During their late-'80s heyday, the Cult were known for their Doors-meets-Zeppelin-meets-Love and Rockets style, combining mysticism, solid three-chord guitar progressions, and goth rock stylings. In their 2001 incarnation, the Cult may be more accurately described as the Doors meets Zeppelin meets Tool. Guitarist Billy Duffy seems to have discovered distortion in the seven years since their last album. Not warm fuzz tones, but bone-crunching, mind-numbing distortion. While the music has changed, it still sounds like the Cult thanks to singer Ian Astbury's consistent wails and moans. In the opener, "War (The Process)," Astbury hollers "whoa" just like the old days, except now he does it over Duffy's Metallica-like rifts and frenetic drumming by Matt Sorum. The band also shows they've been listening to Trent Reznor with the industrial overtones of "Speed of Light," but even with heavy vocal effects, they remain the Cult, thanks to a catchy chorus. For classic Cult fans, the band throws in a couple tunes reminiscent of their Sonic Temple days -- "Breathe," a rocker in the tradition of "Fire Woman," and "Nico," the equivalent of the power ballad "Edie (Ciao Baby)." Old fans may have trouble adjusting to the Cult's updated sound, but the band manages to maintain the energy of their music, creating heavy metal for the new millennium without lapsing into the pure cliché that waylays so many angry young (and old) men.
Beyond Good and Evil Review
by Mike Gowan