Impact Album: The Cult-Sonic Temple (1989)


1989 rolls around and The Cult featuring Ian Astbury, Billy Duffy, and Jamie Stewart along with Bob Rock at the control center unleashed one of the best sounding hard rock albums that in 2021 still sounds supreme!

Crazy to think Sonic Temple is 32 years old. Where does the time fly?

Once again this past Christmas I was gifted with “Sonic Temple” on vinyl which is spread out nicely over two double records that even has some bonus material on them.

This album kicks serious ass from the get go. Opener “Sun King” kicks the party off and the sound is massive. Cheers to Bob Rock and Mike Fraser for dialling it in sonically  on this album.

“Fire Woman” has that great opening Duffy street rock riff and the song lifts off from there.  Astbury was in his element here as I can still visual him in the video for this track digging his heals in at becoming that Arena Rock Guy which he dug for a time I’m sure before not too long after he kinda didn’t dig it.

Maybe I’m wrong here but either way the song still sounds good today on local crap radio. 

“Sonic Temple” fuses some huge Zep like rock on tracks like “Soul Asylum” while others like “New York City” is one of those hard driving balls out rock tracks that will smack you you around like if Iggy Pop was doing the smacking! (See what I did there?). Mickey Curry from Bryan Adams band handled the drums on this record and keeps The Cult on track.

“Sweet Soul Sister” with that cool driving bass line courtesy of Jamie Stewart is another bonafide hit. How about that chorus and guitar solo from Billy Duffy.

With it being 1989 sure there would be a ballad included which is “Edie (Ciao Baby)”. For all the sap power ballads that we’re racing up the charts back than “Edie” was a different kind of tune one in which I like and maybe that is because of WolfChilds vocals or the fact that tune ramps up. 

The rest of this album is killer. It’s all a brilliantly written heavy rock record and what better way than to end the sonic assault than all us of hoping on the “Medicine Train”!


Thats the great thing about Duffy/Astbury and Stewart back than as they didn’t follow the cheese rock formula. Instead they forged their own path sonically and this album delivers that in spades.

Check out Mike Lebrain on Youtube as a few weeks back we chatted with Mike Fraser who told us some great stories about working with these guy’s in the studio.




61 thoughts on “Impact Album: The Cult-Sonic Temple (1989)”

  1. Great review Deke. I have been listening to Love, Electric and Sonic Temple list crazy over the last few months thanks to the fact March will have a 12″ single from The Cult almost every week (at least 4 in a row). I love all three, but there is something special about this one. I don’t think I appreciated them as much as I do now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Pal. They are a band I have followed hard core since 1987. But those three that you mentioned are a pretty good launch to a career wouldn’t you say? I still need to get Love on vinyl. Been slowly getting there stuff on record.
      Hopefully they put out something this year as there last few have been very good as well.
      Just a great band.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Loved this write up. He is a one that Wolfchild. I went nuts for this record when it came out. I still think Fire Woman is NME of the most perfect heavy rock singles of al time. I’m so in love with that acoustic take on Ciao Baby too. What a beautiful repress edition you have there

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Huge impact album for me. Got it for my 17th birthday. My first Cult. And Mikey Fraser sure did dial it in with Bob Rock. The sound was criticised later on as too big and hollow, but they made a record that was 100% suited to its times if not slightly ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great write up, man. Like you say, this album is excellent… definitely one that puts a band right out there on the map. Electric just edges it for me, though… I guess cause that was the impact album for me.

    The Cult are helluva consistent, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Check this one out Max. It is chock full of bombastic rock! The one before ST ‘Electric’ is a blast of AC/DC rock.
      Such a killer band. Edie is the quietest track off the album. lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I sure will…I will have some time! We are getting 2-5 inches of snow per the weather channel…for Nashville that is “buy all the bread and eggs” you can weather. I still have to work but no drive time! I will check it out!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Wow. But if it’s something your not used to I could see panic coming in. Before Xmas we got 32 inches of snow over two days and it was business as usual. Bread and eggs were still stocked lol

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Wow!!! I would love that much snow!!!! The most I’ve ever seen here is 8 inches…and that was in the 70s. People here are foolish…the worse is an ice storm…that is when it gets serious…no driving and no electricity.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. good review on last of a trilogy of fine albums from those honorary Canadians (seemed like with Asbury once living in Canada and all the recording they did there they were more Canuck than some of the acts which qualified for “Cancon”) ..’Love’ ‘Electric’ then this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dave. That is indeed a fine 3 -pack of Cult records right there that’s for sure. Ian has never hidden from his Hamilton roots which I always respected him for.


      1. No, just my old battered copy. Was it worth it? I’m always very wary about demos etc – there’s usually a reason why stuff wasn’t released at the time.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Its neat to have actually it was a full recorded version of the album that they canned and recorded Electric.
        Peace Dog sounds totally different. But it’s cool to have that battered copy for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.