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The Cult - Under The Midnight Sun review


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Band: The Cult
Album: Under The Midnight Sun
Release date: October 2022

01. Mirror
02. A Cut Inside
03. Vendetta X
04. Give Me Mercy
05. Outer Heaven
06. Knife Through Butterfly Heart
07. Impermanence
08. Under The Midnight Sun

After nearly 40 years, The Cult return to the studio where they recorded Dreamtime. Perhaps a more fitting image than the snake on the cover art would've been an ouroboros.

Under The Midnight Sun is not entirely a return to the sound of The Cult's debut from back in 1984, let alone to their The Southern Death Cult days. But for a career that lasted so long and managed both a consistency and an evolution in sound, this is the first time in a very long time where The Cult felt like they're specifically looking at those very early moody days. It's weird to imagine now how little common ground between the gothic post-punk and the hard rocking glam metal worlds there was before The Cult's Love came along, but that only makes Dreamtime more interesting in retrospect, a much more psychedelic and atmospheric album in comparison, barely sowing the seeds. Likewise Under The Midnight Sun finds The Cult at their most atmospheric in a long time.

I admit that I've mostly been into The Cult's hard rock days from between 1985 and 1991, which is also generally their most renowned period, and I've only recently gotten into their earlier stuff as well as the more alt focused sound of their latter albums. And yet, even with the shifts in sound, I can't say there's any of their albums I'd call a dud. Six years ago, alt rock flavors were still running thick on Hidden City, so it's a pretty weird place to find them shifted towards something closer to heartland rock or some more contemporary indie rock, a sound simultaneously atmospheric, epic, and grandiose, and yet still very understated. A lot of that is due to the very clear signs of ageing on Astbury's vocals, someone who should be in very high places among the best rock singers of all time, still retaining a very charming essence even with that tear.

The band manages to write something that's pretty opposite of the hard rocking ethos that usually comes to mind when thinking of hits like "She Sells Sanctuary" or "Wild Flower", even though there's still something very anthemic about the entire thing. Plus an emphasis on a nearly symphonic sound in the instrumentals brings a consistent charm to the melodies. It is a sound that would be in danger of being overstretched into unexcitement were it not for the very lean runtime, rounding pretty neatly at a 35 minutes, so this being the quality over quantity thing that it is, could probably prompt few to say that this is their best since whatever album they think was their last peak. I refrain from making such claims, I don't think this is close to The Cult's best, but there's still so much to enjoy from this sound.

Now I have to make sure I wouldn't lose all my goth credibility by accidentally mistaking them for The Cure at any point in the review.

Written on 17.10.2022 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 5   Visited by: 88 users
18.10.2022 - 10:38
I also prefer the '85-'91 period of The Cult but Dreamtime is also great. I am surprised at how much I like Under The Midnight Sun; every song is actually really good. "Knife Through Butterfly Heart" is my favourite.
18.10.2022 - 13:36
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Radu.. Ciao baby.
I like band to 1991 and even first album was ok. This their best after 1991.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
18.10.2022 - 17:40

Loved "Sonic Temple" and "Ceremony". I will have to check this one out. It's a shame that The Cult is a lottery live: saw them few years back and it was... meh.
18.10.2022 - 19:29
Rating: 8
A Nice Guy
Great review This is a mighty fine album! And I've often mistaken The Cure for this band too in the past, only by the name though because their music isn't all that similar in that regard.
18.10.2022 - 19:52

My first taste of this band actually came from a collab song or EP or album or something Boris did with them, strangely enough. I *still* feel I'm skimmin the surface of the post-punk world, even after years and years of embracing it when it 'falls in my lap', basically... I have not taken a 100% plunge - some suggestions would be cool.

some guy who lives n breathes post-punk I know who's 4 inches taller but yet weighs less than me somehow (his look is that of a Tim Burton starring or supporting character - I mean that in the best intended, complimentary way possible - yes he likes Elfman/Oingo Boingo. who doesn't.) - he was goin on about deathrock n how it is has nothing to do with death metal n preceded it by 100 yrs blah blah krautrock and super-ancient German sound engineers who are still making sound-color experiments as albums... blastbeats in 50's jazz n 60's Jamaican proto-techno o_O it was fascinating... overwhelming, as you can perhaps imagine, but a bit intimidating as I was not takin notes/copy-pasting the chat (I should've. rookie move.) err anywehhys.....

Ian Astbury (that's his name, right?) has a very evocative acquired-taste (easily acquired cuz you can tell it's awesome you just have to get the rest of you onboard or something) vocal style that seems to vaguely-yet-powerfully shift around emotion like the passengers of a plane piloted by 8 gorillas and 1 bear in heated disagreement (how a cockpit would fit all them I cannot fathom - perhaps that was the crux of the argument drama)...

...and the instrumental music's solid/plasma asskickery is in its bleak feeling of stark honesty yet seems permeated with the notion that hope/love still roams even when there's no perceived, relevant space for it to? or how everything is ball-n-chained to its dynamic opposite and this infinite push-pull yields realization that separation doesn't truly exist... ehh sorry I'm headin in the meta direction.... can of worms resealed in Glad freezer bag.

eh, without the point of reference of truly knowing this band's previous works... not much to tangibly say other than... at face-value a la carte - this is a great record n I look fwd to rippin into their paper trail of... not cheese... I'd more say candy... not hollow pop foam candy... the good stuff with all kinds of fancy packaging n advertisements of women in an exaggerated, decadent reverie... good for her. good times good times good band good review even without good ref point good run-on sentence good day goodbye

p.s. - any rec's for this band's previous woix or similar/related bands/albums totally vvelcome

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