Blue Oyster Cult relied largely on dark psychedelia on their debut album, creeping along with a sinister, occult-tinged take on leather n' hogs rock that was spreading like fire in the early 1970s. With "Tyranny and Mutation," the band kick things into overdrive and give early British heavy metal a run for its money.
The band fuses elements of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and the California surf rock of artists like Dick Dale to create a hybrid fusion of sound interjected with the band's obscure lyrical themes and bratty sense of humor. There's the slightest bit of nihilism and nonchalance in the opening track 'The Red and the Black' a speedy doo-wop rocker with plenty of energy to move to. 'O.D.'ed on Life Itself' finds the band channeling some southern rock into a more medium paced offering, while 'Hot Rails to Hell' explores "In Rock"-era Deep Purple with a more stripped down and easily accessible take on the fast-rock formula. It's full-on Black Sabbath with '7 Screaming Diz-Busters,' driven by tinny, distorted guitar riffs and scales. "On each and all those holy nights, When duster's dust becomes the sale, And Lucifer the light..." is as typically cryptic of Blue Oyster Cult as one could possibly imagine. 'Baby Ice Dog' is a true highlight of the album, an instantly memorable thought-rock number co-written by the legendary Patti Smith, driven on the back of an off-time 1,2,3 guitar riff. 'Wings Wetted Down' slows the album down to another sinister Sabbath-crawl without sounding overly grimy or dark. 'Teen Archer' is another fine highlight of the album that deserves special recognition for being such a trademark of the 1973 hard rock era and still maintaining a quality that should be mandatory listening in music appreciation classes. BOC saved the best for last however, with 'Mistress of the Salmon Salt,' complete with uneasily decipherable lyrics and the memorable "Quicklime girl" lyric interspersed with classic metal organ and trip-over drum patterns.
It's far too easy to pigeonhole "Tyranny and Mutation" as the sophomore effort by the band who transitioned straight out of the 60s and hit the ground at the pinnacle of a new phase in hard rock history. Dating the album may be unavoidable, but there's enough rich musical history packed into each of the 8 songs to give serious rock historians and fans something to chew on for a long, long time. BOC may have been slightly eclipsed by their American (and indeed, British) compatriots during the rise of Heavy Metal music, but their influence on the future evolution of the genre is categorically undeniable.
on July 17, 2004
BOC score another hit with their second album. By this time they're known as "The American Black Sabbath." I'm not sure who this deaf schmuck was that started this rumor coz it's not accurate. Sabbath and BOC are both hard rock/metal bands from the 70s, but that's where all similarities end if you ask me. BOC were always hard rock, but were much more diverse and weren't afraid to experiment with what ever sounded good to them, even if that meant not being totally heavy 100% of the time. Plus, they weren't afraid to put a little humor into things. In all honesty, they don't sound anything like Black Sabbath. If you're a newcomer to BOC, and are curious because of this silly label, please disregard it. You'll be disappointed if you're looking for a Black Sabbath clone. Sabbath are great, but there is alot more substance to BOC. T&M is yet another masterpiece by BOC that's practically unknown to anyone under 50. Do yourself a favor and discover it. You owe it to yourself.
on November 11, 2003
This is the type of sophomore release most hard rock bands achieve but which few achieve so well. 'Tyranny & Mutation' is thirty-eight minutes of pushing at the frontiers explored on their eponymous debut. There's one retread ('The Red & The Black' is almost a carbon copy of 'I'm On The Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep') but even that's more progressive in sound.
As regards the remainder of the 'Red' songs (tracks 1-4),'OD'd on Life Itself' is a funky highlight indeed, 'Hot Rails to Hell' a screaming eagle and '7 Screaming Diz Busters' provides a feverish bit of hard rock, even if it gets embarrassingly silly in parts (beware having your car speakers cranked at a red light in summertime as it begins!)
Still, if the 'Red' songs ('Side One' in old money) are smoking, the 'Black' side is deliciously mysterious. 'Baby Ice Dog', 'Wings Wetted Down' and 'Teen Archer' seem to almost form a trilogy of wonder underscored by dark lyrics and a heavy keyboard-guitar section. 'Mistress of the Salmon Salt' is a return to form a-la hard rock and what a finish it gives to this, B.O.C.'s only other album to feature Escher-like landscapes on its cover.
While listening to this, it's imperative to consider the era of its fabrication. The sound quality still hasn't quite got to the levels first heard on 'Agents of Fortune' but given what's going on here, that's forgivable. The only thing that makes their debut that extra shade better lies in delivery and novelty-value. But anyone calling this a bad effort has simply not been listening at all. Luckily, the group kept listening to themselves and kept on an upward curve in the unfolding story of why Blue Oyster Cult are here and why we need them to be here.
on November 1, 2002
after the criticaly acclaimed maiden voyage (the self-titled BOC), T&M became a rarity in the rock lore. Their first effort sounded as though it were recorded in a garage - but was still a beaut. T&M went for our collective jugular and surprised any and all who listened. Never before had anyone heard anything like it. There was magic in the air. This band was otherwordly. And what a great cast of talented characters! Lead guitarist Don (buck dharma) Roeser, was nick-named "God" by his fans, and indeed took first in Guitar Worlds "best electric guitarist in the world" contest for about a decade. Eventually, Roeser became the Editor of GW. Singer/writer Eric Bloom was the personification of pure evil with his leather look - including cape and whip. He knew how to "whip the audience" into a frenzy. The drummer sometimes played the drums backwards, while wearing a weird mask on the back of his head. Guitarist/keyboardist (whatshisname) looked the perfect junkie, another member liked to dance on stage. Pyro-technics, motorcycles, a sense of fear by "the stoned out crowd", all made a great showcase for their recordings - T&M especially. #3 on the red side - "HOT RAILS TO HELL" - seems clearly the first polished example of heavy metal. Most girls don't like any of the songs because of the titles and lyrics - all of which are mean-spirited, yet great fun. Their wicked lyrics/topics would become one of their trademark characteristics. T&M even includes blatant devil worship in "Seven Screaming Diz-busters", and, of course, the obligatory song about a weird mermaid or something - Quicklime Girl. (Quicklime destroys human bodies very quickly.) T&M probably provided the inspiration of many of BOCs fans to travel with the band, watching as many shows as possible, or until winding up on the de-tox ward. Did someone whisper...the grateful dead? I hope so, as that is the type of following they have had since the release of T&M. This core group of loyal fans, like me, continue to see as many of their shows as possible. Therefore, Tyranny and Mutation was something new, something affecting, and a hell of a lot of fun! Get it now. Oh, and the bonus tracks? Fine, but just as good without them.
on September 11, 2002
Blue Oyster Cult never could be categorized. They were too weird to be considered hard rock and too heavy to be considered art rock. The truth is BOC combine the best of both worlds by creating strange landscapes for your mind all while making these songs rock. They keyboards are an important part of the band as they bring out the full personality of the song then bring it back into the shadow and back out into the light. While Buck Dharma throws out bluesy riffs and classic 70's sounding guitar solos, it's the rest of the band that keep the song tight and focused.
Tyranny and Mutation is without a doubt my favorite BOC record. Of course I only knew O.D'd on life itself and Cities on flame with rock'n roll, two classics, but I agree with others who tend to say they prefer the lesser known tracks such as Wings wetted down and Mistress of the salmon salt to the other more accessible ones. Their is a great vibe throughout this whole record. A vibe that would never be recreated again. The weird lyrics will have you pondering their meaning for days.
If you're considering getting into the good ol' stuf, then BOC cannot be left off you list. For a band that was too often labeled the American Sabbath, this record takes the unjustified comparisons and destroys them. This is the true Cult, experimenting and toying around with complete confidence in their abilities as musicians. All three albums from this so called "black and white" period are manditory when checking this band out.
on June 23, 2002
"See page from deep black, brittle experiments which failed and transformations hard to find. I was overcome and turned to red. Duster's dust became the sale. Lucifer the light. A restless motion came to move and then subside. In endless knocking at the door-it's time. Tyranny & mutation. Tyranny & mutation."
I love almost all BOC' albums in a manner you can not imagine. Blue Oyster Cult, Tyranny & Mutation, Secret Treaties, Fire Of Unknow Origin, Cultosaurus Erectus, Imaginos are the ones I prefer. A bunch of masterpieces their own, imaginative, cryptic, elusive. These are the Blue Oyster Cult. But It's with this record that BOC's musical and lyrical imaginery takes form.
Tyranny and mutation, that is the essence of the soundscape of this unique record: a gigantic synthesis between the grand songs from the debut album (one of the most underrated albums of the seventies) and the admirable lyrics and technical complexity of the sequel (as in effect it really is!) Secret Treaties. But at my deep glance the true masterpiece of the band is here, through the terrificant but wonderful eight songs of Tyranny & Mutation.
T&M is a profound magma of contrasts (The Red And The Black), a superset of gloomy obsessions (7 Screaming Diz-Busters), a world of urban poetry (Baby Ice Dog) and a sublime sordid metaphore (Mistress Of The Salmon Salt).
Definitely, one of the essentials of the hard rock in the seventies, at pair with (and in my opinion more and more than) II (Led Zeppelin) or 2112 (Rush). This is an album which can change your life, even it it's almost 30 years old.
For me it was so...
on April 18, 2002
Blue Oyster Cult's second album is probably their most underrated... a hard rock masterpiece that was actually better than their brilliant debut album. The band would go on to write the hit songs "Don't Fear the Reaper" and "Burning For You", but it's their early work that remains the most impressive.
Written on the road during their first major tour in 1972, Blue Oyster Cult's "Tyranny and Mutation" is usually overlooked by some fans, probably due to the fact that it was released between their memorable debut (with hit singles like "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll") and the timeless masterpiece that would be "Secret Treaties". However, this record perfectly captures the two distinct sounds that the band would experiment with in the future... fast-paced rock and folk-rock melodies.
The eight songs of "Tyranny and Mutation" are divided into two sides... "The Red" and "The Black". The songs on "The Black" are the ones that most fans will want to listen to the most. The album kicks off in high gear with "The Red and The Black", which is a better version of "I'm on the Lamb but I Ain't No Sheep" from their debut, and sustains that intensity throughout the next three songs. "O.D.'d on Life Itself" and "Hot Rails to Hell" have become fan favorites, but it's the bizarre epic "7 Screaming Diz-Busters" (clocking in at just over seven minutes) that's the most impressive of the first four tracks.
Many fans might disagree with me, but I consider the songs on "The Red" to be Blue Oyster Cult at their best. "Baby Ice Dog" catches the listener off guard with a complete 180-degree mood swing in music style. "Wings Wetted Down" is a creepily melodic rock tune that has become my favorite song on the album. The album ends with "Teen Archer" and "Mistress of the Salmon Salt"... two tracks that prove that Blue Oyster Cult had what it took to write instrumentally brilliant songs.
The REMASTERED version of the album (produced by none other than former Iron Maiden front man Bruce Dickinson) contains detailed liner notes, lyrics to the original songs, and many photographs. The album sounds distinctly clear and the production is top notch. The album also features four bonus songs. The live versions of "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll" and "O.D.'d on Life Itself" are great, and a live version of "7 Screaming Diz-Busters" clocks in at just under fourteen minutes. The best of the bonus tracks is a studio version of "Buck's Boogie"... a great instrumental that the band usually plays at live performances.
What makes "Tyranny and Mutation" such a great album is that it's a perfect representation of Blue Oyster Cult's music... innovative hard rock coupled with inventive songwriting and layered with cryptic lyrics. Blue Oyster Cult have always been an obscurist rock band, and the following (written within the booklet that accompanies this version of "Tyranny and Mutation") is yet another example of this...
"Seepage from deep, black, brittle experiments which failed and transformations too hard to find. 'I was overcome and turned to red.' Duster's dust became the sale. Lucifer the light. A restless motion came to move and then subside. In endless knocking at the door- it's time. Tyranny and Mutation. Tyranny and Mutation."
on April 14, 2002
BÃ-C hit their newly converted disciples with this while they were still reeling from the first eponymously titled studio onslaught. This remastered edition is worth every penny, sell your blood or your soul if you have to but just get it. It is certainly not for the fainthearted and I would recommend Blue Ã-yster Cult newcomers to break themselves in a little more gently with maybe a heavy blunt instrument delivered forcefully to the skull unless youï¿½re a hardened Sabbath-ite with Doors/Led Zep leanings in which case how come itï¿½s taken you this long to catch on? Oh. Smokinï¿½ and trippinï¿½ huh? Well welcome to the year 2002 and since your last conscious memory around 1972, Ozzy left and went solo ï¿½ yes, Iï¿½m serious man ï¿½ yeah tragic. This album isnï¿½t just a smack in the face it leaves you with a black eye. From the opening shot ï¿½The Red & the Blackï¿½ you are carried away on a rollercoaster of sound and motion through ï¿½7 Screaming Diz-Bustersï¿½ with barely a pause for breath until track five ï¿½Baby Ice Dogï¿½ which is relatively sedate in pace and tempo but just as hard hitting. Nothing on this album can be termed soothing even the melodic ï¿½Wings Wetted Downï¿½ is weirdly unsettling and if youï¿½re a connoisseur of truly creepy and sick lyrics with a touch of the obscene then this is the album for you - itï¿½s full of them. For old campaigners the bonus tracks are well worth the investment alone. In your face live versions of eternal favourites ï¿½Cities on Flameï¿½, ï¿½ODï¿½d on Lifeï¿½ and a marathon 14 minute version of ï¿½7 Screaming Diz-bustersï¿½ as well as a previously unreleased studio version of ï¿½Buckï¿½s Boogieï¿½. It rates a perfect 6 even though the system here only allows for 5. Remember to duck.
on January 28, 2002
I just got this album about a month ago and let me just say I have never been disappointed by a Blue Oyster Cult Album. (this being my forth and the one that has made me a much truer fan of theirs) Thanks to Tyrany and Mutation I am now thinking about getting the rest of the BOC collection. I also own Agents of Fortune, Some Enchanted Evening and Cultosaurous Erectus.
This is a fabulous album. If you love BOC because you think they're imaginative, get this album.
Mind you, your ears may need some breaking in with T & M. This is not a low fat album. This album is packed.
I can't stop playing Tyranny and Mutation. The first two and last two bonus tracks are ok, but the rest of the album is fantastic, with teen archer being the gem of the album. Their style on these fantastic tracks is reminicent of the sixties in several different ways. And to this add top of the line seventies creativity and musicianship. This is just a must have for a music fan that likes his music to interest and excite him/her. I just love this album.
Blue Oyster Cult is one of the few bands whose musicians really sound as good as their vocalist.
on July 25, 2001
This is another of the great remastered reissues of the first four Blue Öyster Cult albums which Sony put out on the Columbia/Legacy label. They include lyrics, photos, and liner notes by Lenny Kaye. They also contain additional tracks, and on this release that includes three live cuts and one outtake from the album session. In addition the albums have been digitally remastered and sound better than ever. "Tyranny and Mutation" was recorded in 1972 and released in February of 1973. It was produced by Murray Krugman and Sandy Pearlman. This remastered CD was released on June 26th of 2001. Bruce Dickinson produced the remastered versions. One odd note about this album is that is their only album where the group is listed as The Blue Öyster Cult.
The album was originally going to be titled "The Red and The Black", and each side retains the subtitle from that original plan. The first four tracks (side one on the LP) are called "The Black" (physical, sensual, aural activation). It opens with "The Red & The Black", which is a new version of "I'm On the Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep" from their first album. This version is heavier and has more drive to it, and it is this version that appears on two of their live albums and that they still play today. It continues with "O.D.'d On Life Itself", "Hot Rails To Hell", and "7 Screaming Diz-Busters". All of these are regular concert fare for the group, and all are hard driving rock.
The next four tracks (side two on the LP) were titled "The Red" (phantasmagorical id-teasers and supernatural beings). It opens with "Baby Ice Dog" which is the first collaboration that the group did with Patti Smith. That is followed by "Wings Wetted Down", "Teen Archer", and "Mistress of the Salmon Salt (Quicklime Girl)". These pieces are much different than those on side one. They are more mysterious and melodic then the pieces in "The Black". My personal favorites on this album are the closing pieces to each section.
The remastered CD has an additional section which is the bonus tracks. There is a live version of "Cities on Flame with Rock And Roll" from a promotion album called "Blue Öyster Cult Bootleg EP" (the other songs from that release are available on the "Workshop of the Telescopes" compilation CD). The next track is a studio outtake from the recording sessions called "Buck's Boogie"; the live version appears on "On Your Feet or on Your Knees". The final two bonus tracks are live versions of "7 Screaming Diz-Busters" and "O.D.'d on Life Itself", which come from a "bootleg" made by the band to give to friends and family which was titled "Blue Öyster Cult in the West".
The group consists of Eric Bloom (vocals, stun guitar, synthesizers), Albert Bouchard (drums, vocals), Joe Bouchard (bass, vocals, keyboards), Allen Lanier (keyboards, rhythm guitar), and Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser (guitar, vocals). This album is a solid four stars, and as with many of their albums, it improves each time you listen to it.