Choice of Weapon
Release Date: May 22, 12
I remember it vividly. It was the summer of 1987 when my friend Matt, who was working at a store called Cassette World — which was like a record store but sold only cassette tapes — threw a copy of The Cult’s Electric at me and said it was one of the best albums (on cassette of course) he’d ever heard.
There had to be some mistake. Matt was a metal fan who loved Metallica and Megadeth not English alterna-music like what was on the band’s previous album Love. But when I listened to Electric I understood immediately why Matt was excited. It’s an amazing rock album and probably still ranks as one of my top ten all-time favorite albums. It’s nearly flawless.
Today, 25 years and a number of albums later, the Cult is back with Choice of Weapon, a name which is unfortunately apt since the band doesn’t seem to know what direction to go in; rock like Electric or alternative like Love. If I get a vote, which I should after all the CDs and concert tickets I’ve bought over the years, I would suggest alternative because the rock sound just isn’t there anymore.
When the band tries to rock on Choice of Weapon, they fall flat from a combination of weak lyrics and a lack of truly driving guitar riffs. Songs like “Honey From a Knife,” “For the Animals,” and “Amnesia” are just tough to get through.
On the other hand “Elemental Light,” the Bowie-esque “Life Death,” and “This Night in the City of Forever” have some of the intensity and mystique that attracted fans to the band in the Love era without the dance-remix potential. They are powerful without trying too hard to rock.
But overall, it’s true: you can’t go home again nor can you go back to Cassette World. As much as I have loved and been a fan of the Cult for 25 years I can’t recommend this album. Even the bright spots aren’t enough to suggest adding this to your collection. Instead, if you aren’t already familiar, go back and experience the band’s true legacy: Rain, Electric, and Sonic Temple. Those are the weapons I would choose.