The Cult - Choice of Weapon

To be feted in one's own land is an ambition The Cult have been denied for the best part of two decades, and it seems unlikely that Choice of Weapon will do much to change that. From post-punk to anthemic goth and ultimately leather-vested, balls-to-the-wall hard rock, the British public remained curiously loyal to Messrs. Astbury and Duffy, willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for all their brazen chameleonism - as long as they churned out student disco fodder like 'Spiritwalker', 'Rain' or 'Love Removal Machine'. That tolerance began to thaw with 1989's Sonic Temple, Bob Rock's FM radio sheen doing little to disguise the decline into more run-of-the-mill rawk that was increasingly anachronistic at a time where a few bands from Seattle were knocking at the door.

It's a template The Cult have persisted with, to a greater or lesser degree, ever since and which remains front and centre here. Bob Rock is back behind the desk and while the production is a little more reserved (Astbury's voice is - dryly - pushed up front) and there's an attempt to recapture some of the kick-ass riffery of old ('The Wolf', 'Amnesia'), the appearance of yet more dated, portentious ballads ('Life > Death', 'Wilderness Now') is about as welcome as the letter detailing the time and date of your Hell's Angels initiation ceremony. There remains, no doubt, a residual affection for the band (although the forthcoming arena tour with The Mission and Killing Joke seems wildy optimistic) but Choice of Weapon fails to wash away the sense of redundancy that has hung around for too long now.



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