1973, Music

Tyranny and Mutation (1973) by Blue Oyster Cult

I didn’t quite grow up with early British metal but when I started listening to music other than oldies in my late teens, Zeppelin, Purple and Sabbath played a pretty big part of my listening. On my second Blue Oyster Cult record I find myself thinking that it was all those years of worshiping those bands (Zeppelin in particular) which is why I can’t get into BOC.

Blue Osyter Cult are great musicians – a couple of them are probably fantastic musicians. Of all the American hard rock bands in the early 1970s, these guys had the best chops, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.

But the chops are the thing I like about it; I don’t really like the rest of it. The music is typical of the mainstream American hard rock of the 1970s – it wants to rock but it doesn’t want to rock so hard that it might scare you or alienate you. And much like Alice Cooper (though to a much milder extent), they want to write lyrics that are a little alarming to your parents, but just a little alarming, they don’t actually want to offend anyone.

I guess if I could sum it up in relation to bands I like more:

  • BOC are way less dangerous-seeming than Sabbath and nowhere near as loud;
  • They aren’t quite as impressive musically as Deep Purple (though they’re no slouches);
  • And they’re way more polished (pristine) and way less interesting or varied than Zeppelin
  • And they’re way poppier than all three (at least for the most part).

But that doesn’t mean they’re bad, they’re just not for me. You could do a lot worse.


  1. “The Red & the Black” Eric Bloom, Albert Bouchard, Sandy Pearlman 4:20
  2. “O.D.’d on Life Itself” Bloom, A. Bouchard, Joe Bouchard, Pearlman 4:47
  3. “Hot Rails to Hell” J. Bouchard 5:12
  4. “7 Screaming Diz-Busters” A. Bouchard, J. Bouchard, Donald Roeser, Pearlman 7:01
  5. “Baby Ice Dog” Bloom, A. Bouchard, Patti Smith (yes, that Patti Smith) 3:29
  6. “Wings Wetted Down” A. Bouchard, J. Bouchard 4:12
  7. “Teen Archer” Bloom, Roeser, Richard Meltzer 3:57
  8. “Mistress of the Salmon Salt (Quicklime Girl)” A. Bouchard, Pearlman 5:08
  • Eric Bloom – stun guitar, synthesizers, vocals
  • Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser – guitar, vocals
  • Allen Lanier – keyboards, rhythm guitar
  • Joe Bouchard – bass guitar, keyboards, vocals
  • Albert Bouchard – drums, vocals

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