The Cult are a British rock band formed in 1983. Before settling on their current moniker in January 1984, the band performed under the names Southern Death Cult and Death Cult. They gained a dedicated following in the UK 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". 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 their earliest form in Bradford during 1981, the band have had various line-ups; the longest-serving members are vocalist Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy, the band's two songwriters.
After moving to London, the band released the album Love in 1985, which charted at No. 4 in the UK, and which included singles such as "She Sells Sanctuary" and "Rain". In the late 1980s, the band supplemented their post-punk sound with hard rock in their third album, Electric; the polish on this new sound was facilitated by Rick Rubin, who produced the record. Their fourth album, Sonic Temple, proceeded in a similar vein, and these two albums enabled them to break into the North American market.
By the early 1990s, the band were fraying behind the scenes, due to alcohol abuse and off-stage tensions, leading to a break-up in 1995. The band reunited in 1999 and recorded the album Beyond Good and Evil, and they reissued all of their albums in Asia and Eastern Europe in 2003 and Japan in 2004. In 2006, the band reformed again to perform a series of worldwide tours. In October 2007, the band released the album Born into This, on the Roadrunner Records label.
In July 2009, Astbury announced that the Cult would not record or produce any more studio albums, focusing on EPs and digital releases instead for new material, though he subsequently changed his mind and declared that there would be another album in the near future. The band have since released two more studio albums: Choice of Weapon (2012) and Hidden City (2016).