THE CULT – Dreamtime [Japan reissue remastered] *HQ*

THE CULT - Dreamtime [Japan reissue remastered] *HQ* - full

Before the American mainstream of ‘Electric’ and ‘Sonic Temple’, there was other THE CULT. As requested, here’s the overlooked debut of the British band under this moniker (previously known as Death Cult), ”Dreamtime”, in the Japanese remastered CD reissue now sold out.
If you only know The Cult since ‘Electric’, there’s a new sound to discover with 1984’s ”Dreamtime”. For many, this is the best Cult ever. At the time Ian Astbury howled his lyrics in a unique way, guitarist Duffy created swirling, serpentine guitar lines unlike anyone else’s, Nigel Preston‘s (or rumored to be original producer Joe Julian‘s) tom-heavy drumming was innovative and outside the traditional rock framework, and Jamie Stewart still had enough room in the mix to add interesting, funky textures on bass.
All the pieces fit so perfectly on ”Dreamtime” that perhaps Astbury and Duffy had few options but to start removing and replacing them with each following albums – just to reach wider audiences and become platinum sellers. Of course, ‘Electric’ and ‘Sonic Temple’ are terrific hard rocking albums, but ”Dreamtime” is really unique in its own terms, musically a glimpse from what was to come.

Duffy’s dramatic, dark guitar riffs and Astbury’s passionate semi-wailing set the tone from the start with ”Horse Nation” and throughout, while the rhythm section keeps the tribal/goth feeling running equally high. Indeed, goth is still stalking the band’s efforts whether the members liked it or not: consider “83rd Dream” and its distinctly creeped-out introduction, Astbury’s vocals fed through extra effects.
If there’s not as much in the way of blunt power chording as later, ”Dreamtime” is still loaded with a variety of moody, energetic joys. “Spiritwalker” is especially fantastic, Preston’s rolling drums and Duffy’s epic, crystalline guitar not that far off from what U2 was going after, but (arguably) with even more appeal. Add in Astbury’s explosive singing, and it’s a definite treat through and through.

Other strong numbers include the title effort, which may reference the native Australian concept of time, but is more about wearing long hair and tripping on the shamanic vibes, and the who-else-but-the-Cult invocations of mythic America in “Go West”, “A Flower in the Desert”, and previously on opener “Horse Nation”.
“Gimmick” has soaring vocals with stabbing guitars, coupled with a fast beat that gets the heart racing. The Cult are also known for their slower, darker, macabre side, especially in the firs thalf of the ’80s. “Bad Medicine Waltz” and “Butterflies” certainly cover that.
”Dreamtime” sounds like an angry young band unwilling to compromise.

Yet tracks like “Go West” had tremendous commercial potential – memorable, punchy melodies and Astbury singing with all the panache he can muster. “A Flower in the Desert” could be called a ballad if you like. A dour, dusky one. An impactful “Rider in the Snow” has some excellent guitar shimmer.

After first listen, you found that there is not one weak track on this album. The songs are more challenging and not as instantaneous as on the following LP’s, but when Astbury’s one-of-a-kind vocals mix with Duffy’s angular guitars, it sounds like The Cult. Period.
From aggressive rock songs to mournful dirges like “Bad Medicine Waltz”, this album has a bit of everything that The Cult would later become, in embryonic form.

Compared to the quiet and slightly muddy master of the original CD edition, this remaster brings out the sparkling sheen of Duffy’s guitar while giving the rhythm section extra punch.
Sure, The Cult would experience bigger success as the decade progressed, but ”Dreamtime” remains one of their most unique albums.
Highly Recommended



01 – Horse Nation
02 – Spiritwalker
03 – 83rd Dream
04 – Butterflies
05 – Go West
06 – Gimmick
07 – A Flower In The Desert
08 – Dreamtime
09 – Rider In The Snow
10 – Bad Medicine Waltz

Ian Astbury – vocals
Billy Duffy – guitar
Jamie Stewart – bass, backing vocals
Nigel Preston – drums, percussion


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1 Response

  1. melodified says:

    Classic album. Great sound! That’s a great remaster. Super thanks!

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