The Cult are a British rock band formed in 1983. Before settling on their current name in January 1984, the band performed under the name Death Cult, which was an evolution of the name of lead singer Ian Astbury’s previous band Southern Death Cult. They gained a dedicated following in the United Kingdom in the mid-1980s as a post-punk/gothic rock band, with singles such as “She Sells Sanctuary”, before breaking mainstream in the United States in the late 1980s as a hard rock band with singles such as “Love Removal Machine” and “Fire Woman”. According to music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine, the band fuse a “heavy metal revivalist” sound with the “pseudo-mysticism … of the Doors [and] the guitar-orchestrations of Led Zeppelin … while adding touches of post-punk goth rock”. Since the initial formation of Southern Death Cult in Bradford in 1981, the band have had various line-ups; the longest-serving members are Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy, the band’s two songwriters.
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