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Record Review - 3 July 18 2001



What year is this anyway? Don't ask the recently revived Cult, 'cause they probably don't know and definitely don't care. Like Kiss, Blue Oyster Cult and Lynyrd Skynyrd, vocalist Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy, along with ex-Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum, remain naively oblivious to trends, fads, hairstyles or even time. Reunited after a seven-year sabbatical, the Cult's newest album is 50 minutes of bullshit-free, in-your-face, amps-on-11 cock rock. While Duffy's ham-fisted, crunch-a-bunch guitar and Astbury's distinctive howl won't generate praise from rock-guru elitists spewing their love for Radiohead, you have to hand it to the duo for churning out this mindless sludge with unpretentious enthusiasm and a steadfast commitment to craft.

Guitar riffs fly in six directions simultaneously as Astbury careens on about good, evil, blood and power — making no sense whatsoever — while the music crashes and burns like a series of sonic car wrecks. The effect is like getting sucker-punched in the ears — it leaves you groggy, but not knocked out. There aren't any vroom-vroom classics here as memorable as "Love Removal Machine" or "Lil' Devil" (although the single "Rise" comes close), but the Cult doesn't realize that as they whip up a refreshingly lunkheaded frenzy. They're committed to the cause of raised-fist, hard rockers everywhere. To them, techno never happened, teen pop doesn't exist and Alice Cooper still rules the charts. Shhhh ... don't let on. They sound better this way.

The Cult plays the DeKalb Atlanta Center Sun., July 22.??