Cocked and loaded
Look, by now you probably know my stance on ‘80’s and ‘90’s metal and rock compared to a lot of what comes out today. Quite frankly, I love it. There, I said it. So what? Big deal? Well, having said that, I can also recognise good product from the modern era from bands whose history dates back to those glory days. English hard rockers The Cult are one such act. Fronted by the inimitable Ian Astbury, whose vocals are as unique as they come, this British formed rock act are almost into their third decade and their latest album, Choice of Weapon, is as a good as their seminal releases – namely Electric and Sonic Temple, which blew people’s minds back in the day.
Their previous outing, 2007’s Born Into This, was an average at best album that really added very little (if anything at all) to the band’s legacy. It had a mix of The Cult and Primal Scream to it on an album that was probably best described as not a true representation of what The Cult is about. Thankfully, all that has changed for Choice of Weapon. It’s immediately obvious that this is a band that is firing on all cylinders; a band that has once again completely locked onto that sound and vibe that was synonymous with their best work.
The album leaps to life via the excellent Honey from a Knife, and the album rarely dips in quality from this point on. This upbeat opener is one hell of a rocker that would sit easily amongst the highlights of the band’s killer back catalogue. It only gets better with the gentler Elemental Light which showcases the band’s excellent use of thick, layered arrangements. Combine that with some top dynamics and this track is easily one of the best on offer.
But the problem is, there are so many good tracks on here. Astbury, and long time guitarist partner in crime, Billy Duffy, have really put their best foot forward with their song writing on Choice of Weapon. The Wolf, the very Electric sounding For The Animals, Lucifer and A Pale Horse also stand tall. Re-uniting once again with hard rock producer extraordinaire Bob Rock (Motley Crue, Metallica) – who also worked on their classic 1989 album Sonic Temple – certainly hasn’t hurt. The end result is quite the wall of sound that brings every element of The Cult’s sonic personality right up in your face. One would expect nothing less from Rock – his resume speaks for itself.
There’s little doubt that The Cult have unleashed their best album since Sonic Temple. Everything you associate with The Cult has been captured on here. Choice of Weapon is a focussed, kick ass, straight up rock ‘n’ roll album from these veteran hard rockers. For all who wrote off The Cult after Born Into This, you know you want to give Astbury and Co. another chance, and believe me, this is the album that will restore your faith in the quartet.
(Cooking Vinyl/Shock Entertainment)