Blue Öyster Cult: Try, Try Try Again

28th December 2016

Title: Tyranny and Mutation

Label: Speakers Corner

Blue Öyster Cult took a while to actually become Blue Öyster Cult. The band’s roots were laid on the campus of a college, Stony Brook College on Long Island, USA to be specific by two students who would evolve into rock critics before becoming full time band members.

Sandy Pearlman and Richard Meltzer began the band as something called Soft White Underbelly as a 5-piece. Signed to Elektra Records, they recorded an unreleased album. Then the band’s name was changed to Oaxaca and back they went to Elektra to have another go and another album but this also went unreleased. You have to and it to the boys, they had stamina and, if they’d have tried that trick today, they’d have been shown the door.

But it didn’t stop there. A third name appeared, this time Blue Öyster Cult (you can sense the approach of a happy ending, can’t you?) Well, not quite. Signed to Columbia Records in late 1971, the Blue Öyster Cult debut album was released in January 1972 and actually hit the charts this time, way down at the bottom, though. This album, Tyranny & Mutation was released in February 1973 but that failed to break the band either.

Nevertheless, its a cracking production with more vigorous tempos thrughout, when compared to the debut with added sonic zing. Pearlman and Meltzer were also on fire in terms of their lyrical contribution. They even had some assistance in that sphere by none other than Patti Smith (girlfriend of the then keyboard player, Allen Lanier). Sonically, there’s plenty of throbbing riffs to grab any hard rocker by the throat. The Red and the Black is just one example, exhibiting macho guitars. Serious attitude was prevalent here and the group sounded as if they meant business, which they certainly did. It’s a stone cold classic and no mistake.