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Pure Cult
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2007
THE BAND: Ian Astbury (vocals) and Billy Duffy (guitars) are/were the main members of The Cult. They've had a host of others helping in the way of other guitarists, keyboardists, bassists, and drummers.... mainly Jaime Stewart (guitar, bass), James Stevenson (guitar), Bob Rock (guitar, keyboards), John Sinclair (keyboards), Ritchie Zito (keyboards), John Webster (keyboards), Kinley Wolfe (bass), Craig Adams (bass), Charley Drayton (bass), Nigel Preston (drums), Matt Sorum (drums), Scott Garrett (drums), Michael Lee (drums), and Mickey Curry (drums).

THE DISC: (2000) 19 tracks clocking in at approximately 77 minutes. Included with the disc is a 14-page booklet containing a 6-page intro to the band and their albums, song titles/credits (no lyrics), band photos, what songs came from which albums and the year released. The songs here follow the band from 1984-1995 (as the title states). Remastered sound. Label - Beggars Banquet.

ALBUM REPRESENTATION: Dreamtime (2 songs), Love (3), Electric (3), Sonic Temple (4), Ceremony (2), The Cult (2), Unreleased (3).

COMMENTS: Still trying to figure out why The Cult has 2 differently named compilations with only 1 song being the difference between the two (this disc, and 1996's "High Octane Cult")... the two songs "Go West" (from "The Singles" album) and "Beauty's On The Street" (from "High Octane") are both simply unimportant songs. The music on "The Singles" is digitally remastered so if I'm standing in the music store with both in hand, I'll choose this one. I read decades ago that Astbury and Duffy were difficult to get along with... perhaps this is why they couldn't get 2-3 additional members to stay on a more permanent basis... seems like every album there was different personnel on supporting instruments (bass/keyboards/drums). With that being said, Astbury and Duffy wrote some great music. Covering several spectrums - rock, hard rock (some classified as metal, but I'll call it borderline metal), punk, psychedelic, and alternative. The studio albums were up and down... often times mixing some wonderful melodies, hard rocking songs, and a few oddballs that were just plain weird (and some annoying). Astbury's distinctive vocals was the first thing that hooked me in. Duffy's guitar licks were simple, but catchy (he's no Satriani, Malsteen, or Vai). As far as this compilation goes, the songs chosen are dead on accurate... I couldn't have picked them better myself. The staples are all here - including "She Sells Sanctuary", "Fire Woman", "Love Removal Machine", "Sweet Soul Sister", "Lil' Devil", "Edie (Ciao Baby)", etc. The tracks from "Dreamtime" (1984) and "Love" (1985) are very 80's in style (they could easily be inserted to any number of John Huges' movies..."16 Candles", "Breakfast Club", "Pretty In Pink"... almost Duran Duran or Haircut 100 in flavor. The later 80's and into the 90's saw The Cult in hard rock form. Even though "Sonic Temple" was the band's most commercially successful release (featuring 4 decent hits), "Electric" was always my favorite of theirs due to the break-through songs "Love Removal machine", "Lil' Devil" and "Wild Flower". The Cult always had their own sound, but if I had to put them into a category... they'd be in with the likes of Billy Idol, The Pretenders, and the Clash. With so many band member changes, each album had a slightly different feel to it... to me, this was intriguing aspect of The Cult's sound and their albums. Some great tunes here from an underrated British band. "The Singles 1984-95" is a great intro to Astbury and Duffy's "Cult" (5 stars).
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
The Cult are an overlooked rock band that produced some great music from the mid 80's to early 90's. They only had one top ten album, Sonic Temple, and no hit singles in the States. Their music always reminds of the Doors with a harder edge. "She Sells Sanctuary" is a truly great song and makes this disk worth buying by itself. Other stand out tracks include "Fire Woman", "Love Removal Machine", "Rain" & "Edie (Ciao Baby)". There are few cuts from their later 90's albums that could have been cut out, but one can't really complain when you get 19 songs on album.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 12, 2006
"Pure Cult: The Singles 1984-1995" is a collection of singles by the Cult during the band's initial lifetime, stretching from the band's early days as psychedelic goths through the band's hard rock days and their eventual fade. The Cult seemed to have a knack for picking fantastic material for singles and this overview will provide most casual fans with pretty much eveything they need. For the more diehard types, there's a trio of single-only releases on this album that deserve attention.

The Cult rose from from the ashes of the Southern Death Cult-- a goth band in the early '80s featuring vocalist Ian Astbury that split up after issuing only one single (it along with other studio and live material available has been released under the title "Southern Death Cult"). Astbury, a singer of enormous presence, had reportedly grown bored with the goth style and formed a new band with Theatre of Hate guitarist Billy Duffy. The new project was called the Death Cult and after issuing an EP and a single (collected as "Ghost Dance"), shortened their name to The Cult, which is where this set picks up.

This collection nicely tracks the band's history, from their early days as psychedelic post-goths ("Spiritwalker", "She Sells Sanctuary") to the stripped back hard rock of "Electric" ("Lil' Devil", "Love Removal Machine"), the overarrangements of "Sonic Temple" ("Fire Woman", "Sweet Soul Sister") and "Ceremony" ("Heart of Soul") and the inspired sounds of the band's eponymous final album before breaking up ("Star", "Coming Down"). Put simply, it's about everything anyone knows by the band. If you're not too familiar with the Cult, this is a superb place to start, and if you are, you'll want it for "The Witch", "In the Clouds" and "Resurrection Joe"-- the former two are among the best of the Cult's later material. Highly recommended.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2000
This CD brings back a lot of memories, the Cult is one of those bands who blends material from other bands exceptionally well, while sounding completely original in the process. Most of the time they're combining AC/DC and Led Zepplin, sometimes shamelessly, fortunately none of that is apparent on this CD.
She Sells Sanctuary still sounds as fresh as it did when it debuted in 1985 (heard the Nissan Sentra commercial?), Edie (Ciao Baby) was the first heavy metal tune to use an orchestra, and Fire Woman put them on the map. Talk about an album to drive to!
This collection is sure to get you going from start to finish, it's great fun! Enjoy...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2001
I bought this CD years ago, and the version I have is from 1984-93. The Cult are one of my all-time fav bands, and 2 years after I started getting into the band, they decided to call it quits in 95, but they are since back. The first time I heard Wildflower all those years ago changed my whole taste in music, and this CD was my first introduction to the band, I've since gone back and got nearly their whole collection. But why is this CD worth the buy?? It has the killer tracks 'Firewoman', 'Wild-Hearted Son', and 'Wildflower.' Cult are kind of AC/DC but with more meaningful lyrics and Astbury has an awesome voice and incredible stage presence. Other great songs here are 'Rain' (this song took a while to grow on me, now it's one of my favs) Edie (I also have the acoustic version of this - very powerful) She sells/Lil Devil/Love Removal Machine/Sweet Soul Sister, there is not one bad song on this CD! I also recommend the 'Ceremony' CD!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2000
This album is the best of the best when it comes to "The Cult". If you are a Cult fan, this is one album you must have. This album should be renamed "greatest hits". This is a great album if you want to know what The Cult is all about.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2001
This is a great compilation of The Cult's music. The Only song that is missing here, in my opinion, is Peace Dog from Electric. The Cult has always had their own distinct sound. They are instantly recognizable. Why this is disputed is beyond me, but why break tradition? (For those comparing this band to AC/DC..one word: Keyboards. As for guitar work, on Many songs, Duffy's guitar work sounds more like U2's The Edge - She Sells Sanctuary, Rain, Edie{Caio Baby},Go West, than Angus Young!!)My personal favorites are from Electric, which had an enormous amount of Raw, Gritty, songs. Edie(Caio Baby)from Sonic Temple is a Masterpiece. The sound on the Pure Cult is Excellent. Nice Booklet insert as well.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2007
This CD is simply excellent! You get exactly what you pay for, so you can't possibly complain. Indeed, the title says it all: you get all the singles that you know and love from their albums between 1984 and 1995 AND you also get the singles that were NOT included in their albums, namely "Resurrection Joe" (the 80's version of Bowie's "Aladdin Sane", even going as far as including the same type of dissonant piano in the background), "The Witch" and "In the Clouds", all excellent additions.

If you're a long time fan of The Cult, I think you'll appreciate this compilation because it does include pretty much all songs you'd expect it to have, and the compilation is well made too: with a great song selection, it's hard to go wrong, and this compilation also benefits from a great track sequence, beginning with "She Sells Sanctuary" and ending with "Sweet Soul Sister". It just flows like a breeze!!! And the sound is great as well.

But I think that those looking for an introduction to The Cult are probably the ones that will enjoy this compilation the most: most people who listen to rock are familiar with at least a few songs from the band, such as "She Sells Sanctuary", "Love Removal Machine", "Sweet Soul Sister", "Edie (Ciao Baby)" and/or "Fire Woman". These songs are all here, but in addition to those favorites, you also get a wealth of extra material that is just as strong: "Sun King", "Rain", "Revolution", "Wild Flower", "Heart of Soul" and all the others included here are sure to appeal to those occasional fans that know the band only by its most popular material. My only possible observation/warning (not really a complaint...) is about the "versions" used, meaning the "single edit" thing: if you know The Cult solely by the their singles in rotation in classic rock radio, this point is not gonna be relevant to you at all (since these are the versions that normally receive airplay), but if you're a long time, die hard and finnicky fan...well, I'll leave it up to you to decide...in fairness, it was a compromise: using the radio edits meant that they were able to include ALL the singles, as the title of the compilation accurately states...

The Cult enjoyed a golden age of sorts between the release of "Electric" and the end of the "Sonic Temple" tour, simply because this was their most straight forward period, where their music, their songs, their sound and their albums (and even their image) were reduced to the most basic and this sound hit a home in the US. Before and after, The Cult managed to keep a healthy following in their native UK and other parts of the world, but struggled to keep a strong fan base in the US. This was due to a simple fact: The Cult kept evolving, reshaping their sound and their image (just have a look at their pictures in the booklet!) as their mood took them, and that was extremely difficult for fans to accept. I remember that the first song I ever heard from them was "Love Removal Machine", which I loved, and then the next thing was "Revolution"...I was a bit confused by the abrupt changes, but ultimately the quality of their music was enough to put my doubts to rest.

Many people liken their sound to a "heavy U2", and while I agree that that generalization is as accurate as any generalization can be, it applies to the band's first 2 records, "Dreamtime" and "Love", but definitely NOT to their latter output, such as the Rick Rubin produced "Electric" which harkens back to classic AC/DC, or "Sonic Temple" and some its "Zeppelin meets The Doors" overtones. Some of that early sound came back with "Ceremony" and "The Cult", but for the most part, this band simply shifted its sound every so often, which was good from an artistic point of view, but it probably backfired from a commercial perspective. For instance, right now in 2007, the band is back and in "heavy metal" mode: two guitars, bass, vocals and their heaviest drummer yet (John Tempesta, of Testament/White Zombie fame).

Bottom Line: If you're a Cult diehard, you'll enjoy this because it is very well made. If you are more of an occasional fan familiar with their "hits" and in search for a little more, this is the perfect place to start: having enjoyed their most recognizable tunes, you're sure to like the material included here. You can't go wrong with this purchase, so go ahead, dig in and join The Cult!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2000
This is essentially the same CD as HIGH OCTANE CULT with a different tracking order and different linear notes. However the songs have been remastered and are superior in sound quality. It is a great introduction to THE CULT but contains nothing new for the die hard fan.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2003
When Beggars Banquet Records took over the rereleases of The Cult's albums (yes, I know about the Southern Death Cult and Death Cult rereleases) it only made sense to update 1993's 'Pure Cult' somewhat and kick off the rereleases (of those, 'Dreamtime', 'Love', 'Electric' and 'Sonic Temple' have excellent expanded over the top packaging with interviews, single discographies and pictures or artwork. For some reason, 'Ceremony' and 'The Cult' didn't get the same treatment) in the US. Although some of the edits on here are horrible ("Sweet Soul Sister" - if anyone has noticed, the single edit has always excluded the bridge, whereas the 7 inch edit, as the promo CD says, has the bridge with additional guitar tracks from the LP version as well as the edit to make the bridge shorter - this is the same as the video music), the best edits are that of "Spiritwalker", "Heart Of Soul", "The Witch", "Coming Down" and "Star". All the singles are here and it's an excellent album (they could have left "Revolution" off and put "Nirvana" on instead, personally). My copy has the 'Cult Rising' ticket stub in it, seeing that all they played that tour were the hits and some classic album tracks. This is a great start to The Cult if you haven't heard them or own any other albums.
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