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10 February 2010

The Blue Öyster Cult - 'Tyranny and Mutation' (Columbia)

Gawlik's awesome artwork has taken on a new alien dimension here, accentuated by two pink moons (though this predates Dhalgren). Architecture is still the focal point of his drawing, but architecture perhaps without purpose, unlike the songs themselves. Things crunch a little harder here and any remaining psychedelia from the Stalk-Forrest hangover is almost totally jettisoned (though I can still hear a bit on 'Teen Archer'). 'The Red and the Black' is a great tune for testing out new stereo equipment, cause the louder you play it the more shaking and stirring you can here. It's crazy that such a fiery bit of boogie-rock is actually about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and not Stendhal. This is the one the Minutemen covered, and they probably called Eric Bloom "E. Bloom" in 'History Lesson, pt 2' because of the way all monikers are abbreviated here. I would probably call this my favorite BÖC record, though it doesn't have anything resembling a hit or even a radio staple. '7 Screaming Diz-busters' more than makes up for that, on a balancing act between dark vibe rock and proto-metal. 'Baby Ice Dog', penned by Patti Smith, is maybe my least favorite song - I prefer the evil Ren-faire tinges on stuff like 'Mistress of the Salmon Salt (Quicktime Girl)'. Seriously, could anyone come up with better song titles? Well, 'OD'd on Life Itself' and 'Hot Rails to Hell' sound like something from a Saxon record, but they're good stompers as well. I feel like The Blue Öyster Cult (note the addition of the definite article!) took a step away from accessibility here and really made their masterpiece, though it's got such a strange/goofy dichotomy going on that I still don't completely grok it. To go back to the artwork one last time - the back cover reminds me of that crazy acid-burned Nintendo game, 3D Worldrunner; this is a pretty good soundtrack to crash into those columns, though I don't know if any powerups will pop out.

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