Jun 2012 25

The Cult - Choice of WeaponThe Cult
Category: Post-Punk / Rock
Album: Choice of Weapon
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: A return to the pure rocking flavor of the band’s heyday with just the right touch of experimental flair to remind listeners of The Cult’s post-punk roots.


The Cult has had one of the most interesting journeys in modern music. Since the band’s inception in the early ’80s, Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy have with their numerous collaborators over the course of three decades taken The Cult through the highs and lows of rock & roll stardom. While early efforts retained the dark psychedelia of their post-punk roots, the band would eventually become the bearers of the torch passed down from the likes of The Doors and Led Zeppelin. Choice of Weapon presents a return for The Cult in several regards, particularly in their embrace of some of the experimental flourishes that had been eschewed in favor of a rawer, dirtier sound on 2007’s Born into This.

From the rhythmic onset of “Honey from a Knife,” chugging guitar and bass amid a strident drumbeat, Astbury’s vocals as bluesy and soulful as ever with some shouting refrains that evoke the spirit of the post-punk scene, The Cult are clearly amped up. With sardonic lyrics that mirror the drug-induced haze of the rock & roll lifestyle and a delightfully gritty guitar solo, the song is immediately catchy and grabs the listener immediately. “Elemental Light” then enters with a smooth display of harmonic atmosphere, Duffy’s guitar gliding atop a gradual rhythm that builds into a powerful yet restrained chorus that is as anthemic as anything heard on the band’s Sonic Temple. The same can be said for songs like “Life is Greater than Death” and “Wilderness Now” with their gleaming piano and synthesized flutter courtesy of Jamie Edwards underscoring Astbury’s passionate and introspective voice and lyrics, the cadence shifting from sullen desperation to melodic enlightenment. And then there are songs like “Lucifer” with its touch of rhythmic synth just beneath a mix of growling rock decadence, Astbury’s voice soaring with bravado and fire as Duffy’s wah-infused guitars scream with fury. Other rockers like “The Wolf” and “For the Animals” come across as more straightforward, even with sublime layers of piano and swirling effects that recall the sound of past albums like Love and Dreamtime, while the staccato rhythm of “A Pale Horse” presents Astbury in all his lyrical glory, John Tempesta’s drum rolls and Duffy’s wetly effected guitar solos adding a nice energy. “This Night in the City Forever” ends the album proper with a chilled and reserved ambiance that finally erupts into a blistering climax.

Four additional tracks are included in the deluxe edition, beginning with “Every Man and Woman is a Star.” Chris Wyse’s edgy and dirty bass line is especially noteworthy on this track, cutting through the mix without being pervasive amid Duffy’s harmonic squeals and slides creating a metallic sonic feel. “Embers” is on par with the slower songs on the album, but “Until the Light Takes Us” with its galloping rhythm and discordant guitar and “Siberia” with its overdriven bass and reverberating tribal beats really bring to mind such songs as “Ghost Dance” and “In God’s Zoo” from the early days when the band was known as Death Cult.

In so many ways, Choice of Weapon is the quintessential album for The Cult, with Chris Goss and longtime collaborator Bob Rock helping to give the album that pure rocking production sheen so intrinsic to the band’s sound. As well, the return to particular motifs of songwriting and style in tandem with the inclusion of ambient keys and strings presents The Cult sounding as close to the spirit of their original post-punk pseudo-goth roots as ever. Longtime fans of the band will certainly pleased while enthusiasts of the classic sound of the early ’80s when modern music was establishing a flair for combining sounds and genres to create new modes to define what was to come will enjoy the energy of Choice of Weapon. It may not reach the same level of pure power and passion as Electric or Sonic Temple, but it still presents The Cult doing what they do best and in fine form.
Track list:
Disc 1

  1. Honey from a Knife
  2. Elemental Light
  3. The Wolf
  4. Life is Greater than Death
  5. For the Animals
  6. Amnesia
  7. Wilderness Now
  8. Lucifer
  9. A Pale Horse
  10. This Night in the City Forever

Disc 2

  1. Every Man and Woman is a Star
  2. Embers
  3. Until the Light Takes Us
  4. Siberia

The Cult Website http://www.thecult.us
The Cult MySpace http://www.myspace.com/thecult
The Cult Facebook https://www.facebook.com/officialcult
The Cult Twitter http://www.twitter.com/officialcult
Cooking Vinyl Website http://cookingvinyl.com
Cooking Vinyl MySpace http://www.myspace.com/cookingvinylusa
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Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Amazon Vinyl
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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