.......WHEW! THANKS FOR LETTING ME GET THAT OFF MY CHEST!!...more info
- I love it
Club Ninja was the last Blue Oyster Cult album released before the band decided to call it quits for a while. Let's be honest here- the 80's haven't been very kind to many of the classic rockers who were born in the 70's and tried to have a creative career into the 80's. The decade of the 80's demanded short, commercial pop hits to dominate the airwaves, and not diverse creative juices. That's what makes this album probably BOC's most ordinary-sounding album, not to mention the most ordinary songwriting-wise. Still, I can't figure out why I love it so much. Maybe I'm just a big fan, or maybe I really feel the band members are at least trying to look through the commericalized decade of the 80's and at least try to write some memorable tunes, because there certainly are a few catchy songs on here.
"White Flags" has a hard rocking and memorable chorus, "Dancin' in the Ruins" recalls the early 80's attempts at creativity with a poppy vocal melody, and for no reason at all, just the other day "Make Rock Not War" popped into my head. I love the chorus to that one as well. "Perfect Water" is another surprise. It's just a very pretty song, perfectly fitting with the 80's slushy recording equipment.
The quality drops off a little bit after that for the second side of the album, but "Shadow Warrior" is pretty awesome despite that. So you're looking at five awesome songs out of eight. Not bad. ...more info
- WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
This album has to be the very worst of the B.O.C. efforts. But never to fear...after their worst album came, after almost two years...the best album by B.O.C.----IMAGINOS!...more info
- remember the time
BOC was getting stale hence personnel changes--- yes this is weak but at this stage of a bands life, if there are at least 3-4 songs that move you- then you're in like flint.
Yes Howard Stern is on the open of 'Make Rock..' but 'Perfect Water' is the song to buy this for. See the DVD of BOC doing this song and it will change your thoughts about the studio version and the smokin' live version. Buck is one of the most underrated guitarists ever....more info
- Two ?-yster Cult- Defintely Not Their Best Work....
This is a troubled album from a troubled time in the band's history. At this stage of the game, the only remaining original members were Bloom and Roeser (hence my joke about "TWO ?yster Cult"). No Allen Lanier equals no B?C. (It's bad enough without the Bouchards.) Talented though they may be, they were not strong enough to carry this off by themselves.
The album has ONE excellent track- Roeser's "Perfect Water." Everything else falls short in some manner. "Madness to the Method" is a nice teen anthem with a nice hook and an awesome piano solo by Tommy Zvonchech (spelling? Sorry Tommy!).
The remaining tunes are WEAK.
Interestingly enough, "Dancin' in the Ruins" got a LOT of air play. It will get you tapping your foot, sure. But ardent B?C fan expects more from a group capable of sheer genius.
My Recomendation: If you're new to Blue ?yster Cult, buy "Agents of Fortune" instead. If you're a fan, a pro collector, a Cultophile, a musician, etc. then this will make a nice addition to your collection. Just don't pay too much for it, that's all....more info
- Hard times and only a mild letdown. *** & one half
It should be an easy matter being fair to 'Club Ninja'. 1986 was a very confusing time for established hard rockers as all the fresh hair metalheads seemed to be stealing the show. No excuses are valid in a decent critique, though, save the fact that B.O.C. were about as much about hairspray and ripped acid-wash jeans as Pat Boone.
They kept to their reputation as 'The Thinking Man's Metal Band' by realizing that in order to stay competitive, some hired guns would have to be deployed. On paper, it was a sound strategy and to be fair to the overall sound, it's not a bad album. Perhaps a little long for its own good, 'Club Ninja' carried such gems as 'Dancin' In the Ruins' and 'Beat 'Em Up', proving that hard rock could still co-exist with synth-driven Europe-Bon Jovi rock domination. Balladists will melt at 'Perfect Water' without doubt.
Probably the worst thing about this album was its overdiversification of theme. Although B.O.C. had always been about the strange and the heavy amid the normal and the everyday (hence their ease of identification with Stephen King's work), here they seemed to splinter in too many directions. Nuclear holocaust was one thing (in keeping with the Rekjavik summit of the era) but within ten minutes on the CD the band were hopping about as comic-book ninjas. This was furtherly made silly by the flippant album art, so much so that what little sincerity is left in the overall package is hard to follow for any great length of time.
It's not half-baked, it's just wrongly configured and sequenced. There were two albums worth of themes trying to get along with each other here and not even managing an uneasy co-existence. Maybe that was the idea (New York's link to British irony comes to mind here) but whatever the end result in ideological terms, it's still fairly decent hard rock. Don't call it metal - if you do you'll hate yourself for a week or two until a few of these songs begin growing on you....more info
- Barely three stars
First of all...this release is not as bad as many would have it be. I bought it when it came out....I listened to it then, and today it's not that bad. Now, it's no Secret Treaties, but what is? The band was lacking founding members Al and Joe Bouchard (a jammin'rythm section) as well as Al Lanier (who is a direct descendent of Sydney Lanier, a poet who traveled through north Georgia and wrote many a fine poem about the area's beauty). Nevertheless there is good stuff to be had here. "White Flags" is a nice powerful number that leads into the superb "Dancin' in the Ruins". "Perfect Water" is a BOC mainstay in concert, and well deserved. Other cuts such as "when the war comes" and "shadow warrior" are slightly off mark, just as "Spy in the House of the Night" slightly HITS it's mark. More than anything the album suffers under the super heavy production of Sandy Pearlman (!). Pearlman phones in his production duties seemingly by just cranking up the reverb to "11" and letting everything else just fall into place. Pearlman tries to give the band an even slicker production than Bruce Fairbairn's over-produced "Revolution By Night" thus taking away the band's fire and energy and leaving the listener begging for the regular overproduction values of someone like a Mutt Lange (as if there's anyone who can over-produce like the Mutt-man). Song for song "Club Ninja" doesn't stand up to the quality of previous BOC efforts, but it's not a bad album. It's almost as if Sandy Pearlman single-handidly tried to hamstring the band, but it's more likely that Pearlman thought he could save the band with a new, slicker sound. Whatever, the band didn't need saving. It was just a sign of the times....more info
- Their loudest ever, but better on CD!
I know BOC album openers tend to be among the best tracks. But the first time I heard "White Flags" it blew me away as no other BOC tune in 10 years of being a fan ever had. It's simply one of the most "dynamic" songs I've ever heard, with the eerie, quiet mid-section leading to a powerful last verse that builds to an overwhelming crescendo! CLUB NINJA is my least-favorite of all of BOC's albums; but it contains my #1 favorite BOC song! And "Dancin' In the Ruins" (images of pagan rituals and the movie CRY OF THE BANSHEE come to mind) and "Beat 'Em Up" (that opening sound-mesh always makes me look around to check for ALIENS on the loose) AIN'T BAD, either. The rest is just noise to me-- but with a CD you can play all songs like singles anyway!
I've heard rumors that the UK release of this had ENTIRELY different mixes on some songs, particularly on "White Flags". But I refused to spring for an over-priced version of an only so-so album.
Also, the one time I managed to see BOC in concert, at The Trocadero in Philly (June 24, 1986), they were promoting this album. Barely. They didn't play "White Flags" (criminal!), but they DID play a song FAR better than 90% of what was on the disc-- "Wings Of Mercury", a fast-paced, highly-charged, hypnotically-rhythmed rocker that deserved to go down as one of the greatest songs in rock history-- except it was NEVER RELEASED! The band broke up 6 months later... Luckily, they reformed a year or so later, and through a multitude of line-up changes have REMAINED together, touring endlessly, ever since. NO WONDER they're one of the best-sounding bands in the business! At any rate, adding some bonus tracks (like the 2 I mentioned) would surely help raise the quality of this disc. In the meantime, I just took my 3 favorite songs from it and put together my OWN custom comp of their later stuff (1986-2001). Don't you just love modern technology?...more info
- Blue Oyster Cult of the '80s
To start, let's be clear-- I'm a huge BOC fan. I've seen them play live at least 7 times, got all the albums, etc. I find something to like in all their work (it's hard not to with a great vocalist like Eric Bloom and a shredding guitar god like Buck Dharma), but there's no hiding the fact that this may be the "weakest link". The sound and production on this album is heavily influenced by your trademark 80's rock sound. I'm sure you know what I mean. This doesn't break (or make) the album, but it's a little bit of a departure from all their other records. The songs all sound very slick, basically over-produced. Fortunately this doesn't make for a total trainwreck (the Oyster boys are too good to let that happen), but if you're just getting into the band, look at their other records before you pick up Club Ninja. Here's a breakdown of how the album plays out--
White Flags- Good song, great album opener, but a bit different from what they've done in the past, lyrically and musically. Compared to the rest of their library, it's just OK, not phenomenal.
Dancin' in the Ruins- Sounds like the boys were trying to one-up, or at least repeat, the success of Burnin' For You. It's not a carbon copy, but the vibe is similar. A little too poppy for me. Probably my least favorite on the album.
Make Rock Not War- Really generic 80's-sounding arena rocker, but Eric sounds great singing it, and despite it's genericness it's a guilty pleasure of mine. But don't expect to be floored by any originality here.
Perfect Water- Great f--ing song, Buck sings it, blistering guitar solos, builds to a nice climax, the whole bit. Arguably the best song on the record, depending on your mood. I read somewhere it's about taking a shower while under the influence of heroin.
Spy in the House of Night- Another Buck song, I love Spy, although I often see it get the brunt of assaults as one reason the album failed. Personally, it's a highlight for me, I love the lyrics on this one.
Beat 'Em Up- Another '80s sounding rocker, like Make Rock Not War, although this one is a little harder/crunchier. The lyrics are stupid (BOC's only song with "stupid" lyrics? quite possible....), but again, I have to admit to it being a guilty pleasure.
When the War Comes- This is a great BOC classic, sounds like anything off their earlier records. Even if you find nothing else to like here, as a BOC fan you'll probably like this one. Has a spoken word intro by fellow New Yorker Howard Stern.
Shadow Warrior- Very heavy song, one of my favorites on the album. Another one reminiscent of BOC's earlier works. Basically the "title track" to the record.
Madness to the Method- An interesting song, like White Flags, it's a bit different from BOC's normal fare. This was my least favorite song on the record for a long time, but over time I grew to appreciate it. Years later, it's possibly my *favorite song* on the album. One of the main reasons is that this song is very relevant to the time in my life when I first heard it. Looking back, the subject matter here fits perfectly with what I was going through at the time (just out of high school, living a crazy "mad" lifestyle, lots of parties, etc) Buck sings this one, I really enjoy the guitar work, piano work and lyrics on Madness, but the chorus is very '80s. Despite that last fact, I have a stronger emotional tie to Madness than any other track here. I can close my eyes while listening to it and all of a sudden I'm 19 years old again. Good stuff. No question BOC's best-ever album closer.
Overall Club Ninja has a few great moments, a few less than stellar moments, and a lot of average moments. That's really the problem here, not enough soaring guitar work by Buck, not enough out-of-this-world subject matter, and too much 80's production end up holding Ninja back from being a "great" album. Despite a few shining gems, the overall experience is just kind of.... mediocre....more info
- I wonder
Yes, I wonder that with such a low level of regard that this disk costs so much.
I especially like "Dancin' In The Ruins" and "When The War Comes"....more info