The Cult

Born into This

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Ever since 1987's Rick Rubin-produced Electric, the Cult have never shied away from reveling in the trashiest aspects of rock & roll culture. No doubt, Ian Astbury's sojourn replacing Jim Morrison in the Doors -- or, as they were litigated into calling themselves, Riders on the Storm -- must have caused the '60s to resonate with him much more than singing a tribute to Edie Sedgwick, as he did on the Cult's Sonic Temple. So in 2007, an age when pure hard rock was nothing to be ashamed of, the Cult roared back with the back-to-basics record Born into This. (As in the past, Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy are the Cult; bassist Chris Wyse and drummer John Tempesta are nothing more than hired guns here.) From the beginning of the first track, it's clear that Born into This is going to rock as hard as Electric or 1989's Sonic Temple. The Cult have obviously quit the experimentalism and art rock asides of the '90s and 2000s, in favor of something that fits in well with both Astbury's time fronting the Doors and Duffy's unapologetic metal side project, Circus Diablo. Aside from the occasional flourish of their post-punk gothic past, most of the record is the dirtiest and heaviest hard rock they've recorded since the '80s, like the trailer single "Dirty Little Rockstar" or the similarly trashy "Diamonds." Astbury's vocals are as muscular as they've ever been, although his quavering vibrato on the ballad "Holy Mountain" marks it as a latter-day Cult song. Duffy's songwriting edge may have dulled slightly, but his lead guitar and the production of longtime British associate Youth make up for any inadequacy.

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