Chris Goss

REVIEW: The Cult – Weapon of Choice (2012)

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“My wild Indian heart was pounding, I was runnin’ so fast” — Ian Astbury

The Cult Weapon

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.

The-Cult-2012 (1)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!

3.5/5 stars

REVIEW: The Cult – Capsule 1 (2010)

CAPSULE FRONT

THE CULT – Capsule 1 (EP, 2010)

And then the hype began.

…first of 3, possibly 4 capsules…

…we’re not releasing an e.p…We’re releasing ‘a capsule’…

…new songs…a film aspect…music videos that you can download …maybe a t-shirt…

Bullshit!  It’s an EP dammit!  Which is fine, except this one was so fucking hard to get!  Tried Amazon…nothing…tried eBay…nothing on CD…went to the official Cult site and paid over $30 for this thing.

And then, it didn’t even play in any but one of my CD players!  My oldest one, strangely enough.  See, Capsule 1 is one of them there fancypants “DualDiscs”.  A load of crap, I sez.  Half the time, they don’t work in CD players!  But the idea is, one side of the disc is a CD and the other is a DVD.

Before I get to the music, let’s talk about the DVD side.  Ian’s hyped “film aspect”.

What the fuck was that?  What the fuck did I just watch?  Prelude to Ruins is 4 minutes of abstract whateverthefuck that I’ll never get back.  And for this 4 minutes, I can’t get a regular CD that I can play in my car?

Thankfully, the music is fucking awesome! 

First track “Every Man and Woman is a Star” is a stuttering, triumphant return for the Cult.  I think this is the best Cult track in many years, since possibly “The Witch” which is kind of takes me back to.  Another new song, “Siberia”, follows.  This mournful masterpiece drives with the darkest of pulses.  Ian’s vocal is among some of the most powerful I’ve heard!  Fuck yeah!  This takes me back to why I loved the Cult in the first place!  Both songs show different sides to the band, but upon hearing them there is no way you could mistake them for anything but the Cult.

This “capsule” is rounded out by two live tracks:  the best version of “Rain” that I have ever heard in my life, and a dull “Brother Wolf, Sister Moon”.  Ian barks his way through “Rain”, deviating from melody, but trading melody for aggression.

No T-shirt, Ian!  For $30 you could have sent me a shirt.

I’ve heard that Capsule 2 has skipped the DualDisc concept, but I don’t know for sure because I’ve never been able to locate a copy.  At $10 per good song, I thought that Capsule 1 was a bit pricey.

Musically:  4/5 stars

Value:  1/5

Oh, and Ian, it’s still just an E.P!