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4.20 | 45 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 1973


1. The Red And The Black (4:24)
2. O.D.'D On Life Itself (4:46)
3. Hot Rails To Hell (5:10)
4. 7 Screaming Diz-Busters (6:58)
5. Baby Ice Dog (3:27)
6. Wings Wetted Down (4:11)
7. Teen Archer (3:56)
8. Mistress Of The Salmon Salt (Quicklime Girl) (5:06)

Total Time 38:11


- Eric Bloom / guitars, vocals
- Donald Roeser / guitars, vocals
- Allen Lanier / guitars, keyboards, bass
- Joe Bouchard / bass, vocals
- Albert Bouchard / drums, vocals

About this release

February 11, 1973

Reissued in 2001 with the following bonus tracks:

1. Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll (live) (4:44)
2. Buck's Boogie (studio) (5:22)
3. 7 Screaming Diz-Busters (live) (14:01)
4. O.D.'d on Life Itself (live) (4:52)

Thanks to graphix, cannon, Time Signature, Pekka, Lynx33, 666sharon666 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

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 metal album this is not quite what I was looking for. However as a creative heavy rock album this could well deserve nearly five 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.
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.

Members reviews

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 progressive rock shines most clearly - the intricate, sinister "7 Screaming Dizbusters". While I will not go into the X-rated theories about the origins of the cryptic title, 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 textbook-perfect guitar solo - 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 about a deal 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.

"Tyranny and Mutation" is one of those albums that will appeal to a broad spectrum of music fans because of its intelligence and high standard of musicianship. Get it and "Secret Treaties" together, and treat yourselves to some great, genuinely forward-thinking hard rock - not to mention some of the most intriguing lyrics to be found in the rock world.

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.

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