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Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Mar 3rd, 2016

The Cult: Hidden City

cultsThe Cult
Hidden City
(Cooking Vinyl/Downtown)

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“Dark Energy” with its doubled guitars of slicing power chords and shouted melody opens The Cult’s tenth album, Hidden City. “No Love Lost” sees John Tempesta mining a high-tuned tom beat and Billy Duffy’s single-note picking, which he turns into blasting, slicing guitar choruses and we get the true first taste of Ian Astbury’s distinctive baritone on the piano/synth string parts on the slower, menacing verses of “In Blood.” You don’t have to get too far into this 12-song collection to realize we are in familiar Cult territory here. There’s lots of the usual electric, cowboy wailing from Duffy, tribal beats and a whole bunch of mysticism in what Astbury delivers lyrically. “Hinterland” is led by a low, growling bass, a Duffy-like, simple, few-note opening noisy riff, lots of space in the verses and plucking, with Astbury’s controlled scream/singing. It moves well, but doesn’t go anyplace particularly, though there is a ton of Duffy leading. “GOAT” is all full-steam-ahead though, probably the best all-out rocker of the bunch here, moments of just Astbury and Tempesta mixed with Duffy’s most distinctive leading on all of Hidden City. The big, commercial rocker, “Heathens,” with its harmony vocals, a fun riff you can hang your ear on and a singable chorus (Tempesta keeps things clicking forward the whole way here) and the almost-angelic “Sound and Fury,” with its snare rim shot beat, piano and a warbling Astbury managing his best ballad singing, end the album.

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The Cult: Hidden City