Fifty Year Friday: February 1973
As progressive rock continued to gain traction and garner more and more fans in the UK , The U.S and throughout Europe, Camel released their very first effort, a fine self-titled album, at the end of February 1973.
The album starts relatively conventional with the vocal section of “Slow Yourself Down”, which shifts into a less conventional instrumental section including some notably strong guitar. The second track, “Mystic Queen” is a good representation of the mellow, more reflective nature of Camel’s recognizable style with a pleasant balance of the electric and the acoustic and with some pleasant acoustic guitar and flute. This album continues with the instrumental, “Six Ate”, a bit uneven in places, and the upbeat “Separation”, with nicely mixers vocals with instrumentals including the final stand out instrumental passage, possibly influenced by Genesis’s “The Return of the Giant Hogweed”. “Never Let Go” is Camel at what they do best, mellow, flute-infused instrumentation — music that is spaced, properly paced, and slightly spacey. The same can be said of the next track, “Curiosity”, which nicely blends the delicate and expressive. The final instrumental, “Arubaluba” ends the album containing some strong drumming by Andy Ward. All in all a strong first album.
Blue Öyster Cult: Tyranny and Mutation
Blue Öyster Cult first album cover was an unique black and white cover, and they followed this up with another mostly black and white cover but adding a tasteful amount of red, as shown above, to further enhance this memorable album cover. Similarly, with Tyranny and Mutation, released on February 11, 1973, Blue Öyster Cult further enhanced their musical style from that first album, becoming more innovative, distinctive, and even exotic, broadening their sound and extending their range of expressiveness. And in spite of the interesting, one-of-a-kind approach, perhaps one could correctly claim that it is this group as captured in this album, and not the even more idiosyncratic Black Sabbath or the more foundational Led Zeppelin, that truly provides the template of the unashamedly, and unrelentingly aggressive heavy metal sound for the rest of the 1970s and the 1980s.