The Cult are an English rock band that gained a dedicated following in their native Britain with mid-80s singles such as "She Sells Sanctuary" before breaking into the American metal market in the late-80s with songs such as "Love Removal Machine". Known for having "firmly set its sights on neo-metal godhood", the band fuses a heavy revivalist sound with "the pseudo-mysticism" 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" in the words of critics. Since their earliest form in Bradford during 1981, the band has had various line-ups, but the longest serving band members are vocalist Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy, both of whom are the band's songwriters.
Perhaps best known today for the hit arena rock singles "Fire Woman" and "Sun King" as well as the smooth, dark post-punk song "She Sells Sanctuary", the group's origins go back to an outfit by the name of Southern Death Cult, a 1981 project of vocalist Ian Astbury (born May 14, 1962). Exploring the boundaries of alternative post-punk music, Astbury drew major influence from the culture and beliefs of Native Americans based on his time living in Canada in his youth, and this sense of earthy spirituality and mysticism influenced much of his music. The fledgling group, featuring Astbury alongside David Burrows (guitar), Barry Jepson (bass), and Haq Quereshi (drums), became an underground sensation and even released a dual-sided single in December 1982.
Still, Astbury found fault with the band's musical direction, and he floated around various other outfits for a while, including a project titled Death Cult. Inspired by American hard rock and aggressive psychedelia, he devised a group titled simply the Cult that would distance itself from the more gloomy and goth rock cultural scenes of his previous groups. Soon after the Cult's birth in early 1984, it stuck a chord with British audiences, particularly the combo of Astbury and guitarist / songwriter Billy Duffy.
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