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Cooking Vinyl really has been making some noise…literally. Fresh off releasing albums from Dropkick Murphys and Marilyn Manson, the label keeps the volume turned up with the latest from The Cult. Choice Of Weapon, the band’s first full-length in five years, is another example of how Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy have recaptured their mojo. For over ten years in the eighties and nineties, The Cult dropped stellar releases routinely. But their disappointing self-titled effort was followed up by another subpar record in 2001. Six years after, though, with the current rhythm section of Chris Wyse and the underrated John Tempesta, they staged a hell of a comeback with Born Into This. That was supposed to the band’s swan song. The spirit refused to die.
Enter Choice Of Weapon. Re-enter producer Bob Rock (you know, the guy that “ruined” Metallica), who had produced the band’s classic Sonic Temple in 1989. Chris Goss, of Queens Of The Stone Age fame, did most of the heavy production lifting with Rock brought in to gloss things up. The results are not revelatory but certainly not disappointing. The Cult sound as they should, just updated. There are still plenty of Native American and nature references informing the subject matter but adapted to our current times. There is also the recurring sentiment of societal shifts toward damnation. “The Wolf,”, musically, is the cousin to the band’s classic “She Sells Sanctuary,”. This time Astbury isn’t just dragged down by the world but jumps headlong into the abyss to regain something lost. Other stellar tracks like “For The Animals,” and “Amnesia,” similarly serve as warnings. The album itself is a heartfelt strike against corporate greed and environmental squandering (“Wilderness Now,”). Astbury’s voice is as vital and passionate as ever while musical soul mate Duffy’s guitars are solid if not spectacular, vibrant. There is even an added value in a second disc that kicks off with the anthemic “Every Man And Woman Is A Star,”.
If this is to be the end of the band, this is how you go out.
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