If Ian Astbury had been at the Battle of the Little Big Horn he would have joined the Indians and still have got scalped as a paleface. But that aside, he’s the closest mainstream rock ‘n’ roll has ever come to having a genuine medicine man/shaman character since the demise of the great Jim Morrison. With Choice Of Weapon a lot of the mystical mumbo jumbo that sometimes muddied the message of The Cult’s music has been jettisoned for a more leather-arsed, biker-revved rocking approach that suggests that Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy have made up any musical differences. What we get is an entire album cut from the Cult’s classic sonic cloth of raindance rhythms, cyclical, driving guitar hooks, and impassioned vocals, but with enough variety—check out the leftfield swoon of anthemic ballad “Life/ Death”—to stop things getting into a rut. The snarl and spit of “For The Animals” and the loose-jointed thunder of “The Wolf” make these stand-out tracks, and suggest that Astbury and Duffy are still channeling big hairy vibes from the place where only the shaman can go.
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