The Cult's Ian Astbury: 'A Lot of Rock Has Lost Its Teeth'
The Cult's Ian Astbury: 'A Lot of Rock Has Lost Its Teeth'

Believes 'Choice of Weapon,' First Studio Album in 5 Years, May 'Polarize Our Audience'

This spring, The Cult plans to unleash what frontman Ian Astbury considers "one of the strongest records we've ever made."

Astbury tells Billboard.com that "Choice of Weapon" -- which comes out May 22 and is the quartet's first new studio album in five years -- is "coherent. It's cohesive. It's very confident, and the statements are very bold. Some may feel there's a certain arrogance to it, but I think there's a healthy confidence to this record. We knew it wasn't going to be superficial. The gloves were coming off. We were going to show it as raw and as intimate as we could."

With "plenty of raw material" to draw from, the Cult recorded "Choice of Weapon" sporadically since August, and in two distinct phases. The group first worked with producer Chris Goss (Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss, U.N.K.L.E.), starting off in what Astbury describes as "a raw, visceral space" before all concerned "kind of exhausted ourselves." The Cult then went to Bob Rock, who produced 1989's platinum "Sonic Temple," for "a fresh set of ears" and a "more refined" and polished sound. Nevertheless, Astbury says the end result is "very authentic."

Check Out 'Choice' Track, 'Lucifer'

"I think it's in some ways going to polarize our audience," Astbury predicts. "We certainly didn't sidestep the times that we live in. It deals with our individual experiences and what's going on around us in the world. Our intention was to make a record that was fresh. It's of its time, and we captured exactly where we're at right now, in the early part of the 21st century. I'm watching so many artists just terrified to make a statement of any kind. They're afraid they're going to get ripped apart in the blogosphere or torn apart by some critic who's basically just out of diapers. So many (artists) seem to be scared to come out and say what they feel. A lot of rock 'n' roll music has lost its teeth."

"Choice of Weapon" will be preceded by the first single, "For The Animals," which Astbury says reflects the Cult's attitude about making music. "The Cult is like an archetypal outsider group; we've never really fit in with one particular sect or genre," he explains. "We've never been pigeonholed. We've stayed open to other influences... But some people don't like that. They want to say, 'We know who you are' and they try to put a leash on you. So this is about identifying with a raw, visceral animal. We don't belong to anybody. We go where nature takes us."

The Cult plans to tour to support "Choice of Weapon," though Astbury says plans are "all TBA, TBD, nothing in concrete right now. We're going to be doing a bit of everything. It's possible it could start in the United States; we're looking at that potentiality. We're looking at Europe for the summer, probably a mixture of festivals and our own shows, and larger venues in the U.K. in September. It's just all falling together now."

"Choice of Weapon" Track List:

Honey From a Knife
Elemental Light
For The Animals
Life>Death
The Wolf
Amnesia
Lucifer
Wilderness Now
A Pale Horse
This Night in the City Forever

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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