Friday, May 30, 2008

Blue Oyster Cult – Tyranny and Mutation

BOC’s second album continued the wise tradition of not including photos of the band on the cover because while this band sounds absolutely evil, they looked like what they were – some short east coast jews! Nothing wrong with that, mind you – just not what the music portrays them as.

I’ve rambled on about these cats and even this record already, but I just picked up the CD with bonus tracks (finally!) and had to rave on a little more!

The genius of re-working of the first album’s “I’m on the Lamb but I Ain’t no Sheep” into the record’s blistering opener, “The Red and the Black” is pretty mind-shattering! This is high-speed, high-energy, played with unreal finesse! Buck Dharma boggles right from the start – beautiful tone, super fast riffs and still melodic! Truly one of the great guitarists in all of rock!

“OD’d on Life Itself” has simple riffs and nice guitar interplay and is one of the few BOC songs that a beginning guitarist could actually play! That is, until Buck comes in and throws a million notes all over the place! Great stuff, though!

A perfect follow up is “Hot Rails to Hell”, which somehow seems to be the sequel to “OD’d” though I don’t know what either one is about! This sounds like the band is racing the devil to hell itself! The ending has almost hypnotic intertwined guitars that send you directly into “7 Screaming Diz-busters”. Riffs fly fast and furious here while singer Eric Bloom sings about “Lucifer, the light”. Cool, heavy stuff!

Patti Smith’s words make their first major record debut on “Baby Ice Dog” – cool imagery and plenty of changes make another fine, obscure number. “Wings Wetted Down” is probably the weakest song on the album but still not bad, just not as good as the others.

But after this is one of my faves, “Teen Archer”, with its catchy chord progression and lyrics like “balling all night, balling all day, but she won’t ball on me”! Damn, I could relate! Everyone gets to show off a little and the song is rockin’ and well crafted. “Mistress of the Salmon Salt” fits perfectly as a follow up tune and is another BOC masterpiece!

The bonus tracks on this CD include live takes on “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll”, “7 Screaming Diz-busters” and “OD’d on Life Itself” as well as a studio version of “Buck’s Boogie” which previously only appeared on the live On Your Feet or On Your Knees. All great stuff!