"Born Into This" (Roadrunner; 2007)

Reviewed by Metal Mark

The Cult had some lukewarm releases in the 1990s, but they returned with the surprisingly spectacular "Beyond Good and Evil" in 2001. I was hoping the new release, "Born Into This," would pick up where that CD left off. Well, that's not the case, however, as the band has opted once again for a more straight forward approach. 

I was somewhat letdown that The Cult didn't follow in the tracks of their previous CD, yet I do think that "Born Into This" is a decent hard rock album. Ian Astbury is one of a handful of singers who has the capability to so easily elevate the level of the material. His voice seems to be as strong as ever and he is really able to milk so much out of every word. Billy Duffy has always had a rather basic style, but it works because he stays within his comfort zone. The rhythm section of the Cult has normally been a strong point no matter who the players at the time happen to be. This album is no exception as the drums and bass help to give a number of the songs that layered feel that has always helped to define the Cult's sound. The production is sharp, but allows room for each instrument to shine through as needed. 

The Cult have usually managed to stand apart from other rock and hard rock acts due to the vocals and their refusal to completely follow passing trends and "Born Into This" is no exception. A good Cult album is usually better than a good album by most other hard rock acts. I only wish that they had attempted to take a few more risks here, but generally the band plays it fairly safe. Still "Born into this" is an enjoyable rock album and I think that's all the band set out to do.

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"Beyond Good and Evil" (Atlantic Records; 2001)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

The resurgence of hard rock in late 2000 and early 2001 caused me to shift my focus for a few months as I was more willing to forgo listening to metal temporarily. Knowing that The Cult were going to release an album in Spring 2001 made me take stock of how influential The Cult were in my musical listening development in the 80s. So it was with great anticipation that I waited for "Beyond Good And Evil" to hit the store shelves.

"Beyond Good And Evil" is a solid hard rock disc from beginning to end; it's not quite as simplistic as "Electric," not nearly as alternative as "Love," but probably comes closest to "Sonic Temple" for its well-rounded approach to hard rockin' songs. However, make no mistake, there's plenty of "Electric" crunch and plenty of the supple melodies that made "Love" such a treat. Even a bit of the electronica noise, blips, and beats that infiltrated The Cult's overall sound on their self-titled disc pop up every now and then on "Beyond Good And Evil" without detracting from the overall delivery of the songs' power.

Of course, the core of The Cult is the two remaining original members Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy. Astbury's voice is as strong as ever, perhaps a bit deeper and a bit more rounded - I suppose aging has a thing or two to do with that. Billy Duffy, ever the reluctant guitar hero, dips deep into his astounding array of tricks and sounds to cover the wide palette of sounds he's crafted over the years.

There are plenty of non-stop rockers and The Cult hits all the stops with guile, aplomb, and guts. Even when The Cult slow things down on tracks such as "Nico" and "True Believers" the songs are still as interesting as ever. By the time the CD ends with the rave-up of "My Bridges Burn" your faith is restored in the power of rock'n'roll to be a salve for all that brings you down. Yeah, "Beyond Good And Evil" is a rejuvenating kick in the ass.

"Beyond Good And Evil" was produced by Bob Rock. Rock's production is very fitting for his past accomplishments - The Cult's sound isn't altered too much to alienate hardcore fans, but the sound is beefed up to give the band's classic sheen a new sparkle. "Beyond Good And Evil" is slick, but not too slick as to lose The Cult's reverberating crunch.

The Cult is Ian Astbury on vocals, Billy Duffy on guitars, and Matt Sorum on drums. Bass guitar duties were split by Chris Wyse and Martyn LeNoble.

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"Pure Cult: The Singles 1984 - 1995" (Beggars Banquet; 2000)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Greatest hits collections always seem to be based on what some executive at the record company decided was the band's greatest hits. There are always greatest hits CDs that could add a song or two or lose a song or two. Unlike those CDs, however, "Pure Cult" is perfect. It needs no additions or retractions.

Spanning eleven years of hits, "Pure Cult" pulls from six albums: “Dreamtime,” “Love,” “Electric,” “Sonic Temple,” “Ceremony,” and “The Cult.” Now, if you have any of those CDs in your collection, you probably don't need this collection. However, if you don't, this could be a great wrap up CD because it puts all the hits together and introduces you to a few you may have never heard. 

Although this greatest hits collection doesn't offer any new tracks from The Cult, it’s still a more than solid set.

The Cult: Ian Astbury – vocals; Billy Duffy – guitar. There were a whole host of other musicians that contributed to The Cult as well ... too many to list.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09 Dec 2018 12:03:10 -0500.