Blue Oyster Cult is shore some bizarre dudes, but then so's everybody from Long Island's soft white underbelly. Then again, not everybody had a debut LP widely acclaimed as "The Best Ever!" and "the album of the decade." A trip through their new one's like listenin' to Hitchcock and Kubrick swap stories about their wet dreams.
An avalanche of sonic hysteria summons your attention, then it's full speed ahead into "The Red and the Black." Say, don't those lyrics sound familiar? Why it's a remake of that bestial humper from the first LP, "I'm on the Lamb but I Ain't No Sheep." Only this time it's about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A weird change in topics, but they still get a man in the end.
A flash of synthesizer fire leads into another familiaritythe riff from the Hollies' "Long Cool Woman." BO-Cult's sure a bunch of perverse mo-fucks, dressing up "OD'd on Life Itself" in such ineffectual swathings. Sorta like Nixon winning the Nobel Peace Prize. And the title, jeez, what a comforting thought, at least the niftiest since the last verse of Black Sabbath's "Supernaut." There's nothing comforting about Don (Buck Dharma) Roeser's guitar, though, it's fuckin' explosive! Jimmy Page's favorite guitarist, you say?
Then there's "Hot Rails to Hell," a brilliant exposition of what the Stones would be playing today if they hadn't turned into such bourgeois hedonist auteurs! Ah, to hear "19th Nervous Breakdown" done '73 style, complete with those scintillating bass runs at the end. Wish no longerhere it is! A crescendo of ear-piercin' pickin' fades into screeching feedback, then "7 Screaming Diz-Busters," the fourth cataclysmic mindfuck in a row. And the tempos, my, they haven't slowed down since the start. Superfast, and a real mind-boggler! And right on, baby, with that Madison Square Garden organ playing. Chiller!!!
Only the most pea-brained nurd could think side two would bring respite from the frenzy. Shit, man, the label's black! Integraoh, the red and the black, now I get it. What's this? "Baby Ice Dog"a cold, calculated canticle of agonizing heartbreak and revenge. Then "Wings Wetted Down," a "ballad," no less! Sinister in the extreme. Gripping, too, around the neckthat's another screamin' Dharma solo.
A flush of the turlet and it's R. Meltzer's "Teen Archer," a passionate tale of adolescent sex orgies and the distribution of wealth, Simply killer, and a doozy of a single, if they're so inclined. Some rock critics' bands may have fallen into their mentors' fetishes (like the eclecto-foppishness of Mendelsohn's Christopher Milk and the asexual nihilism of my own Temporary Suicide), but B - cult ain't about to let Meltzer's demented mumblings dominate their slashing style. "Mistress of the Salmon Salt" closes the show on a powerfully jagged note, with its sing-along "quicklime girl" refrain conjuring up images of the Beach Boys on speed. With another flash of that hockey rink organbanzai!
Am I raving about the album, or just plain raving? Don't know for sure, but I can say that Tyranny And Mutation is the only thing that's budged Paranoid and Heartbreaker off my turntable in a long time. And that's saying a lot! Blue Oyster Cult is one of the best bands America's got. (RS 132)
(Posted: Apr 12, 1973)
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