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The Cult

Following a succession of name and stylistic changes, the Cult emerged in 1984 as one of England's leading heavy metal revivalists.Picking up the pseudo-mysticism and Native American obsessions of the Doors, the guitar-orchestrations of Led Zeppelin, and the three-chord crunch of AC/DC, while adding touches of post-punk goth rock, the Cult gained a dedicated following in their native Britain with mid-'80s singles like "She Sells Sanctuary" before breaking into the American metal market in the late '80s with "Love Removal Machine."Though they managed one Top Ten in America with 1989's Sonic ...read more

Following a succession of name and stylistic changes, the Cult emerged in 1984 as one of England's leading heavy metal revivalists.Picking up the pseudo-mysticism and Native American obsessions of the Doors, the guitar-orchestrations of Led Zeppelin, and the three-chord crunch of AC/DC, while adding touches of post-punk goth rock, the Cult gained a dedicated following in their native Britain with mid-'80s singles like "She Sells Sanctuary" before breaking into the American metal market in the late '80s with "Love Removal Machine."Though they managed one Top Ten in America with 1989's Sonic Temple, the Cult were plagued with off-stage tensions and problems thatprevented them from retaining their popularity. The band split in 1995 following a pair of unsuccessful records, but returned on anoccasional basis for new records -- always anchored by vocalist Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy.

The origins of the Cult lie in the Southern Death Cult, a goth rock outfit formed by vocalist Ian Astbury (born May 14, 1962) in 1981.Astbury was the son of a merchant navy man, which meant he moved frequently during his youth; at one point in his childhood, his familylived in Canada, where the young Astbury became fascinated with Native Americans, which would become a recurring theme in hissongwriting. Astbury eventually settled in Bradford, Yorkshire, where he met a group comprised of David Burrows (guitar), Barry Jepson(bass), and Haq Quereshi (drums). Ian joined the group as its lead vocalist (performing with the last name of "Lindsay," which was hismother's maiden name) and had the group renamed the Southern Death Cult. At only its fifth concert, the band was attracting audiences of2,000. In December 1982, the Southern Death Cult released their first single -- the double A-side "Moya"/"Fatman" -- and the followingmonth, they supported Bauhaus on tour. Though the group's future was looking bright, Astbury pulled the plug on the band because he wasfrustrated with the positive articles he was receiving in the press. The remaining three members joined Getting the Fear, which eventuallybecame Into a Circle; in the late '80s, Quereshi became a member of Fun^Da^Mental. All of the Southern Death Cult recordings wereeventually released in 1986.

Following the disbandment of the Southern Death Cult, Astbury shortened the name of the group to Death Cult and recruited guitarist BillyDuffy -- who had previously played with Morrissey in the pre-Smiths band the Nosebleeds, as well as Theatre of Hate -- and drummer RayMondo and bassist Jamie Stewart, who had previously played with Ritual. Death Cult released an eponymous EP in the summer of 1983; onthe EP, Astbury reverted back to his given name. Later in the year, Mondo was replaced by Nigel Preston, who had previously played withDuffy in Theatre of Hate; coincidentally, Mondo became the drummer for Preston's previous band, Sex Gang Children.

In early 1984, the bandmembers decided to excise "Death" from the title, fearing that the word gave them the misleading appearance ofbeing a goth band. Where both Southern Death Cult and Death Cult had been overtly influenced by post-punk, the Cult were a heavy hardrock band with slight psychedelic flourishes. Dreamtime, the group's first album, was released in the fall of 1984, accompanied by the single"Spiritwalker." Dreamtime reached number 21 on the U.K. charts. In the spring of 1985, Preston left the group. For the group's summersingle, "She Sells Sanctuary," the band was joined by Big Country's drummer, Mark Brzezicki. "She Sells Sanctuary" became a major U.K.hit, peaking at number 15. During the recording of the group's second album, drummer Les Warner joined the group. Love, released in the fallof 1985, continued the hard rock direction of its teaser single and became a number four hit in Britain.

For their third album, the Cult shuffled their lineup -- Stewart moved to rhythm guitar, while former Zodiac Mindwarp bassist Kid Chaosjoined the lineup -- and hired Rick Rubin as producer, and the result, Electric, was their hardest, heaviest record to date. The first singlefrom the album, "Love Removal Machine," became a number 18 hit in the spring of 1987, while the album itself reached number four in theU.K. upon its April release. Later that year, Electric gained the Cult a fan base in America, and the album cracked the U.S. Top 40.

In 1988, the group fired Chaos and Warner, replacing the latter with Matt Sorum; the band failed to hire another bassist. The new lineupreleased Sonic Temple, which would prove to be the band's most successful album. The hit single "Fire Woman" helped propel the album intothe American Top Ten, and within no time the Cult were seen hanging out with the likes of Mötley Crüe and Aerosmith, as well as supportingMetallica on the Damaged Justice tour. Though the group was experiencing its best sales, it was fraying behind the scenes, due to infightingand substance abuse. By the time they recorded their follow-up to Sonic Temple, Sorum had left to join Guns N' Roses and Stewart had quit;they were replaced by drummer Mickey Curry and bassist Charlie Drayton. The resulting album, Ceremony, was released in the fall of 1991to weak reviews and disappointing sales.

Following the release of Ceremony, the group took a break for the next three years. In 1993, the band released the U.K.-only hitscompilation Pure Cult, which debuted at number one. By summer 1993, the Cult had a new rhythm section, featuring former Mission bassistCraig Adams and drummer Scott Garrett. This lineup recorded The Cult, which was released in late 1994 to poor reviews and sales. Inspring 1995, the Cult disbanded, with Ian Astbury forming the Holy Barbarians later in the year. Billy Duffy briefly played with Miles Hunt'sVent 414 before leaving to pursue a solo project. In 2000, the band's catalog was remastered and reissued, and Pure Cult was released inthe U.S. (despite a similar compilation, High Octane Cult, having appeared four years earlier). It was followed by Rare Cult, a six-disc boxset of rarities.

A new Cult with Matt Sorum and Martyn LeNoble joining Astbury and Duffy made their debut in June 1999 at the Tibetan Freedom Festival.This band produced the 2001 album Beyond Good and Evil before the Cult were retired again, as Astbury joined former Doors membersRobbie Krieger and Ray Manzarek in the Doors of the 21st Century (later renamed Riders on the Storm). In 2007, it was announced thatAstbury had left the band to rejoin Duffy in a new version of the Cult, with Chris Wyse on bass and John Tempesta on drums. They signed toRoadrunner and released Born into This in 2008, which they promoted over the next few years on their highly publicized Love Live tour. Theyreturned to the studio in 2011 after inking a deal with Cooking Vinyl Records and released their ninth studio album, Choice of Weapon, thefollowing year. « hide

Similar Bands: Extreme, AC/DC, The Mission, Danzig, The Sisters of Mercy

LPs
Hidden City
2016

3.6
29 Votes
Choice of Weapon
05/22/2012

3.8
54 Votes
Born Into This
2007

3.1
40 Votes
Beyond Good and Evil
2001

3.5
62 Votes
The Cult
1994

3.4
51 Votes
Ceremony
1991

3.3
59 Votes
Sonic Temple
1989

4
141 Votes
Electric
1987

4
138 Votes
Love
1985

4.1
174 Votes
Dreamtime
1984

3.6
53 Votes
Compilations
The Best of Rare Cult
2000

3.7
10 Votes
Pure Cult
2000

4.3
19 Votes
High Octane Cult
1996

4.1
6 Votes

Contributors: discovolante, rockandmetaljunkie, bigdctherock, HenchmanOfSanta, tom79, Alex101, Voivod, ThomasTheCure,

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