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Blue Öyster Cult - Tyranny And Mutation CD (album) cover


Blue Öyster Cult


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3.46 | 162 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Two sides of the brain - Evil... and More Evil. Red... and Black

Early in their career, New York based band Blue Oyster Cult [BOC] had already established themselves as the thinking man's heavy metal band. With intelligent lyrics and excellent musicianship they were held up as North America's answer to Black Sabbath (a comparison that I will never fully understand). After a very good, if flawed, debut the band had to release some very good material to top themselves off with the ever feared sophomore album.

Continuing the Black and White era of BOC, the band decided to stick close to their roots and release this excellent album. Tyranny & Mutation is held up high in most hard rock and metal circles as well as being highly regarded by fans world over, but it also deserves a very good praise from prog fans as well. While still heavy, this album because much darker and faster over their debut album. Really, the album is very split between the two sides (even being separately named, with the quick first side being called The Red and the reflective second side being called The Black) and the much shows it, although the band did an excellent job of keeping things from sounding scattered. Songs like The Red & The Black, and Hot Rails To Hell show a much speedier side of the band with blinding riffs from Buck Dharma and a frantically maniacal voice from one Mr. Eric Bloom. While others such as Wings Wetted Down, with its haunting, mourning chorus, and Mistress Of Salmon Salt (Quicklime Girl) sound much more thought out and generally evil sounding.

Still retreating back to the days of Cities On Flame... at times, other songs on the album such as the stoned-sounding O.D.'d On Life Itself and Baby Ice Dog sound like they could have been among the best of the songs off the band's debut. What this album really, truly winds up doing is progressing the band's sound while still keeping their established style to make something very unique, and indeed, evil.

Yet I haven't touched on the standout of the album yet. With chilling lyrics and delivery, a chugging intro riff that rises quickly into a full blown mini-epic of power is the outstanding 7 Screaming Diz-Busters. Likely one of the band's most progressive outings with it's pace and delivery (not to mention that it's one of the band's longer tracks, clocking in at seven minutes), this one is a tour-de-force of everything the band does best.

While the band had many releases on the horizon (all of them landing somewhere between exceptional and poor with their very varied discography) this one remains as one of the finest. 4 stars for these masters of hard rock who really know how to play around with the progressive side of things. Maybe not prog in its purest form, but definitely attractive to anyone who fancies themselves a fan of heavy prog or prog-metal. An excellent addition to your library.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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