The Cult – Born Into This, Savage Edition: Album Review

The 2007 album from The Cult, expanded with a disc of bonus material. Astbury and Duffy, friends briefly reunited.

Release date: 15th October 2021

Label: HNE Recordings – Cherry Red

Format: 2CD / digital

Ah, the days of driving from North Wales through a snowstorm to watch The Cult at Manchester Apollo. Seats in the front row of the circle it was too. And then driving back. That was 1985 when She Sells Sanctuary had catapulted them into the spotlight and the Love album from that period is still a go-to record.

And then The Cult story took a turn. The Hard Rock phase, the break-up and the comeback with Born Into This and then the declaration that ‘that would be it’. Ian Astbury can prove to be a bit contrary and with Billy Duffy, it seems a partnership akin to the severed alliance of Morrissey and Marr.

The wolf imagery on Born Into This is still strong, gracing the bold cover as the Asybury/Duffy core ara joined by bassist Chris Wyse and drummer John Tempesta, both of who boast decent hard rock pedigrees. The stage is set for the title track to kick in with some Sympathy For The Devil “whoo-whoo’s”. Raw and unpolished, the songs see them relying on the heavy riff centred work that saw them at their musical peak, their Gothic roots almost abandoned by now.

It’s a set of songs that don’t tend to the ambitious beyond the raw and rootsy. The simple rhythmic chug and stomp on Citizens and Diamonds aren’t going to test any experts on Guitar Hero, and lyrically – “she’s a diamond, she’s my girl” and later “she’s my baby, she stands tall” -it’s not demanding, just pure unadulterated rock and roll. The single, Dirty Little rockstar concedes to a few strutting and posturing Jaggerisms and leaves no doubt as to the song title…

The curveball comes with Holy Mountain where Astbury goes all Roy Orbison, inspired by a suitably apt soundtrack. I’ve heard this track described as a club singer doing Orison which might be a little unfair, but I Assassin soon with the genius in the simplicity of the Page/Zep style riff redressing the balance. And while we’re on riffing influences, Illuminated is pure AC/DC in the way the riff pumps out on a track that’s possibly worthy of being included with the iconic Electric or Love songs.

With Savages and Sound Of Destruction rounding things off with bombast (the latter reaching a rather abrupt ending – maybe a case of “let’s wrap this up and get it mastered – NOW!”), you can turn to a bonus disc of five extra period tracks including a couple of demos – as if the finished album wasn’t rough and ready enough – comes as standard. Ultimately, Born Into This offers a a reminder of The Cult not necessarily at their most potent, but what you;ll find if you deep deeper beyond the more acclaimed areas of their catalogue.

Here’s the title track:

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