“My wild Indian heart was pounding, I was runnin’ so fast” — Ian Astbury
THE CULT – Weapon of Choice (2012 limited edition iTunes exclusive)
Yeah, I haven’t even gotten around to reviewing The Cult’s excellent Choice of Weapon album yet. (Nutshell review: I love it.) I did review the EP Capsule 1, glowingly so for the music, so you know where I stand as far as The Cult goes!
So what is this Weapon of Choice thing then? This is an early take on Choice of Weapon, produced by Chris Goss, before Bob Rock came on board to help them finish the record. Think of it as a demo version, perhaps, or maybe a latter-day version of the Peace album. The Cult themselves refer to this as a “prequel” album.
Weapon of Choice was available on iTunes only (no physical release) for a limited time only. If you don’t have it now, you won’t be able to buy it anymore. As usual, I wish there was a physical release. Thankfully, the music itself is so strong that it helps compensate for the lack of packaging and credits.
These are early, unpolished versions of the same songs, with different (presumably working) titles. Therefore, “Blackie” = “A Pale Horse”. “Elemental” = “Elemental Light”, and so on and so forth.
If you’ve heard the Choice of Weapon album, then you already know these are good songs, and they were good songs at this stage too. What Bob Rock did is add a layer of polish to them, some additional thump, and more hooks. That’s what Bob is good it, love him or hate him. If you haven’t heard Choice of Weapon, by all means, get out there and get it! What’s cool about it, and this, is that The Cult have revisited their ability to write quintessential Cult riffs, while still pushing forward into new boundaries. Plus I think Ian’s voice has aged remarkably well. As he’s gotten older and more grizzled, his voice has acquired more character.
I do prefer the hookier Choice of Weapon versions of these songs, but this is an excellent companion piece. A little rougher around the edges. A little more live sounding.
Highlights for me:
- The awesome “Supreme” (= an early version of “Honey From A Knife” without the gang vocals or piano)
- “The Bones” (= “For the Animals”)
- “Decado” (= “Lucifer”, ironically there is another song on Weapon of Choice called “Lucifer”)
- “Gibraltar” (= “The Wolf” with a slightly altered riff)
- “Militant” (= a slightly different arrangement of the driving “Amnesia”)
The Cult are back. The Cult are cool. Just wish there was a physical release!