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

TYRANNY AND MUTATION

Blue Öyster Cult

 

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3.48 | 177 ratings

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TCat
4 stars One year and one month after the release of Blue Oyster Cult's debut album sees the release of their 2nd album "Tyranny and Mutation", February 1973 to be exact. With the same exact line-up as the first album, this time around we hear a lightening up of the music with more emphasis on bass, but a deepening of the band's mystique. The album this time is divided into 2 sections, side 1 being "The Black" and side 2 is "The Red". Sandy Pearlman this time writes the lyrics for 4 of the tracks and also co-produces with Murray Krugman. Most of the lead vocals (5 out of 8 tracks) are handled by Eric Bloom with 2 tracks sung by bassist Joe Brouchard and 1 track by guitarist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser.

"The Black" side features 4 up beat, guitar-heavy, hard rock tracks that are thematic in nature. Starting with some power chords and advancing into a quick tempo, this track starts things off with a fast paced heavy track. This song was actually released on the debut album as a much more low key track called "I'm On the Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep". This time the track is much more memorable with a better groove and tempo which at once draws your attention to the music.

"O.D.'d on Life Itself" uses a familiar rock riff somewhat similar to "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" by The Hollies, but the track itself is much better developed as it doesn't make that riff the focus of the song. It is a straightforward hard rock track with a sprinkle of psychedelic rock thrown in and a heart pounding guitar solo.

"Hot Rails to Hell" is the first track sung by J. Bouchard. At once, it is much more rousing than the previous track and more up beat. This was the only single released from the album, but it didn't do very well. Again, the central instrument is the guitar as are all four of the songs on The Black side of the album. This side ends with the longest track on the album "7 Screaming Diz-Busters". This track has more of a feel of the songs on the first album and is much more progressive with a more complex and changing melody and riff with some interesting meter changes. It is still driven heavily by guitar. It is also the best track on this half of the

The 2nd side, or "The Red" is much more progressive and experimental, and keyboards stand out more on this side. It starts out with "Baby Ice Dog" with lyrics written by Patti Smith who was J. Bouchard's girlfriend at the time. The song features a complex melody with less reliance on heaviness and guitars.

"Wings Wetted Down" is the second song sung by J. Bouchard and is more dark and evil sounding, yet it is also more ballad- like, but not exactly a ballad. It has a thick guitar riff, but the verses are driven by piano. The guitar solo is eerie sounding, yet the song is quite memorable.

"Teen Archer" was written by "Buck Dharma" Roeser who also does lead vocals. It was co-written by the other producer Murray Krugman. The melody itself is not really memorable and the track is one of the weaker ones on the album, but it does have a nice organ solo.

"Mistress of the Salmon Salt (Quicklime Girl)" is the final track on the album. It has a definite psychedelic and mysterious feel to it. The progressive leanings are obvious but it ends things a bit soft. BOC has not always chosen the best tracks to end albums with, but it is somewhat interesting at least.

Even though the production changes on this album helped to improve the sound of the band overall, it was more of a long- range improvement as this album seems a bit less interesting that the debut album. It may have something to do with the fact that they kept the fast and heavy tracks on one side and the more dynamic tracks on the second side. It probably would have served them better to mix things up a bit more. However, it isn't a terrible album, it is just a bit less interesting than the albums before and after it.

TCat | 4/5 |

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