Beyond Good and Evil
Released: 2001, Atlantic Records
This album is being touted as The Cult's return to the sounds of old. Whenever a label or whomever starts making claims such as these, fair warning. It's almost never true. Do The Cult return to their roots? Hell no. Do they get heavy? Yes, in a manner of speaking they do. These aren't the rockin' sounds of Christmas past though. They have transformed into a much chunkier version of their former selves to be sure. It's sort of like the transition that the Crue made with the Vinceless s/t release or the heavy groove influence found on Skid Row's SUBHUMAN RACE. Which is fine, but it's a huge departure from the classic Cult sound of the mid to late eighties.
The album is sort of uneven. Let me just say that it starts out fairly strong, lags in the middle (with the notable exception of "Ashes and Ghosts") and then finishes as if revamped. "The War (The Process)," "The Saint" and "Rise" (the current single) kick off the album as a sort of trilogy in that they all have a similar structure and sound. Do not be afraid, all of these songs rock. However, the middle of the album is dominated by somewhat boring radio hits in waiting, circa 1990. Too bad for The Cult that this stuff doesn't sell anymore, because a few of these would have been guaranteed top 40 hits ten to twelve years ago. "Ashes and Ghosts," found within the middle section of the album, breaks away from the boredom and reconnects with the gloomy, psychedelic vibe found on LOVE. It's a highpoint on the disc, in my opinion. The song that kicks off the end of the album (being that I divided this 12 song album into groups of four), "Shape the Sky," is a scorcher. This one sounds very old school to me (SONIC TEMPLE to be exact) and is one of my faves on the album for sure. The last two tunes are interesting and possess a few killer melodies. The very last one, "Bridges Burn," being a total kickin' success.
The melodies found within this album should be familiar to diehard fans. Not that they actually went back, ripped out old choruses and reattached them or anything, but they seem to echo the occasional melody via LOVE and/or SONIC TEMPLE (the straight ahead rawness of ELECTRIC is nowhere to be found on this album). Unfortunately, the guitar sound, which used to just rule, has been beefed up for whatever reason. This is probably a direct result of Bob Rock, producer to the stars. Even though he produced the fairly solid SONIC TEMPLE album, he's been known to ruin the occasional band. Any guesses?
Anyway, if you seriously dig The Cult, I'd suggest you grab this release. But, then again, maybe not. This could potentially be a disappointment, depending on your disposition. However, if you still crave for the arena rock of the late eighties, then you may want to pick this one up. The album could be just the thing to bring back those rockin' summer feelings of yore. Rock on!!!