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Album Review

Ian Astbury's long-delayed solo debut shifts the focus from metal to the kind of ragged industrial trip-hop heard on the Cult's 1992 single "The Witch" (a new version of which is also included here). Spirit/Light/Speed is probably indistinguishable from what a Cult album would've sounded like circa 2000: rough and earthy, full of the mystic lyrics and extroverted performances that Astbury's been doing since early in the Cult's career. Chris Goss is an able stand-in for the Cult's Billy Duffy on the production and guitar-playing side, though it's clear that Duffy's distinctive songwriting skills could've come in handy. Though this is a solo album only a fan could really love, Astbury's transcendent voice — one of the best of any British band during the '80s — makes highlights out of a few songs here, including the ballad "Tonight (Illuminated)."


Born: 14 May 1962 in Heswall, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Best known as the longtime frontman for the Cult, singer Ian Astbury was born on May 14, 1962 in Merseyside, England. The son of a career merchant naval officer, he led a peripatetic childhood, finally settling in the Yorkshire area in 1981; there Astbury formed the goth-rock outfit the Southern Death Cult, which following a series of roster shifts and name truncations emerged as simply the Cult in 1984. Also featuring guitarist Billy Duffy, the band's darkly-psychedlic hard rock approach found favor...
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Spirit\Light\Speed, Ian Astbury
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