the arkive

Death Cult

Death Cult formed in 1983 when Ian Astbury (formerly of Southern Death Cult) and Billy Duffy (formerly of Theatre of Hate) joined forces after meeting each other when Southern Death Cult supported Theatre of Hate on a number of dates during the latter’s tour. By June 1983, the group had written 10 songs, four of which would be recorded for their debut EP.

Two of the songs delved into Astbury’s respect and fascination with the Native American cultures previously explored during his tenure with Southern Death Cult. “Ghost Dance” was inspired by the Ghost Dance religious movement as well as the writings and teachings of spiritual leader Wovoka, whose name is mentioned in the lyrics (“Wovoka had a vision”…), while the lyrics to “Horse Nation” were taken nearly verbatim from the book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

Astbury and Duffy’s interest in the Vietnam War was also in evidence, both in the photograph that appeared on the picture sleeve, as well as the lyrical content of the final track, “Christians”, which directly referenced the war and featured lyrics referring to the Chiêu Hồi program and the tiger stripe camouflage pattern worn by United States infantrymen. At the time, certain groups within the British post punk subculture developed a “trendy” fascination with the Vietnam War that spilled over into dress and music.

In 1983 the band released a self-titled EP on Situation Two.
In 1988 a cd version was released by Beggars Banquet which contained the EP plus the “God’s Zoo” single.
In 1996, the cd was remastered and reissued by Beggars Banquet and titled “Ghost Dance”

  • Death Cult