Death Cult includes: Ian Astbury (vocals); Billy Duffy (guitar).
Years before the Cult were posturing in large arenas, playing bluesy power chords to metalmaniacs, they were creating some fine and sensitive music as the Death Cult. Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy's earlier output, presented on GHOST DANCE, attests to the artistic promise that characterized the Cult's first few albums, but which disappeared in a mess of machismo during the band's later efforts.
The signature Cult themes of misanthropy, disillusionment, and an obsession with tribal and Native American subject matter abound here, as they would throughout the band's body of work, but the arrangements on GHOST DANCE are daringly sparse and sometimes delicate. While there's a wild despair in Astbury's voice, and a frenetic nervousness in Duffy's guitar licks, there's still room for introspection between the notes. GHOST DANCE is influenced more by Goth acts such as Bauhaus than by the '70s heavy metal that tints later Cult recordings. The overwhelming metal excess that surfaces in later Cult albums is absent; instead, GHOST DANCE is a collection of elegant and delicate simplicity.
Q (11/96, pp.157-158) - 3 Stars (out of 5) - "...As Death Cult...[Ian] Astbury's wailing vision took more arresting, graphic shape..."