Monday, 4 June 2012

Review: The Cult - Choice of Weapon

 The Cult. It's debatable as to whether their name suits them adequately or not these days. They have a massive following granted but in terms of other British post punk groups that started in the 1980's, their influence and legacy isn't one that's stretched as far and wide, compared to say, Killing Joke, an overall better band whose MMXII album I still really really need to review on account of it being one of the best albums of 2012 so far. But the cult have retained a devoted following with their sophisticated hard rock tunes so, yeah, I guess they are pretty cult-like still. And if you are in that devoted following, their ninth album Choice of Weapon is a clear sign of the band roaring back towards top form.

 Instantly there's a sign of a spark igniting the fire that exists within the bellies of the band on this album as Honey From a Knife opens with a rush of exciting riffs from Billy Duff building into a frantic yet fully settled melody.
 The songwriting across the album is very skilled in this sense and strong hooks and big choruses are key while there's a strong sense of power across the song wether it's in in the soulful melodies of The Wolf and Lucifer, both containing a strong sense of fist-pumping triumph in their course or the almost theatrical performance of frontman Ian Astbury, whose riled up vocal delivery on For the Animal and A Pale Horse serves as the real driving force on those songs.
 Even the more mellow moments in Amnesia and Wilderness Now support the awe-inspiring powerful delivery of the album with the melodic songwriting playing to it's strengths in a manner more sophisticated hidden manner and the reliance on atmospheric backdrops on Elemental Light and This Night In the City Forever chills listeners to settle into the groove of the otherwise riff-orientated performances.
 So, Choice of Weapon is a triumphant step back towards the prime sound of The Cult. Maybe having the same consecutive lineup for more than one album for the first time ever was a considerable strength for the band. All the ethics of making a great rock album can be found, produced in such a way that Astbury's performance works together with powerful yet subtle songwriting which can be mellowed and mature but also able to muster up a considerable force. And with that and a decent amount of sweeping hook to make the perfect sound of the original post-punk movement. And that sounds just like what the expansive cult following of The Cult would like.

 The Cult's Choice of Weapon is out now via Cooking Vinyl. The band will tour the UK in September with The Mission and Killing Joke.

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