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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mutated and Improved
This is another of the great remastered reissues of the first four Blue Öyster Cult albums which Sony put out on the Columbia/Legacy label. They include lyrics, photos, and liner notes by Lenny Kaye. They also contain additional tracks, and on this release that includes three live cuts and one outtake from the album session. In addition the albums have been...
Published on July 25, 2001 by Dave_42

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OPUS TWO
Second studio CD of Blue Öyster Cult, TYRANNY AND MUTATION is way louder than their first effort. No more "Redeemed" here, just good eight hard rock songs. One knows well that the second CD is a valuable test for judging a group ability to manage pressure and confirm the hopes of the audience. All in all, I would say that the group passes the test...
Published on June 24, 2000 by Daniel S.


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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mutated and Improved, July 25, 2001
This review is from: Tyranny & Mutation (Audio CD)
This is another of the great remastered reissues of the first four Blue Öyster Cult albums which Sony put out on the Columbia/Legacy label. They include lyrics, photos, and liner notes by Lenny Kaye. They also contain additional tracks, and on this release that includes three live cuts and one outtake from the album session. In addition the albums have been digitally remastered and sound better than ever. "Tyranny and Mutation" was recorded in 1972 and released in February of 1973. It was produced by Murray Krugman and Sandy Pearlman. This remastered CD was released on June 26th of 2001. Bruce Dickinson produced the remastered versions. One odd note about this album is that is their only album where the group is listed as The Blue Öyster Cult.

The album was originally going to be titled "The Red and The Black", and each side retains the subtitle from that original plan. The first four tracks (side one on the LP) are called "The Black" (physical, sensual, aural activation). It opens with "The Red & The Black", which is a new version of "I'm On the Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep" from their first album. This version is heavier and has more drive to it, and it is this version that appears on two of their live albums and that they still play today. It continues with "O.D.'d On Life Itself", "Hot Rails To Hell", and "7 Screaming Diz-Busters". All of these are regular concert fare for the group, and all are hard driving rock.

The next four tracks (side two on the LP) were titled "The Red" (phantasmagorical id-teasers and supernatural beings). It opens with "Baby Ice Dog" which is the first collaboration that the group did with Patti Smith. That is followed by "Wings Wetted Down", "Teen Archer", and "Mistress of the Salmon Salt (Quicklime Girl)". These pieces are much different than those on side one. They are more mysterious and melodic then the pieces in "The Black". My personal favorites on this album are the closing pieces to each section.

The remastered CD has an additional section which is the bonus tracks. There is a live version of "Cities on Flame with Rock And Roll" from a promotion album called "Blue Öyster Cult Bootleg EP" (the other songs from that release are available on the "Workshop of the Telescopes" compilation CD). The next track is a studio outtake from the recording sessions called "Buck's Boogie"; the live version appears on "On Your Feet or on Your Knees". The final two bonus tracks are live versions of "7 Screaming Diz-Busters" and "O.D.'d on Life Itself", which come from a "bootleg" made by the band to give to friends and family which was titled "Blue Öyster Cult in the West".

The group consists of Eric Bloom (vocals, stun guitar, synthesizers), Albert Bouchard (drums, vocals), Joe Bouchard (bass, vocals, keyboards), Allen Lanier (keyboards, rhythm guitar), and Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser (guitar, vocals). This album is a solid four stars, and as with many of their albums, it improves each time you listen to it.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best of vintage, pre-commercial Cult, December 18, 1999
By 
ChefBum "chefbum" (Fremont,, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tyranny & Mutation (Audio CD)
In retrospect, BOC (the Blue Oyster Cult)can be seen to have had two distinct phases in their sound and musical direction through their career. Agents of Fortune was the turning point for them, and although it was an excellent rock album and a good body of work, the BOC are often remembered by Cult purists and rock critics for their first three albums.
Tyranny and Mutation is the middle of these three, and although it is nearing thirty years old (!), the sound is remarkably fresh, original, yes, still hard.
T&M benefits from much improved production values and sonic quality over their first, eponymous release. Side-by-side, T&M makes the first record sound like it was recorded underwater or in a bathtub. Although the sound is much more open and alive, the lyrics remain cryptic, and the music retains enough of an edge to keep everything in its right and sinister place.
I saw an interesting comment earlier in these pages that the record has two distinct personalities, with the first half being more hard-rock than the second. There could be some credence to this, as the original vinyl edition was labeled 'the Red' on the first side, and 'the Black' on the second side.
The 'Red' side contains most of the heavy cuts that this record is remembered most for (7 Screaming Diz-busters, The Red and the Black, Hot Rails to Hell), but it would not be fair to say that it is the only side worthy of such consideration. The second, 'Black', is solid, good music, and just like it was mentioned by an earlier, astute reviewer on this site, most of these cuts are NOT available on any compilations. Of these, 'Mistress of the Salmon Salt', 'Wings Wetted Down', 'Baby Ice Dog', and 'Teen Archer' (is that all of them?) are all songs that grow on you with each listen.
Tyranny and Mutation, like many Cult albums, stimulates the imagination with cryptic messages and imagery, and one of the greatest things one can say as a tribute to their music is that it didn't always have to be hard-driving to be memorable or effective. Tyranny and Mutation also had a sort of sense-of-humor lightening the gloom more effectively than in 'Blue Oyster Cult' or 'Secret Treaties'. This is also meant to be a fun album, and those that don't realize it are missing out on half the fun.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BOC's first TRULY solid effort in a long line of CLASSICS!!, February 23, 2006
This review is from: Tyranny & Mutation (Audio CD)
The second in BOC's "Black and White" period. The B&W period consists of their first three albums and is named that for the dark and cryptic over-tones they possess (an everlasting theme they've perfected to this day, but yet not to the extent of the B&W period), and ofcourse, the black and white album-covers they sport. Personally, Tyranny & Mutation is by far my favorite of BOC's first three massive assaults, and is a lot tighter and well-rounded than the first. It's divided in two sections, "The Black" and "The Red", and the first track is appropriately called "The Red & The Black" and is actually an impressive re-doing of "I'm On The Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep" off their debut. Stand-outs are "O.D.d' On Life Itself", "Hot Rails To Hell", "Wings Wetted Down" and "Mistress Of The Salmon Salt" (commonly known as "Quicklime Girl"). But in my opinion, EVERY song on this impressive album totally rocks and has the MOST classic (and dark!) rock & roll sound and "feel" to it, of the entire B&W period. Where as the first and third may have just a couple possible throw-away tracks, Tyranny & Mutation is solid from start to finish, and it begins to show the incredible talents of the band, and demonstrates what I love most about BOC: they are one of THE most creative and interesting bands out there! If you liked their debut, then you are sure to love their second effort with even more ease than the first (though it doesn't take much effort at all to get into these guys). An instant classic!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STUNNING!, November 2, 2004
By 
This review is from: Tyranny & Mutation (Audio CD)
It's my dad's fave band and he makes me go to the concerts dressed like a Pagan. I am one who HATES heavy metal---except for this. I am at a loss. I cannot explain or describe it. Perhaps if you consider controlled bombing of Paris, and steel lasers at London; Dresden revisited; Hiroshima and Nagasaki.....a card deck all red. A cave. Revenge, .......but it's the unbelievalbe music. Guitar strings made of iron. Stone drums.Cow bells and dynamite. Dead girls (I was almost one of them). How many bands rely on motorcycle engines to back thier chorus?/////////Ride me underground.Swim in sweat.The rumble above and below.Hey cop don't you know?The hot summer days don't quit for the night!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BOCs Break-out Recording, November 1, 2002
This review is from: Tyranny & Mutation (Audio CD)
after the criticaly acclaimed maiden voyage (the self-titled BOC), T&M became a rarity in the rock lore. Their first effort sounded as though it were recorded in a garage - but was still a beaut. T&M went for our collective jugular and surprised any and all who listened. Never before had anyone heard anything like it. There was magic in the air. This band was otherwordly. And what a great cast of talented characters! Lead guitarist Don (buck dharma) Roeser, was nick-named "God" by his fans, and indeed took first in Guitar Worlds "best electric guitarist in the world" contest for about a decade. Eventually, Roeser became the Editor of GW. Singer/writer Eric Bloom was the personification of pure evil with his leather look - including cape and whip. He knew how to "whip the audience" into a frenzy. The drummer sometimes played the drums backwards, while wearing a weird mask on the back of his head. Guitarist/keyboardist (whatshisname) looked the perfect junkie, another member liked to dance on stage. Pyro-technics, motorcycles, a sense of fear by "the stoned out crowd", all made a great showcase for their recordings - T&M especially. #3 on the red side - "HOT RAILS TO HELL" - seems clearly the first polished example of heavy metal. Most girls don't like any of the songs because of the titles and lyrics - all of which are mean-spirited, yet great fun. Their wicked lyrics/topics would become one of their trademark characteristics. T&M even includes blatant devil worship in "Seven Screaming Diz-busters", and, of course, the obligatory song about a weird mermaid or something - Quicklime Girl. (Quicklime destroys human bodies very quickly.) T&M probably provided the inspiration of many of BOCs fans to travel with the band, watching as many shows as possible, or until winding up on the de-tox ward. Did someone whisper...the grateful dead? I hope so, as that is the type of following they have had since the release of T&M. This core group of loyal fans, like me, continue to see as many of their shows as possible. Therefore, Tyranny and Mutation was something new, something affecting, and a hell of a lot of fun! Get it now. Oh, and the bonus tracks? Fine, but just as good without them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BURN YOUR EYES OUT!, April 17, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Tyranny & Mutation (Audio CD)
Nearly 30yo, this stands out as perhaps the finest rock/metal offering to date. It is really unbelieveable. When my boyfriend made me listen to it, I was thinkin', "Where is mark mcgrath when I need him?", but I'l be the first to admit this is the best metal cd today. My personal preference is "The Red And The Black" with it's wips, and "Hot Rails To Hell", with the all scream-guitar (I made that up!) medley is the first time heard. 7 Screaming Diz-busters is deliciously evil. "Baby Ice Dog" is somewhat vulgar but good. All round an excellent choIce.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best BOC CD, August 1, 2002
This review is from: Tyranny & Mutation (Audio CD)
Song for song easily the best BOC cd. From the hard rock hot rails to hell and red and black to dreary like wings wetted down. Quicklime girl I belivev is the best songs.. Boc classic with halloween feel..perfect playing. 7 screaming diz-busters..the most heavy metal of their songs in this era.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot Rails to Rock n Roll Heaven, April 14, 2002
By 
"prelim2" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tyranny & Mutation (Audio CD)
B-C hit their newly converted disciples with this while they were still reeling from the first eponymously titled studio onslaught. This remastered edition is worth every penny, sell your blood or your soul if you have to but just get it. It is certainly not for the fainthearted and I would recommend Blue -yster Cult newcomers to break themselves in a little more gently with maybe a heavy blunt instrument delivered forcefully to the skull unless you¿re a hardened Sabbath-ite with Doors/Led Zep leanings in which case how come it¿s taken you this long to catch on? Oh. Smokin¿ and trippin¿ huh? Well welcome to the year 2002 and since your last conscious memory around 1972, Ozzy left and went solo ¿ yes, I¿m serious man ¿ yeah tragic. This album isn¿t just a smack in the face it leaves you with a black eye. From the opening shot ¿The Red & the Black¿ you are carried away on a rollercoaster of sound and motion through ¿7 Screaming Diz-Busters¿ with barely a pause for breath until track five ¿Baby Ice Dog¿ which is relatively sedate in pace and tempo but just as hard hitting. Nothing on this album can be termed soothing even the melodic ¿Wings Wetted Down¿ is weirdly unsettling and if you¿re a connoisseur of truly creepy and sick lyrics with a touch of the obscene then this is the album for you - it¿s full of them. For old campaigners the bonus tracks are well worth the investment alone. In your face live versions of eternal favourites ¿Cities on Flame¿, ¿OD¿d on Life¿ and a marathon 14 minute version of ¿7 Screaming Diz-busters¿ as well as a previously unreleased studio version of ¿Buck¿s Boogie¿. It rates a perfect 6 even though the system here only allows for 5. Remember to duck.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, Cheesy, Offbeat & Wheezy, but solid, sweating rock: 4 *, November 11, 2003
This review is from: Tyranny & Mutation (Audio CD)
This is the type of sophomore release most hard rock bands achieve but which few achieve so well. 'Tyranny & Mutation' is thirty-eight minutes of pushing at the frontiers explored on their eponymous debut. There's one retread ('The Red & The Black' is almost a carbon copy of 'I'm On The Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep') but even that's more progressive in sound.
As regards the remainder of the 'Red' songs (tracks 1-4),'OD'd on Life Itself' is a funky highlight indeed, 'Hot Rails to Hell' a screaming eagle and '7 Screaming Diz Busters' provides a feverish bit of hard rock, even if it gets embarrassingly silly in parts (beware having your car speakers cranked at a red light in summertime as it begins!)
Still, if the 'Red' songs ('Side One' in old money) are smoking, the 'Black' side is deliciously mysterious. 'Baby Ice Dog', 'Wings Wetted Down' and 'Teen Archer' seem to almost form a trilogy of wonder underscored by dark lyrics and a heavy keyboard-guitar section. 'Mistress of the Salmon Salt' is a return to form a-la hard rock and what a finish it gives to this, B.O.C.'s only other album to feature Escher-like landscapes on its cover.
While listening to this, it's imperative to consider the era of its fabrication. The sound quality still hasn't quite got to the levels first heard on 'Agents of Fortune' but given what's going on here, that's forgivable. The only thing that makes their debut that extra shade better lies in delivery and novelty-value. But anyone calling this a bad effort has simply not been listening at all. Luckily, the group kept listening to themselves and kept on an upward curve in the unfolding story of why Blue Oyster Cult are here and why we need them to be here.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An appropriately named album, May 14, 2011
This review is from: Tyranny & Mutation (Audio CD)
This is probably my third rewrite of this disc review. Each time I listen to it, I come away with a slightly and sometimes even completely different opinion. Hopefully this will be the final version.

I still stand by the opinion that the largest issue with this album and Secret Treaties comes down to production. No matter how much you try to ignore it, they mostly sound like they were recorded with a cheap tape recorder inside a tin can.

The recording is mostly dry and there's not much in the way of anything but a raw mid tone. I think that was the intended effect, but it detracts from the quality a bit.

The disc opens with The Red and the Black, a remake of On the Lamb that appears on the first BOC album, as well as on the Stalk Forest Group release. They chose to do this as a reflection of their elevated technical chops. At first, I didn't see the point and I still stand by the opinion that the groove of the first version was better. But there's something about the new version that grows on you.

ODed on Life seems like it could have been a better song than it is, even though certain parts are fantastic. I think there are areas where a few extra or perhaps heavier guitar parts could have brought it up a bit. Overall it's an example of BOC's ability to fashion complex arrangements.

I think things pick up when we get to Hot Rails to Hell and 7 Screaming Dizbusters, which show definite signs of mutating into something more progressive. Even though they obviously suffer from the poor production, the strength of the songs makes them rise above that. 7SD is the stronger of the two, but they're both fantastic.

These songs are probably the earliest examples of musical styles like hardcore punk and thrash, and show just how far ahead of their times BOC were.

Baby Ice Dog is a song that a song that has strong elements but feels a bit lacking in some areas.

Wings Wetted Down is the strongest track on here, surpassing even Hot Rails and Dizbusters. It's a sign of BOC's progressive leanings and features the strongest playing by each member of the band.

The mood created by the music takes you into the world they're singing about. Joe's melodically flowing bass line and a similar solo by Buck are the standouts to a song that's a standout. This is a song that is another example of being ahead of its time. It feels like prog metal that bands wouldn't start exploring until at least 15 years later.

Teen Archer is another strong song, being the most bluesy rocker of the bunch. Things end with Quicklime Girl, another strong song, but another that makes me think of other music of the time. I think the Zombies are popping into my head, but with more guitar and musical progression.

With the other special edition releases, I found the bonus tracks included mostly to be a nice novelty, but not great examples of BOC's best.

Here, the tracks are fantastic! The best thing about them is that they sound like they were recorded better and they show BOC correcting some of the minimalism and other problems found in the originals.

Cities on Flame was already a strong song to start, but here BOC just freaking rip. I mean, they seriously tear it up. Usually, I don't like to curse, but using freaking in place of the word I want to use just doesn't fit just how primal this song is.

Most impressive about this song is that Albert lays down some of his most beast-like and complex drumming ever, and sings over it so easily. I saw a video recently of him with the Brain Surgeons doing a solo and throwing the Godzilla mask he's famous for wearing doing drum solos, all while he continued to play in perfect time. It's no wonder BOC's music suffered with his and Joe's departure.

Bucks Boogie is a great song that feels more like The Allman Brothers than BOC, but these guys are so talented they can do anything. This is the studio version.

Where things really stand out is on the live Dizbusters. Things are just so much heavier and the tone is so much better. The band is going all out, adding elements that were missing from the more minimalistic studio version.

Buck's playing is particularly awesome on here, pulling out some Middle Eastern sounding licks, bad ass riffing, and interesting guitar sounds Also, Eric sounds like he's going to eat people alive with his growling vocals.

Even Od'd on Life becomes something stronger than expected. I'm not sure what happened with the originals that they came out being less than what they could be, but these live tracks make up for their shortcomings.

I have to wonder what their recording budgets were and if that influenced how much they could put on a CD, including future releases. I don't think it was an issue of the limits of the recording devices, as other bands found a way around that. It certainly wasn't due to lack of talent.

I should throw this in because I noticed that I didn't sing any praise to Allen Lanier. There's a lot of great key work going on here in too many spots to mention. Another key element of the BOC sound. I think he's gotten ill or something so hopefully he'll get better. (Sadly, he passed away in August 2013.

If you've never heard BOC before or you've only heard the songs played on the radio, do yourself a favor and get everything you can of theirs that's not a best of. These guys are giants in the industry, even though most people somehow couldn't see them stomping all over a ton of lesser musicians.
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Tyranny & Mutation
Tyranny & Mutation by Blue Oyster Cult (Audio CD - 2001)
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