The Cult, ‘Choice of Weapon’ – Album Review
The Cult may be getting some age on them, but they’re not going gently into the night. In fact, with their latest release, ‘Choice of Weapon,’ the group shows off the energy and vitality of a band half their age while feeding upon the years of experience to craft a lyrically deeper album.
From the opening moments of ‘Honey From a Knife,’ the Cult are off and running with Billy Duffy’s driving guitar and drummer John Tempesta keeping the listener’s toes tapping with a punk-fueled beat. The track is also bound to be a live favorite with its sing-along chorus, “We got the drugs / we got the drugs / we got the drugs / the drugs in here.”
‘For the Animals’ is the lead single off the disc, and also shows the talents of Duffy with his electronic-sounding guitar and Tempesta hitting hard behind the kit, while singer Ian Astbury’s instantly recognizable voice delivers the attitude needed to drive home the song’s message. But the real attention-grabber here is the Jerry Lee Lewis-like piano playing that really drives the track along.
‘The Wolf’ is another standout that feels like it would have been just as vital during the band’s ’80s and ’90s success as it is today, with Astbury’s voice really shining through on the track. And ‘Every Man and Woman is a Star’ also fits within that classic driving Cult sound.
But the ‘Choice of Weapon’ album is much more than a revival of past glories, it’s also a chance for the band to show their range and experiment without going overboard. ‘Wilderness Now’ is one of the disc’s more intriguing moments. It’s one of the slower cuts on the record and it really takes hold with the band’s string backing.
‘A Pale Horse’ shows off the Astbury’s range as his soulful call and response vocal comes off like a bluesman/preacher warning the audience, “I’m gonna crush you right where you stand.” And ‘Life/Death’ may be one of the bigger curveballs on the release, as it feels like it has a ’50s era pacing, but the Cult give it their own modern stamp. Lyrically the song has substance as well as Astbury debates the essence of a man.
In Loudwire’s recent interview with Billy Duffy, he told us that the chemistry within the band was as good as it’s ever been and that Astbury has been really excited with the new music. Duffy was so enthused that he added of the disc, “This one’s pretty much a winner from the get go.” After hearing the disc in full, we tend to agree.