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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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2 stars The 1277 express . . . will burn your eyes out, but it's all right.

Tyranny and Mutation, the Black and the Red sides of the original vinyl might as well also be known as the Good side and the Bad side. The album gets off to a great start with The Red and the Black, a barn-burner if I've ever heard one, but hits its first snag with the next track, O.D.'d On Life Itself. It's an okay track, and has some good changes, but the basic rock n roll structure is always apparent. Now, I like basic rock n roll, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Little Richard are great and all that, but this is not what I want to hear from B.O.C. Hot Rails to Hell brings the music back up to par, and is followed by the great 7 Screaming Diz-Busters. So far so good. The Red side, however, is almost completely different. For sure, it is still clearly B.O.C. but the songs are so much lesser than the other. Putting the Good side up first may be a good marketing decision, but as a critical listener, I cannot help but be disappointed by the Bad side which comes next. I do not even want to name the songs since I almost never listen to them.

The bonus tracks redeem the CD version I have to some extent, but when this happens, it does not bode well for the original release. Of the four, two are live versions of tracks from the original album, something I wish the labels and bands would stop doing. I already heard the song once, I don't need to hear it again. These include my least favorite track from Side Good, O.D.'d and a sprawling 14 minute version of 7 Screaming Dizbusters, which I sometimes program to listen to rather than the studio version. In fact, one of the highlights of the whole package comes here when Eric Bloom describes his encounter with the devil who gets him to sign his NAME IN BLOOD so the band can become popular like Jeff Beck and Elvis Presley. A live version of Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll also appears. The performance is good, but the sound isn't, which is to be expected since such recordings were never meant for release but just for the band to document their live concerts. Here, it is just meant to fill space. The real highlight of the bonus tracks, though, is the original studio version of Buck's Boogie, a track familiar to fans who caught their live shows back in the day and those who have the official live release, On Your Feet or On Your Knees, and album I much prefer over Tyranny and Mutation. This studio version is great. I appreciate the way that it is not just an opportunity for Buck Dharma to rip licks, but that the piece requires serious performances by the whole band.

This album has its positive aspects. The sound is crisp and clean, if a little flat, while the band is still hungry for success. When they rock, they really rock. Eric Bloom's vocals dominate the recording and Buck Dharma provides some excellent lead guitar. Alan Lanier even gets some spotlight with his keyboards. Overall, the band sounds good, it is just that I wish the material was more consistent. So, we have three great B.O.C. classics, and a studio version of a concert favorite. This still comes out to the length of a single vinyl side ? actually less than twenty minutes But all of these tracks are found on the above mentioned official live release which also features a richer sound than the studio recordings here. As such, I cannot recommend Tyranny and Mutation very highly, but I will nominate it for best album title ever.

Progosopher | 2/5 |


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