THE ALBUM: Blue Oyster Cult, "Cultosaurus Erectus," Columbia (JC 36550).

THE SHOW: At the Capital Centre, next Tuesday at 8.

Hard-rock fans will find Blue Oyster Cult's new album a formidable entry in the Alice Cooper-Aerosmith vein. "Cultosaurus Erectus" is a highly evolved rock specimen.

A tough brute to categorize, the album displays some beastly moments and harsh riffs, contrasted with theatrical numbers that are quite melodic. A busy electric extravaganza like "Lips on the Hill" is balanced by a catchy, airy tune titled "Deadlines," by lead guitarist/vocalist Buck Dharma. Even listeners who shy away from hard-rock blasts will be impressed with the complex guitar passages.

At times the Long Island group tends toward cosmic themes and supernatural images, sprinkled among ear-splitting electric guitar leads.The concepts don't always jibe with the din of metal, but generally this is authentic rowdy rock in its most intelligent life form.

On "The Marshall Plan," Blue Oyster Cult fulfills its promise to play "bad and loud," pausing for an irritating intro by TV rock emcee Don Kirshner, king of hype. In the latest self-conscious tribute to the music, the group screams, "It's rock'n'roll!" As if anyone wasn't sure, with the scorching electric guitars and hammering drum beat.

The beat has a bizarre discography. Rarely venturing into top-10 territory in its eight-year history, BOC is best-known outside a cult following for the single "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," a 1976 hit. It's co-written cryptic songs with Ian Hunter and Patti Smith, recorded intricate sci-fi numbers and arcane rockers like "R.U. Ready 2 Rock" and "Godzilla." The new album was produced by Martin Birch, whose credits include equally metallic productions for Deep Purple and Black Sabbath.

Usually, the Cult's themes are alternately pretentious and revolting: games for the mind and the gutter. Sexual references tend to take on violent overtones, which a Columbia Records press release demurely calls "tongue-in-cheek S&M." On "Cultosaurus Erectus," the low point must be the description of a girl cutting her palm with her father's razor, tasting the blood, putting on her dress and patent leather shoes and catching the bus for school. Fans won't think it irrelevant to add that musically the song makes up for its base lyrics with a haunting display on keyboards.

Certainly Cultists won't be deterred from trooping to Largo this weekend.