Beyond Good and Evil
Full disclosure: I love The Cult and all their works. I love the early mystical stuff, swirly semi-folk-metal riffs and hippie lyrics and all; I love their bad-ass biker period in all its cheesy glory; I love their failed bid for “respectability” in the early ’90s; I love that they broke up; I love that Ian made a techno album and I love that no one bought it; I love that they couldn’t stay apart for more than five years; I love that they’re back together. Love love love that band.
That having been said, I would be the first to tell you if this record sucked. I may be a fan, but I’m a professional, dammit.
That having been said, this record might be their best ever. It rocks pretty hard, and the lyrics are actually much deeper and more personal and just plain better than they’ve ever been. Plus having Matt Sorum on the drum kit kicks Billy Duffy in the arse and gives him someone to play off. What’s the use of being one of the greatest guitar players in rock if you’re complacent? Sorum was the best thing about the fading Guns ‘N Roses, and he’s a hero here as well.
The beginning of “Rise” is a great case in point: a big crunchy riff (with an undercurrent of “She Sells Sanctuary,” but c’est la guerre), and then some solid straight-ahead skin-punishing from Sorum are a great way to start a track. But it’s the heartfelt “It’s the way that you feel/It’s the truth in your eye/You’ve got wings upon your back/And you can fly” chorus that sends this one into the stratosphere. “Ashes And Ghosts” is a similar thrasher — if your heart doesn’t thrill to hear Ian yowl “Can’t cast a spell on me-yeee-yeeey!,” then I can’t help ya. Move on. The next thing you’re gonna tell me is that you don’t want to hear Ian’s account of almost dying in Nepal on “True Believers” and how it’s made him appreciate life again. No one’s heart could be that dead. Could it?
This is, simply, the way The Cult always wanted to sound: tough but intelligent, the ultimate rock band. This is one of my favorite albums released this year.
Altantic Records: www.atlantic-records.com • The Cult: http://www.thecultnet.com