Second acts are hard enough to deliver successfully in the pantheon of hard rock, so it's surprising then that the Cult, now well into their third go-round, still give their audience exactly what they crave. The brawny licks by guitarist Billy Duffy, conspicuously toned down on 2007's Born into This, are back with a vengeance on Choice of Weapon, the band's ninth studio album. Duffy reaches deep into his grab bag of riffs to echo the classic "She Sells Sanctuary" on "The Wolf," then rains down elegance in "Life > Death" and floors it on the powerful first single "For the Animals." Frontman Ian Astbury is resplendent in all his shamanistic glory, singing about his "wild Indian heart" ("Honey from a Knife") and doing his best Strange Days–era Jim Morrison ("A Pale Horse"). This is the longest the band has had the same lineup, which adds to the overall tightness from start to finish. Astbury infamously declared a few years ago that the Cult was finished making LPs, calling the album a dead format. Good thing he went back on that one — Choice of Weapon is a prime example of why the final nail hasn't yet been pounded into the coffin. And likely never will be.
THE CULT + AGAINST ME! + THE ICARUS LINE | House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St, Boston | June 5 @ 7 pm | All Ages | $27-$47 | 888.693.2583