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Blue Öyster Cult Tyranny And Mutation album cover
3.52 | 230 ratings | 22 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

- The Black:
1. The Red And The Black (4:24)
2. O.D.'d On Life Itself (4:47)
3. Hot Rails To Hell (5:11)
4. 7 Screaming Diz-Busters (7:01)
- The Red:
5. Baby Ice Dog (3:28)
6. Wings Wetted Down (4:12)
7. Teen Archer (3:57)
8. Mistress Of The Samon Salt (Quicklime Girl) (5:08)

Total time 38:08

Bonus tracks on Columbia remaster (2001):
9. Cities on Flame With Rock And Roll (Live 1972 Rochester NY) (4:44)
10. Buck's Boogie (Outtake) (5:21)
11. 7 Screaming Diz-Busters (Live 1974 Seattle, Washington) (14:00)
12. O.D.'d On Life Itself (Live 1974 Portland, Oregon) (4:52)

Total Time 67:10

Line-up / Musicians

- Eric Bloom / lead vocals, guitar, synths
- Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser / lead guitar, vocals
- Allen Lanier / rhythm guitar, keyboards
- Joseph Bouchard / bass guitar, keyboards, vocals
- Albert Bouchard / drums, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Gawlik

LP Columbia ‎- KC 32017 (1973, US)

CD Columbia ‎- CK 32017 (1990, US)
CD Columbia ‎- CK 85481 (2001, US) Remaster by Vic Anesini w/ 4 bonus tracks previously unreleased

Thanks to andrea cortese for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Tyranny And Mutation Music

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Tyranny And Mutation ratings distribution

(230 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Tyranny And Mutation reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by thellama73
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars My favorite of the early BÖC albums, as well as the darkest and heaviest they ever recorded, Tyranny and Mutation finds the band continuing to develop their unique style and bizarre sci-fi inspired lyrics."The Red and The Black" is a faster, more frenetic remake of "I'm On The Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep" from their debut. While some might consider this a cheap way to come up with material, it's such an improvement over the original that it feels like a whole new song. In general the album alternates between fast and slow songs, some of the highlights being "Hot Rails to Hell" and "7 Screaming Diz-Busters". Also, the rather mellow "Wings Wetted Down" is surprisingly chilling. Buck Dharma's guitar wizardry continues to improve, and will only get better as time goes on, as will presence as a vocalist (he only sings on one song here, Teen Archer.) If you are interested in classic metal with a style all its own, you should check out Blue Öyster Cult, and this isn't a bad place to begin.
Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Well, I waited some time before trying to put in words my thoughts about this classic record. With my surprise I found only a review plus a pair of ratings without any comment. I think this album deserves more wide recognition and attention because of its fantastic atmosphere and compositions. Keyboards have a low profile here and will only erupts later with the following Secret Treaties. For now, you can enjoy the most exciting thinking-man-hard-rock!

Side a is titled "The Black" and is dedicated to the harder and darker pieces. On the other hand, side b (aka "The Red") features more introvert performances but not less exciting and intriguing. The fact is that their most famous numbers are all represented by side a of the album.

Tyranny and Mutations opens magnifically with the powerful and fast tempo "The Red and the Black" which is, for those who know the band already, the rearrangement of "I'm on the Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep" from the self titled debut. Now the band has turned into fast and furious tempo bringing the old tune a completely new sound and appeal. Great and hard.

"O.D.'d on Life Itself" is another highlyth. Probably their best effort with "7 Screaming Diz-Busters". Less shocking as a rock number but way more intelligent in structure and lyrics.

"Hot Rails to Hell" follows the formula of the strong opener delivering wild screaming guitar courtesy of Buck Dharma and an involving chorus.

Side b, as I said, is a little bit more introvert and, maybe, interesting. It features the first collaboration with Patti Smith on "Baby Ice Dog". Then "Wings Wetted Down" that perfectly describes the great improvement of the band's musicianship and songwriting respect to the previous album. The song's sad atmosphere really reminds me of " army of birds in the rain"! "Teen Archer" is on a similar vein while the closer "Mistress of the Salmon's Salt (Quicklime Girl" somehow brings back the harder side of the band, especially in the memorable opening guitar riff. Excellent.

The Columbia remastered edition includes also four interesting bonus tracks: a live version of the classic glory "Cities on Flame With Rock And Roll" and the studio version of the life favourite "Buck's Boogie", previously unreleased. Then, finally two live version from Tyranny and Mutation: an extended version of "7 Screamind Diz-Busters" and "O.D.'d On Life Itself". Not the best sound's quality but a good testament of the live appeal of the band in that early period.

Review by debrewguy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the one album in the entire BOC canon that I can actually listen from beginning to end. The guitars are playing the big riffs, the lyrics are sometimes esoteric or artsy, but they do carry a nice poetic grace for the most part. Teen Archer is a great example where they nailed the pounding guitar & the serious lyrics. The opener, the Red and The Black is a barn burner showcasing Buck's full barrel attitude at its' best. Cliched guitar solos & fills dare not show their face when he plays. The seeming stream of consciousness words talking about touring & border crossings also fit well. Other highlights - Hot Rails to Hell 7 Screaming Diz-Busters are fine examples of what 70s rock could sound like when done by masters. And while I could never get the American Sabbath tag, I can understand how the lyrical subject matters match to Sab's. The songs, though, don't sound as delightfully sludgy as Sab could do so well. When firing on all cylinders, BOC could hold its' own against any of the other iconic U.S. rock groups of the 70s (Kiss, Aerosmith, Nugent, Montrose etc ...). Unfortunately, they often came up short on the songwriting, which was never as consistent as the others. But on this one, they hit the target, repeatedly. If you're looking for some intelligent great 70s hard rock, this one is it.
Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Darker and harder-edged than its masterful follow-up, "Secret Treaties", BOC's second release (whose title allegedly comes from producer Sandy Pearlman's amazed exclamation on first hearing the album) is in many ways its equal. Right from the stylish, elaborately futuristic black-and-white cover, it is quite evident this record is not an exercise in mindless bludgeoning, but rather strikes the right balance between aggression and sophistication. Even if most of the songs included are memorable enough to be called classics, they avoid the somewhat simplistic radio-friendliness that plagues many of the band's later efforts.

As the album was originally split into a "Black" and a "Red" side, the opening track bears the title "The Red and the Black" - a brisk, galloping slice of finely-crafted hard rock that has since become one of the band's concert staples. The slower-paced "OD on Life Itself" (whose live version is featured among the bonus tracks) acts as a breather before the frantic, guitar-driven boogie-rock of "Hot Rails to Hell" (another concert classic). The "Black" side is closed by what is probably the band's absolute masterpiece, and the composition in which their relation to prog shines most clearly - the intricate, sinister "7 Screaming Dizbusters". I won't go into the X-rated theories about the origins of the cryptic title. However, the song is a monumental achievement bristling with time signature changes, spiky guitar lines and slinky keyboards, complete with impenetrable, occult-tinged lyrics praising "Lucifer, the light", and a towering vocal performance by the sadly underrated Eric Bloom.

The Red Side comes across as more melodic and thoughtful. "Baby Ice Dog", the band's first collaboration with punk muse Patti Smith, is a clear departure from the fast-paced rockers of the Black Side, as is the solemn, somewhat mournful "Wings Wetted Down", whose lyrics are based on a poem by Pablo Neruda. Things perk up a bit with the intriguing "Teen Archer", which leads the way for what is to my mind another of the album's highlights, "Mistress of the Salmon Salt" (also known as "Quicklime Girl"). A positively blood-curdling story of a girl who kills men and buries them in her garden (hence the quicklime), it showcases both Bloom's vocal chops and Donald Buck Dharma Roeser's inimitable skills as a guitarist. The song climaxes with a guitar solo that is textbook perfect - short but tasteful, and oozing emotion.

The bonus tracks included in the remastered edition of the album are all live recordings, and complement the studio tracks perfectly. The 14-minute live version of "7 Screaming Dizbusters" features a humorous rap relating about a pact with the Devil, while the fast-paced instrumental "Buck's Boogie" is a wonderful alternative to the hackneyed format of the 'guitar solo', which in most cases ends up boring the living daylights out of the audience.

Though "Tyranny and Mutation" is obviously NOT a masterpiece of progressive music, it is nevertheless an album that will appeal to most prog lovers because of its intelligence and high standard of musicianship. Get it and "Secret Treaties" together, and treat yourselves to some great, prog-influenced hard rock - not to mention some of the most intriguing lyrics around.

Review by 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.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. I'm not sure who decided to call this band "The American Black Sabbath" but it's very misleading in my opinion.These guys are nowhere near as dark or as heavy as BLACK SABBATH. Good band of course but I just think that title must have been thought up by managment, the record label or the band to promote sales. I do think this record is better than the debut, but it took a while for this to grow on me.

I think part of the problem for me is that the first two tracks do nothing for me, so the tone has been set and it's hard to get past that,but I finally did. "The Red & The Black" opens dramatically followed by an uptempo melody with vocals. A raw sounding guitar solo before 2 minutes.The best part of the song is the final minute as the bass throbs. "O.D.'d On Life Itself" is a mid paced song with some nice guitar before 2 1/2 minutes. I just can't get into this one except for the section between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 minutes. "Hot Rails To Hell" is much better thankyou. An uptempo rocker with prominant guitar.

"7 Screamed Diz-Busters" is one of my top three songs on here.This one has a catchy rhythm and I like the vocals better too. I like the way the vocals and lead guitar trade off after 1 1/2 minutes. Some fantastic guitar after 2 minutes and 3 1/2 minutes in. Organ a minute later. "Baby Ice Dog" is one song I don't get lyrically or instrumentally. Not a fan. "Wings Wetted Down" is my favourite track.This one is darker with some sinister guitar and lyrics to match. "Teen Archer" is a pretty good uptempo track.The drums are very active. Some organ and piano on this one as well. "Mistress Of The Salmon Salt (Quicklime Girl)" is my other top three song. Cool vocals on the chorus. Some good organ after 2 minutes. I like the guitar to end it.

A step up from their debut but i'm still waiting to be wowed.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Another vintage sound of the 70s. This second album did not demonstrate better album even though this is not bad at all. I expected some improvement in songwriting but still melody and a bit of harmony are lacking - I believe - from this album as compared to the debut album. The band have reduced its heavy side but in a faster tempo. As far as musical consistency I can sense that there is a connecting line between the debut to this one even though this one is less attractive. The only thing that lacks significantly is that no track has a quality as debut's "Transmaniacon M.C. O.D.'d On Life Itself is actually not a good track but it's still worth enjoying especially if you drive your car. The band makes The Red and the Black as an ode to Canadian Mounties. Mistress of the Salmon Salt sounds good even though not melodic, in a way. Hot Rails To Hell offers excellent riff. Baby Ice Dog was written by Patti Smith. Up until this I can sense that the music is quite listenable even though not really enjoyable. But.. let's face it that overall I still can listen to this album with "hard rock" ears - nothing is really prog here in this album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW (i-Rock! Music Community)

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This album sounds heavier than its predecessor. The wild opener sets the pace: an infectious hard- rocking song of the best vein. Great beat, straight to the point riff: ''The Red & The Black'' is a killer song IMO.

The band is actually building up on the roots of their debut and are marching in the same footstep. Basic mainstream rock music. Here and there tinted with a bluesy accent (''O.D. 'd On Life Itself'') or fully heavy rock oriented (''Hot Rails To Hell).

Keyboards are not really setting the tone on this work. Guitars are more prominent and it definitely dominates most of the tracks. The relation to prog is very thin IMHHO on this work. But for those of you who have the capability to turn on the hard (heavy)-rock button in your head, there are some fine moments to expect from ''Tyranny & Mutation''.

At times, this album reminds me of the early days of ''Alice Cooper''. The most noticeable of such moment is felt during ''7 Screamind Diz-Busters''. A jolly good rocking piece in which Donald Roeser shows all his talent on the lead guitar.

This ''black'' side of the original vinyl (I own the remastered CD version) is quite good and fun. It is by far the best of this album which offers a pale B-side to be honest. Some glam-rock a la Moot The Hoople during ''Baby Ice Dog'' is pleasant but not more.

Some childish and heavy psychedelia is available with ''Wings Wetted Down'', but again, we are not talking about a jewel. A certain Sabbath flavour can be felt during short moments as well. Nothing wrong but nothing great either.

''Tean Archer'' is the first track in which the keyboards can clearly be identified (but this is almost the last song from this album). But don't expect bombastic keys of course, they are there to sustain the powerful rhythmic section (which is excellent BTW all along ''Tyranny'') while offering some good solo notes as well.

The more tranquil and sophisticated closing number ''Mistress of the Salmon Salt'' sounds as a hard psychedelic track. There is even a brief atmospheric passage! But don't worry, the band remains in the known territory of hard-rock music in all its splendour.

What I lack in this album is an anthem, an outstanding track like other great rock bands of the era. But the Cult never played in that division IMO.

What is very interesting on the CD released in 2001, is that several bonus live tracks are available. Not that they are essential for the music history, but the comments from Eric Bloom during the second part of ''Screaming.'' are quite explicit in terms of the type of music BÖC was playing at the time. While you listen to the kilometric version of ''Screaming Diz.'' (fourteen minutes!), there is no doubt about their heavy orientation. But I like this.

The extended guitar riffs are there (hi Ritchie), the long bass-guitar-drum section as well. An archetype of a classic live set from a hard-rock band in those early middle seventies days which I had witnessed with Purple and Sabbath on stage.

If you are looking for prog here, I just can tell you that it is next door. Maybe for the next release? Three stars (seven out of ten) for ''Tyranny & Mutation''.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars The logical successor to their self-titled debut, BOC added one (red) colour to their B&W artwork of Tyranny And Mutation. With an unchanged line-up, and released in 73 on Columbia. With the same Pearlman producer (still co-writing a few songs), T&M chooses two sides on colours red and black. Songwriting-wise the credits are fairly evenly shared throughout all five musicians. The strange and dark artwork implies that BOC's philosophies are emitted through their logo acting as an antenna and the back cover seems to tell us that our speakers the transmitters and our ears are the receiving end. I always thought of BOC as spreaders of evil as a dumb idea, and nowhere but in their early career was this most evident, this artwork and their "lyrics" being the proof of this. Even as a rteenager, I wasn(t much impressed.

The black side features three fast-paced tracks, of which only Screaming Diz-Busters is actually interesting (it'll become a BOC classic, extended in concert), and one slower-paced track OD On Life Itself. The red flipside starts out with a punk goddess Patti-Smith collab (she was dating one of the member of BOC) Baby Iced Dog, which sets a calmer mood for the whole side, with the Pablo Neruda-based Wings Wetted Down, the pleasant Teen Archer and a good closing Mistress Of Salmon Salt. I prefer red over black, I must say.

The remastered reissue comes with a bunch of live bonus tracks, which I haven't heard , but generally live material shouldn't be assembled on the same disc with a studio album. Certainly an improvement on their debut, T&M is lags behind the future and upcoming Treaties, but I don't fond this is a very pertinent album when mentioning prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars O.D'd on Blue Öyster Cult itself

This is Blue Öyster Cult's second album and it follows very closely in the footsteps of the first. To my ears, the two first albums by Blue Öyster Cult are pure Rock 'N' Roll and Hard Rock, plain and simple. I find no Heavy Metal or Prog (Related) in these albums. They are often compared to Black Sabbath which I find altogether out of place as they have more in common with fellow Americans Alice Cooper than with British Heavy Metal or progressive rock.

One interesting feature of the album is that they call its first side The Black and the second side The Red similar to what Queen would do on their masterpiece second album with The Black side and The White side. Overall, the second vinyl side, the Red, is better than the first.

Compared to the debut, some songs on Tyranny And Mutation are a bit longer. 7 Screaming Diz-Busters is the longest track with a running time of just over seven minutes. The band uses this extra time to develop this composition slightly more than usual and adds piano and some slower passages. However, the riffs and melodies do not hold up very well and the song tends to drag towards the end. There is nothing really progressive about this music. The rest of the songs are all between four and five minutes in length and leave very little room for any interesting chord progressions or interesting musical ideas. An exception from this is the very good Wings Wetted Down which has a piano driven verse that alternates with a heavy riff and a melodic chorus. In addition it has a heavy bass guitar sound and a great guitar solo. This is easily the best number on this album and the only one that stands out for me. This song could be seen as a precursor to Astronomy and (Don't Fear) The Reaper from subsequent albums. Had only the whole of Tyranny And Mutation sounded like this.

Teen Archer is also a quite acceptable song with a cool bass line and riff with a decent organ solo. But the rest of The Red side is as generic and Rock 'N' Roll oriented as The Black side. The same problem that plagued their first album, namely mostly weak melodies and riffs, also plagues this album. Things would improve greatly with their next album, however.

Overall, there is little to distinguish Tyranny And Mutation from the self-titled debut. I therefore give it the same rating. The few good moments do not quite manage to push this album up to two stars for me (even if I would give this half a star more).

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Tyranny And Mutation came as big disappointment after I had enjoyed most of the preceding and the follow up album. This music is generally quite old-fashioned and woolly rockabilly. It has no bite, no ideas and no ambition.

The first five songs especially sound like they belong to an era from before my grand-dad was born. It's quite shocking that a band would still release this kind of tame rock 'n' roll as late as 1973. It doesn't have anything remotely challenging, not in the riffs nor the arrangements. I guess it is all competent within the style of music it wants to bring but it is entirely predictable and the exact opposite of what both Prog rock and progressive music means to me.

With Wings Wetted Down things improve slightly, it's a more spacious and slightly more modern type of song. Also Teen Archer is a pleasant rocker. Mistress of The Salmon Salt isn't remarkable different from the two preceding songs but appeals less to me. Oh! The album is over already. That would be the first surprising thing to happen in 40 minutes, and just when it was getting somewhere.

Because most of the material is done adequately I'll refrain from a 1 star verdict, but seriously, the person who came up with comparing BOC to Black Sabbath must have his ears examined.

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars For a group known as the "thinking man's heavy metal", BLUE OYSTER CULT's early work seemed to be operating at high school drop out level. None of the refinement of their late 70s and early 80s contribution can be found on "Tyranny and Mutation", and I can't uncover much to please prog fans unless you also love heavy rock. Generally unimaginative riffing and raucous atonal vocals are mostly the audio tyranny to which the listener is subject.

By this point the group wouldn't know a tune if it splayed itself out mermaid like on the subordinated keyboards. Even the lengthiest cut "7 Screaming Diz Busters", while more extended and featuring good chops, is barely of fleeting interest. I don't hear a lot in the way of supernatural and dark side fascination at this juncture; indeed we are pretty much earth bound and land locked throughout. I do catch trite misogynist tripe in "Baby Ice Dog" which in parts hints at what BOC would better explore in "Career of Evil".

"Wings Wetted Down" is the best thing here, and the only one with reasonable contrasts where the dots are connected. It also has the most mystical feel to it. "Teen Archer" manages to work on one and a half levels as well, which help my rating to the same number of stars for this mutant mishigas, which I reluctantly round up.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars Nothing to do with Stendahl and his literary masterpiece. The track is about the Canadian police. This second album is more rock oriented than the first, probably influenced by having toured the year before with Alice Cooper.

The black side (the side A of the vinyl) is "only rock and roll, but I like it". The opener is hard and powerful and the transition with "O D'd On Life Itself" is very good. Of the four songs on this side only the last is similar enough to those of the first album. Wikipedia says that "The Red and the Black" is a rewriting of "I'm On The Lamb", but to be honest I have listened to those two albums dozens of times and I never realized it. It's a good hard-rock album with some blues-psychedelic influences specially on "7 Screamind Diz-Busters" whose central section is jammed and sometimes chaotic.

The Red side has more appeal from a prog point of view. It's more similar to the debut. In particular "Wings Wetted Down" is a song of a kind which could appear an a Black Sabbath or Uriah Heep album, however there are no real highlights even on this side.

Looking at the early BOC, this is the weakest album released between two good ones. Not bad, but surely non-essential.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Harsh and aggressive where its predecessor was moody and mysterious, Tyranny and Mutation shows Blue Oyster Cult taking their positions as the American answer to Black Sabbath nicely - though they're faster paced than their British cousins and are more reminiscent of speed metal than doom metal on here. Opening track The Red and the Black sums up the difference from the previous album - a remake of I'm On the Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep, with the speed accelerated to an insane pace and the guitars turned up to 11, it sets a mean and irresistible precedent for the tidal wave of occult metal to follow. Although the album stumbles a little on Wings Wetted Down, which robs it of a lot of its momentum, this is otherwise an excellent sophomore effort which builds on the promise of the debut.
Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 7 Screaming Diz-Busteeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The classic line up of Blue Oyster Cult is undoubtedly Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser, the extraordinary master of lead guitar, Eric Bloom, the brilliant visionary on lead vocals, stun guitars, and all synthesizers, Joseph Bouchard, wonderful on bass, and keyboards, Albert Bouchard, the powerhouse drummer, and Allen Lanier, a wizard on keyboards, and rhythm guitar. "Tyranny and Mutation" is a masterful album from 1973, that blows my mind every time I listen to it, and I have listened to it so much over the last week. It is consistently brilliant with incredible riffs and melodic beauty, every member of the band at their very best and most innovative.

It was released on vinyl under the Black and Red sides; the black being in your face proto metal riff rock, and the Red being more calm and melody driven. It begins with an astonishing song 'The Red And The Black' with Eric Bloom singing blues rock at a breakneck speed. The riffs are off the planet, and there is even a frenetic bass solo. The twin harmonised guitar leads are wonderful making this a magnificent start to this album.

'O.D.'d On Life Itself' has the same riff as The Hollies 'Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress' but it has enough variation in the song itself. This has a rocking blues rhythm that sounds a bit like early Kiss, who were a year away from their debut. There is a great lead break form Dharma and overall another BOC highlight, appearing on many of their compilations.

'Hot Rails To Hell' is also like Kiss, especially the riff, so BOC were clearly influential to Kiss. It is very heavy for the early 70s with some crazy lyrics; "burn ya' right out, burn ya' eyes out, blackened the eyes, speeding along like dynamite". The lead guitar smokes wonderfully and there is a dynamic coda with a cool 'Wipe Out' reference.

'7 Screaming Diz-Busters' is a 7 minute trip down memory lane for me as it is the first time I had ever heard the band. When I re-heard this I had chills all over me as I had heard this years ago live on a Metal show over 28 years or so! I did not know it was BOC playing at the time as the DJ did not say who it was. I had a live version from "On Your Feet or On Your Knees", but the studio version is a masterpiece. The riff is brilliant and changes constantly with a hard rock vibe. The lead break is mind blowing and the Hammond organ is killer. Allan Lanier absolutely slaughters this but those guitar licks of Dharma lift it to the stratosphere. One of the greatest BOC tracks I have heard. The lyrics are very creepy, with an extended coda "did you burn the light?"

The Red side begins with 'Baby Ice Dog' which settles into a straight hard rock riff. 'Wings Wetted Down' is pleasant with a beautiful lead break, and awesome bassline. The lyrics are sword and sorcery and then it merges into 'Teen Archer'. This has a moderate tempo, cool guitars, and wonderful vox. The riff is dynamic and the lyrics are about some chick with a bow and arrow; "all of the night, all of the day, she got she got, woah, she will, she will die!" The lead guitar and shimmering organ are sensational; quite a bright happy sound here, that's why this is the red side. The fast arpeggios on piano, and time sig change are augmented by a lead break, making this another gem. 'Mistress Of The Samon Salt (Quicklime Girl)' begins immediately and is rather a softer track, sounding like a melancholy Uriah Heep. There is a gorgeous organ, and screaming lead break.

That is one heck of an album but a real drawcard are the bonus tracks that are all mind blowing. On the Columbia/Sony Legacy remaster (2001) we have 4 more to drool over. 'Cities on Flame With Rock And Roll (live - previously unreleased)' is a raw live classic. Dharma is playing the roof off the stadium here. The new time sig is faster, dirtier and more exciting than the original version. 'Buck's Boogie (studio version - previously unreleased)' is a wondrous instrumental with an amazing fast guitar riff. '7 Screaming Diz-Busters (live - previously unreleased)' is a 14 minute eargasm of blinding riffs and dark atmosphere. The fret melting lead break is amazing and then Bloom begins dialoguing about how he met up with a sharp suited man and signed his name in blood to become a rock n roll star, and now CBS signed him up as a packt to the? gulp, is he serious? Another rocker selling his soul to the demon of rock, but one day he says I am coming to take u away after your career of evil. This is sinister stuff, and the freak out ending sends chills through me. 'O.D.'d On Life Itself (live - previously unreleased)' is as good as the studio version with a bad to the bone lead break, and supersonic riffing.

In conclusion, this is a treasure of the early 70s, every track is a gem and the album features some of the hardest rock of the 70s you are likely to hear along with Kiss, Deep Purple, UFO, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. This is perhaps the best studio album for Blue Oyster Cult in their early years; and this remaster is an absolute must for connoisseurs of rock. 4 stars for original album, 5 stars for the remaster - rounded off to 4.5 stars for this site.

Review by FragileKings
3 stars In the early 1980's, Blue Oyster Cult was proclaimed to be one of the heaviest bands among my friends who had older brothers who brought home heavy metal cassettes. After being blown away by Judas Priest, I bought 'The Revolution by Night' and heard that heavy rocking first track 'Take Me Away' but was disappointed with the rest of the album. In fact, after having purchased four BOC albums in my time and a compilation album, I have come to the conclusion that they were never really that heavy. Though original manager Sandy Pearlman wanted them to be America's answer to Black Sabbath, I think they are in a different league. BOC managed to incorporate heavy metal guitar riffs and solos it's true, but they just as easily shifted to boogie rock, blues-based barroom rock, and even naturally blended some more progressive tendencies sometimes all in the same song. Never really too metal; never exactly true prog. But during the 1970's, Blue Oyster Cult established themselves among the rock band elite.

While checking out proto-metal albums from 1969 to 1973, I decided to order 'Tyranny and Mutation' to see if there wasn't any really good example of early heavy metal. What I found was that most songs include some great heavy guitar sounds, riffs, and solos but never stay heavy throughout. There's often some more radio friendly verse that lightens the mood or perhaps a blues rock segment, some piano, etc. Furthermore, the vocal delivery of the various lead singers is often quite theatrical in a tough-guy-from-New-York-singing-about- science-fiction kind of way (English has no adjective for that). The music of BOC seemed more geared towards entertainment than head banging.

And therein laid the charm of the band's music. This was a point that I seemed to have missed all these decades. BOC were not about serious doom metal or hard rock. They were about science fiction, about ghosts and aliens, about fighter aircraft and urban legends. They were about rock, sometimes just feeling good hard rock, sometimes about heavy rock, sometimes about a progressive journey focused more on the story than the machinery that got you there. And this album has really begun to connect me to the music of Blue Oyster Cult.

Side one is the more rock and roll part of the album and side two the more progressive; however both sides lean toward the other at times. Some of the heavier riffs occur on side two in 'Wings Wetted Down' and 'Mistress of the Salmon Salt (Quicklime Girl)'. But 'The Red & The Black' and 'Hot Rails to Hell' give us the rock and roll approach of the band. Side one's closer, 'Seven Screaming Diz Busters' (love the title) crosses the rock and roll approach with the progressive side of the band. Overall, the album has a fair bit of variety. Having three or four lead vocalists and various external contributing writers also helps to make for an album that doesn't get stale.

One of the things that has really caught my attention with this album is the music composition. The band make good use of two guitars and use keyboards effectively when they deem it essential to the music. The drumming is also very clever and I find myself really following the drums in a number of the songs. Thank you, Albert Bouchard!

This is not a really heavy album but it has its heavy moments. It's not progressive like Yes or Genesis but it has its share of creative music composition. And once again, there is a certain charm to the vocal delivers that give it a theatrical feel. Blue Oyster Cult is about intelligent heavy metal with a sci-fi slant and with an attitude of artful pretense. Based on my appreciation for this album, I have now ordered three more classic albums with the confidence that I will enjoy them for what I know to expect this time. As a prog album this is not spectacular. However as a rock album this could well deserve nearly five stars.

Review by Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars That linear esoteric cover design drew me in, the same way that their debut did. It was like I was ready to join a cult. Instead of whistling away my life savings for mysterious spiritual enlightenment, I received eight really good songs for a much more reasonable price.

The opener, a reworking of the second track off their debut, absolutely explodes out of the gate with a far more razor sounding guitar sound than the blunted spacey tone of their prior release. The tempo is particularly fast for its time, like a proto-punk speedster featuring Bloom's vocals which still possess that youth-inflected snarl. I particularly enjoy the final minute or so when the band is really cooking up an instrumental storm. One of my favorites by BOC in general.

The truth is, this is probably the only album of theirs in which I completely dig every tune. My other favorite platters of theirs have at least one dud or so, but that's not the case with this puppy. Case in point, "Mistress of the Salmon Salt". Not a song that gets a lot of mention by BOC fans, but to me it's utterly brilliant, and lyrically one of the strangest, creepiest and fascinating of their repertoire. Is the 'Quicklime Girl' a serial killer/prostitute preying on sailors, a killer cultist, a necromancer, a deviant girl with a fascination for death? Enigmatic yet perfect for the music, which sways between hard rock riffs, quieter verses and atmospheric doom-rock passages complete with an organ solo. The morbid shamble of the music is quite effective accompanying the lines "The harvest of life, the harvest of death", again, with Bloom's serpentine delivery. A great finale to the album, residing on the LP's "red" side, deemed the more atmospheric half of the album.

Songs that are well known on T&M are given accolades for good reason. "7 Screaming Diz- Busters" begins with one of BOC's most memorable riffs (man what a doozy!) before launching into one of their most quintessential epics that meshes biker aesthetics and possible sexual references with blatant occultism; pretty much everything that freaked out my parents when I started getting into rock music. The song is also quite progressive musically, featuring no shortage of shifts in tempo as well as a strange array of soloing and keyboard usage. It's a true classic by the band, and some would say "Hot Rails to Hell" is as well, featuring Joe Bouchard's demented vocals and a rapid chugging pace. It's during songs like this though that the album's one flaw for me personally gets a bit more exposed, which would be the lack of a strong production. The guitars sound great, but a better presence of low-end and a heavier drum sound would have enhanced the power of the more aggressive cuts of this collection. It's a flaw I tend to overlook due to the strength of the material, and I've been loving this album for over 30 years.

When I mention that all of the songs here are among my favorites by the band, I mean it. "Baby Ice Dog" boasts jarring Patti Smith lyrics and grooves quite well while tweaking the standard 4/4 rhythms with some jazz-influenced breaks. the opening riff of "OD'd on Life Itself" recalls The Hollies' "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" (which in turn recalls CCR's "Green River" and so-forth) before spicing things up with some space rock ambiance and dark yet trippy lyrics. "Wings Wetted Down" boasts the most atmosphere, a moody piece and yet it brandishes a chainsaw guitar riff that keeps things from ever reaching ballad territory. An oddly structured tune in that sense, leaning into progressive territory. The sole number with Buck Dharma on lead vocals, "Teen Archer" is an absolute gem. With great guitar riffs and one killer 'feel-good' keyboard solo smack in the middle of this thing, it's also real catchy with its repetitive verses that sort of remind me of "Burnin' For You" in that specific sense. It's also quite an uptempo piece as well, showing that the "black" side of the album doesn't hold claim to all of the fast buggers.

To me this album is a masterpiece. It just clicked instantly and yet I somehow never overplayed it to the point of burnout through the years. I also know it's not for everyone, and maybe not the album to initiate the curious into what BOC has to offer, except maybe for those coming from an edgy rock/punk angle who's ready for some weird occult references and musical passages. Hell, maybe that's why I dig this album so much. It ain't prog, but the 'progressive' flair is there, enhancing the overall energy where "dusters dust becomes the sale and Lucifer, the light".

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
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.

Latest members reviews

3 stars The first concept album by Blue Oyster Cult of two dipols, as evidenced by colour side names, album name but less in its music. Playing got more refined, the sound developed - can you notice traces of punk that would emerge in a few years and slightly jazzy chord sequences that the band venture ... (read more)

Report this review (#2403630) | Posted by sgtpepper | Wednesday, May 20, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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 eve ... (read more)

Report this review (#819459) | Posted by Progosopher | Wednesday, September 12, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Red and the Black! Is my color scheme. After their first effort, which showed the potential of BOC, but which also had too much uninspired filler, Tyranny and Mutation sets the standard for where this talented band was heading. Riffs...yep, got em. Great instrumental skill...yep. Awesome, ... (read more)

Report this review (#275872) | Posted by mohaveman | Thursday, April 1, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is an essential Blue Oyster Cult album. Though sometimes called The American Black Sabbath (a term which Eric Bloom has somewhat rejected in interviews), Blue Oyster Cult has little in commong with Sabbath other than the fact that they were both Heavy Metal bands who had some songs about Sa ... (read more)

Report this review (#195295) | Posted by AlbertMond | Saturday, December 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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