Blue Oyster Cult went out with a bang as a major-label recording act on their 14th and last new Columbia album, Imaginos. The idea for this concept album came as early as Secret Treaties, on which some of its music appeared, and the recording took place over a six-year period. (As a result, album credits give the erroneous impression that the original band had reformed.) The story line, which is easier to appreciate in the liner notes than on the record, concerns a mysterious, protean 19th century figure who has a talent for turning up at key moments in history and influencing them for the worse. This is perhaps BOC's most consistent album, certainly its most uncompromising (none of its usual nods to pop accessibility), and also the closest thing to a real heavy-metal statement from a band that never quite fit that description. Unfortunately, this ambitious work came out as BOC was dropping out of the frontline of the music business, so the album that comes closest to defining Blue Oyster Cult turned into its creative swan song.