THE CULT: CHOICE OF WEAPON
By Veena Venkersammy
It has been nearly two years since the release of The Cult’s two EP’s Capsule 1 & 2. The Cult’s British post-punk and hard rock metal style came through to mainstream audiences in the mid 80’s with hard rock songs like “Fire Woman” and “She Sells Sanctuary”. In music, timing is everything, and seeing the cover of their latest album, Choice of Weapon, immediately brought many current themes in our world to mind.
The façade of a Native-American Shaman is the only color to the black and white image of a man seemingly on a spiritual path of awakening and revolution. The first song “Honey From a Knife” opens with Duffy’s chunky, and edgy guitar tone thickening as over an energizing rock rhythm. When Astbury’s first words are heard, the lyrics instantly begin to connect the album artwork to the music effortlessly. Choice of Weapon addresses and communicates the current global climate from the human perspective in a direct but more poetic fashion.
The next tune, “Elemental Light” reminds me of the deep dynamic qualities shared between Astbury and Jim Morrison, not only in their vocal/sonic characteristics. Both singers have noted a fascination with Native American mysticism and nature, being a key source of inspiration in their work. Astbury’s vocals allow Duffy’s rich guitar passages to shine through at all the right moments here. Lyrical verses: “Everyone of us feels alone inside sometimes/Everyone of us has forgotten our way.” A reoccurring message in Choice of Weapon calls to the true nature of being alive, and the ailment of media overload in society quickly conditioning us to accept an unsatisfactory outlook on life as we miss the beauty in everything.
The piece “Life>Death” is a pause in the album’s driving hard rock sound. It introduces soft acoustic piano progressions combined with powerful guitar textures and a direct message to the growing corporate giants that cover our eyes and ears. Astbury sings with passion and fervor, “You can’t destroy them/The beauty and the youth/ You’ll never beat them/You’ll never hide the truth” The proceeding song “For the Animals” features a register of warm, fuzzy, aggressive guitar parts with tenacious energy in the of context global uncertainty and blindness: “Dark cities you crawling in/ Dark prisons your living in/ You losing millions of cells/ Spit your mantra Go got Hell”. Watch the For the Animals video!
As the track “Lucifer” starts up, I don’t realize I am on track eight of Choice of Weapon; the album is continuously engaging. The piece opens with Tempesta’s drums in a big sounding Led Zeppelin fashion with potent hard rock riffs surely to capture the ears of modern rock radio listeners. With only two songs remaining in the queue, it hits me that this is one of The Cult’s most powerful, well written bodies of work. The conclusion to this album “This Night in The City Forever” could not be more fitting. The tune boasts stellar rock arrangement, tempo changes and musicianship surely to leave a second listen desired: “I am running in the black light/ My skull in flame in the night/ Pull out your knife, Pull out your knife/ We can make it right.”
This CD is packaged impressively like a hardcover book. Inside the glossy cover is a 24-page booklet filled with heady artwork, lyrics, and credits. After that is the 4-track bonus disc of the Cult’s work prior to Choice of Weapon. The Cult created an album that will satisfy existing followers and create new ones. Its timeless themes of oppression, love, and redemption call on all of us today to think twice of the path we choose!
Choice of Weapon releases May 22nd and The Cult kicks of their North American concert tour May 25th. The band takes the stage at the Hollywood Palladium on June 23rd. To purchase tickets, visit Ticketmaster.