Sound Check

The Cult returns to rock with new album “Choice of Weapon”

Ian Astbury of rock band, The Cult. (Photo by Earl Mcgehee/WireImage)

After declaring in 2009 that the album format was dead and a new The Cult record would never be seen, lead singer Ian Astbury reveals in an exclusive interview what changed his mind about recording the band's latest debut, "Choice of Weapon."

"2009 was very different," Astbury told Yahoo! Canada Music."We had done 'Born Into This,' which was done under very difficult circumstances. There were time constraints, contractual obligations, the record wasn't fully realized and it wasn't entirely connected."

While recording 2007's "Born Into This," the British band had 15 days to work with producer Martin "Youth" Glover and although Astbury still thinks that there are "brilliant songs on that record," the album itself was "underdone."

"Going through that experience and the difficult marriage with Roadrunner in the United States, it wasn't quite a right fit for us or them," Astbury said. "There was a fair amount of cynicism, certainly on my part there was, and I was watching what was happening with the industry in general and it felt like the Titanic."

In order to release new music without being tied to an album, The Cult began to debut "capsule collections" of tunes whereby each track would have an online lifespan of about two weeks before being taken down. However, record labels were not too keen on working with a band that only wanted to release in "capsule" format.

"After two cycles of the 'capsules,' we found that people really wanted it and liked what we were doing," Astbury said. "There were a few labels banging on doors going, 'We'll sign you and we'll work with you but it has to be an album. We're not interested in the 'capsules,' we want an album.'"

Even though it took a lot to come to the final decision of releasing a full-length record, Astbury admits that it was the right thing for The Cult, saying, "We have to protect the sanctity of the creative process, ultimately we're protecting the core. If the core is affected, then we're into something different and that's really nowhere I want to be. I thought for the good and health of the band, it was the best thing for us to do."

The Cult have always been a band that has set precedents in music and in the words of Astbury, "made it okay to mix Joy Division with Led Zeppelin." Today, the frontman thinks that there are a few Canadian female artists who are examples of musicians who are getting it right and giving back to the craft.

"A lot of the women get it. Feist gets it [and] Crystal Castles are a genius band. 'Violent Dreams' destroys me. I put a mixed tape on before we play live and they are incredible. It's pretty much the established bands in rock who have pulled up the ladder and began keeping it for themselves. There was no giving back. I think it's why the grunge generation and Seattle movement came along."

The Cult, a rock band formed in 1983, consists of members Astbury, Billy Duffy, John Tempesta and Chris Wyze. After gaining a following in their native U.K., the band achieved mainstream success overseas in the late 1980s with songs such as "Love Removal Machine" and "Fire Woman." The broke up in 1995, reunited in 1999 and then went on a two-year hiatus in 2002 before reuniting a second time.

Check out The Cult's new album (their ninth studio album) "Choice of Weapon" available today and watch their new video "For The Animals" featured below.

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