Sound — 7
This came out in 1994 just as grunge was beginning to tail off but the sound of it, all crunching power chords, brutal snare and heavily distorted bass, is straight out of 1991. Album opener "Safe" is abslutely brutal; all in-your-face Sorum snare and razor sharp Duffy chords. Some of the tracks are nicely slowed down for a bit of variety though, like the plaintive "Sacred Life" which namechecks some recently-passed rock and rollers and the closing track "Saints Are Down" which I still don't know what is supposed to be about but sounds a lot like "Dreamtime" era Cult. Relations between Duffy and Astbury were at a low ebb at this time, which may explain some of the edge to a lot of the songs on here. The band split up soon after, not to resurface again until the new millenium. Produced by Bob Rock, who never needs any encouragement to turn up the guitars; here he doesn't need to turn 'em up much as Duffy's power chords are already at glass shattering levels.
Lyrics — 7
Ian Astbury, always a bit kooky, but a great rock singer in the classic baritone style, throws in some memorable lyrics. "all god's daughters, they got ass, they got class", a few mentions of Riott Grrrls and "baby" (which he usually throws in when lost for a lyric but works very well). My own favourite line is from "The Emperor's New Horse"which contains a few swear words but not excessively so. He sings mostly about his own life style I think.
Overall Impression — 8
Whilst the album might be a little bereft of ideas, relying on a few too many power chords to bring the occasional mundane moment to life ("Freedom", for instance, sheer filler, and "Black Sun", a powerful vocal should have sufficed in itself) it is still very effective no-frills hard rock. "Universal You" and "Star" must be two of the best Cult songs ever written and not far behind is the shuddering beast "Coming Down(Drug Tounge)" whilst "Joy D'Vivre" with its Doorsy organ throws in a change of style that perhaps could have been introduced a bit more to make the record a little more interesting musically. Overall though this is pretty good stuff.