Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Cult

  • Electric [Sire, 1987] B+
  • Sonic Temple [Sire, 1989] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Electric [Sire, 1987]
Rick Rubin meets the doom fops of the former Southern Death Cult and concocts the metal dreams are made of--Zep for our time, supposedly. One reason it's a great joke is that in 2087 almost nobody will be able to tell it from the real thing. The other reason it's a great joke is that right now almost anybody can. Direct comparison reveals that Jimmy Page's thunderclap riffs, Robert Plant's banshee yowls, and John Bonham's ka-boom ka-boom are just as hard to replicate as you thought they were. I hear Steppenwolf (an unconvincing "Born to Be Wild"), Cream ("Tales of Brave Ulysses" as "Aphrodisiac Jacket"), and Aerosmith--fop but no fool, Ian Astbury apes Steve Tyler rather than the unapproachable Plant. I also hear lots of Zep simplified--no sagas, no tempo shifts, no blues. Inspirational Verse: "Zany antics of a beat generation/In their wild search for kicks." B+

Sonic Temple [Sire, 1989]
Having risen from cultdom as a joke metal band metal fans were too dumb to get, they transmute into a dumb metal band. Dumb was the easy part. Ha ha. B-