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Cult, The: Born Into This - Savage Edition

Six years had passed since their comeback album in 2001 when The Cult unleashed Born Into This, a record which is arguably their rawest, least polished statement. Released as both a single and double CD, the latter was christened the Savage Edition and it is this comprehensive package that Cherry Red have reissued for our appraisal.

In many ways Born Into This was both a return and reaction to the riff fuelled, commercial highpoint of The Cult’s catalogue, clear lines and distinctions being drawn to Love, Electric and Sonic Temple. With the core duo of Billy Duffy and Ian Astbury in place, that Born… was a guitar totting, beat pounding extravaganza should be no surprise, but it was the more lo-fi approach that set this album apart and which possibly helps to both make it feel like it resides in a certain musical time, while never coming across as dated. The likes of “Illuminated”, which strongly reminds of The Who’s “Substitute” in places, for example, clearly harks back to the classic days of rock but then neither is it a 60s pastiche. Whereas one of the slower moments on the album, “Holy Mountain”, is in no way a bombastic ballad, coming across more as homage to Johnny Cash, and as such maybe shows some of singer Ian Astbury’s limitations. The former of these is also the only song in evidence to truly bristle with a trademark Billy Duffy guitar solo, even though his playing across the whole album is as unmistakable as ever. More grandiose is the other meandering moment, “Tiger In The Sun” being a thoroughly captivating exercise in restrained harmonics and driving beats - and here Astbury positively shines as he shows his true vocal class.

After the departure of Jamie Stewart in 1990 The Cult in reality became a duo augmented by a succession of ‘band members’, but with Born Into This that revolving door policy at least slowed, drummer John Tempesta (Rob Zombie/Exodus/Testament) still with the band to this day, while bassist Chris Wyse (Ozzy Osbourne/Ace Frehley) would stick around for 2012’s Weapon Of Choice. With the more aggressive musical background that this pair would bring with them, maybe it’s no surprise that this album sounds gritty right from the initial smack of the opening title track through to the closing “Sound Of Destruction”, which undoubtedly owns the grooving swagger this band made their name with. That is something not quite so in evidence across the likes of “Citizens” and “Dirty Little Rockstars”, with the latter of the two almost hitting like an acknowledgement to what had been happening in the 90s, with grungy guitars and electro undercurrents.

Disc two houses a further five tracks, demo versions of album cuts “I Assassin” (which features a refreshingly candid, fragile vocal from Astbury) and “”Sound Of Destruction” - while the ‘full length version’ of “Savages” enjoys its more sprawling surrounds. However, for most it will be the two full studio cuts, “Stand Alone”, which is a pretty good, straight forward Cult outing, and “War Pony Destroyer” that will prove most intriguing. For me, the latter of the two is possibly the best song in this entire release, its engine running in such a natural way that you can’t help but jump on board for the ride.

For me, Born Into This is a solid, but little unspectacular album from The Cult, sounding like a band not 100% sure where to turn, but making some good moves in the process. If you haven’t heard it, I’d suggest you should, but if The Cult are new to you, then this probably isn’t the best place to start.


Track Listing
CD1
1. Born Into This
2. Citizens
3. Diamonds
4. Dirty Little Rockstar
5. Holy Mountain
6. I Assassin
7. Illuminated
8. Tiger In The Sun
9. Savages
10. Sound Of Destruction


CD2
1. Stand Alone
2. War Pony Destroyer
3. I Assassin (Demo)
4. Sound Of Destruction (Demo)
5. Savages (Full Length Version)

Added: October 19th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Born Into This @ Cherry Red
Hits: 1879
Language: english

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