13 Incredible Bands Similar To The Cult 

Written by Dan Farrant

The Cult is among the most popular bands in British rock history. Since 1983, this English rock band, renowned for their fusion of gothic rock and heavy metal, has inspired countless artists.

If you love the band’s dark and moody undertones, then you’ll also enjoy the hits released by other goth rock and heavy metal groups. Thus, prepare yourself as we delve into the rich tapestry of music that captures the essence of The Cult.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to 13 incredible bands similar to The Cult, each with their unique twist on this timeless sound. Ready? Let’s dive in!

The Cult by Ted Van Pelt (CC BY 2.0)

1. The Sisters Of Mercy 

Our first band hails from Leeds, England. The Sisters of Mercy consists of Andrew Eldritch, Ben Christo, and Dylan Smith. This gothic rock band sounds much like The Cult, particularly their earlier music 

Their most renowned works are the albums First And Last And Always in 1985 and Floodland in 1987, which positioned them as a definitive goth rock band.

Despite the band’s frontman, Eldritch, repeatedly disavowing the “goth” label, many consider The Sisters of Mercy as pioneers of the gothic rock genre. Today, the band continues to be active, and their impact is felt across the music industry, with many contemporary artists citing them as a significant influence.

2. Goo Goo Dolls 

Because The Cult gave off post-punk sounds in their early works, the punk rock band Goo Goo Dolls have made the cut on this list. They started as a cover band in 1986 before transitioning to the mainstream with their breakthrough single “Name” in 1995.

They are also best known for their album Dizzy Up the Girl and the hit song “Iris,” which received two Grammy nods (Record of the Year and Pop Performance by a Duo or Group) and has achieved seven-time Platinum status.

In their 30-plus years, their works have earned them several awards. These days, Goo Goo Dolls are still active and have recently released their 13th studio album, Chaos in Bloom.

3. Jane’s Addiction 

American rock band Jane’s Addiction, shares many similarities with The Cult—from their edgy style to mainstream success. Formed in 1985, they’re recognized as one of the most influential and iconic alternative rock bands of the late ’80s and early ’90s.

The first two albums of Jane’s Addiction are the band’s most popular, earning Platinum status each, while their third album, Strays, is their highest charting—at #4 on Billboard 200.

Jane’s Addiction has been nominated for several awards, including one Grammy, one BT Digital Music Award, and one Webby Award, which they won. 

Though their career has been marked with several hiatuses and reformation, Jane’s Addiction is currently active, with a much-awaited album set to be released in 2024.

4. Whitesnake 

Formed in London, England, in 1978, the hard rock band Whitesnake was created as a backing band for lead singer David Coverdale, who had recently left Deep Purple.

Whitesnake has a rich discography with numerous successful albums. However, it was their self-titled album, released in 1987, that brought them global fame. The album spawned several hit singles, including “Here I Go Again” and “Is This Love,” which are still fan favorites today.

Whitesnake has performed several times with The Cult and similar bands like Iron Maiden and Jane’s Addiction. They share a propensity for extended guitar solos and a classic 1980s aesthetic—and they’re both from England!

5. Tesla 

Next up is Tesla, a hard rock band from Sacramento, California. They are similar to The Cult in that they formed in the mid-80s and were heavily influenced by similar artists such as Whitesnake and Metallica.

The band formed in 1984 under the name City Kidd and was later renamed due to a suggestion by one of the band’s managers. They fit well among their hair metal contemporaries, though their music is more somber and severe than most.

Despite their success, due to a perceived lack of support from their label and management in the grunge era, the band members felt they had failed, leading to their breakup in 1996. However, they returned in 2000 with a live tour and album, both named Replugged Live and have since continued to record and tour.

6. Ratt 

A band that shares The Cult’s sound is the metal group Ratt, formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1976. The name Ratt is often considered an acronym for “Rock All The Time,” which perfectly encapsulates their musical philosophy.

One of their most renowned hits is “Round and Round,” which climbed to #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984. This single helped cement the band’s place in glam metal history and remains a fan favorite to this day.

Since their last album in 2010, Ratt has continued to tour and perform live; however, recently, it has been announced that the group is on hiatus. Nevertheless, their legacy is strong in the rock music scene.

7. Theatre Of Hate 

Though not quite as popular as some of the bands on this list, Theatre of Hate’s influence on music was still significant. The British band was formed in 1980, and like The Cult, they meld the sounds of gothic rock and post-punk.

Their early singles topped the charts. “Rebel Without a Brain” appeared in 1981, and “Nero” earned acclaim later that year. But none of their songs were as famous as “Do You Believe in the West World,” which topped the UK Indie Charts.

Despite disbanding in 1982, the band has had periods of activity since then, including a tour in April 2007. Their official Facebook page shows their continued engagement with fans, and there is ongoing interest in their music, showing the enduring appeal of their sound. 

8. The Mission 

Hailing from Leeds, England, The Mission is occasionally called The Mission UK due to a conflict in name with an American R&B band. The Mission originally consisted of members from The Sisters of Mercy: Wayne Hussey and Mick Brown.

The band sounds quite similar to The Cult in that they make hard-core, gothic rock, and post-punk music that is great to mosh to. Their discography consists of 10 studio albums, including the popular God’s Own Medicine and Carved in Sand.

Since their formation in 1986 and an on/off activity, The Mission has managed to maintain a strong presence and loyal fan base. They are currently on their United European Party Tour tour, set to end in October of 2023.

9. Skid Row 

Although Skid Row is also the name of an Irish rock band in the 1960s, that’s not the band we’re referencing here. We’re talking about the American glam metal and post-punk band formed in 1986 Skid Row.

The band initially consisted of bassist Rachel Bolan and guitarist Dave Sabo. They later enlisted vocalist Sebastian Bach, Scotti Hill, and Rob Affuso to complete the group.

Their discography includes several albums, with their first two albums, Skid Row and Slave to the Grind, achieving multi-Platinum status and considerable commercial success.

More recently, Skid Row released the album The Gang’s All Here (2022). This release shows that even after all these years, Skid Row continues to produce music that stays true to their signature heavy/glam metal sound.

10. Dream Theater

Another band sharing similar heavy metal vibes as The Cult is Dream Theater. Formed in 1985 by John Petrucci, John Myung, and Mike Portnoy, they are often cited as one of the leading bands in the progressive metal genre.

Dream Theater’s discography is extensive. One of their most notable songs is “Pull Me Under,” which is often considered the band’s signature track and served as their introduction to the masses.

Still active today, the band has a bustling online presence. Their Facebook page, boasting over 3.6 million likes, serves as a hub for fans to stay updated with the band’s latest news and releases.

11. Simple Minds 

Born in the heart of Glasgow, Scotland, the inception of Simple Minds can be traced back to a punk group called Johnny and the Self-Abusers. In 1979, they took on a new identity, and Simple Minds was born.

Their debut album, Life in a Day, was a significant milestone; however, it wasn’t until the mid-’80s to the early ’90s that Simple Minds achieved global recognition, particularly with the release of the hit single “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”

Simple Minds has won several awards, including the ASCAP Pop Music Awards for the above-mentioned song and the hit “Alive and Kicking.” They also won several Q Awards and the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Song Collection.

12. Fields Of The Nephilim 

From the English gothic rock scene in 1984, Fields of the Nephilim was established in 1984 and made a significant mark on the genre. The name of the band is an intriguing reference to biblical lore, specifically the Nephilim, who were considered hybrids of angels and humans.

Debuting with Dawnrazor in 1987 proved successful for the band. It topped UK’s Independent Chart. Their discography continued to expand with notable tracks such as “Preacher Man,” “Blue Water,” and “Moonchild.” Each song showcased the band’s unique blend of gothic rock, psychedelia, and progressive rock.

However, the band experienced a significant shift in 1991 when frontman Carl McCoy departed. The remaining members formed Rubicon with singer Andy Delaney and released two albums under this new identity.

13. Soundgarden

Ending this list is the Seattle rock band Soundgarden. Formed in 1984, the band is often regarded as one of the founding fathers of grunge. Like The Cult, their sound was characterized by a mix of heavy metal and punk but with a bit of psychedelia.

The band gained major popularity with the release of the 1994 Superunknown, which became their breakout album. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and yielded the Grammy Award-winning singles “Black Hole Sun” and “Spoonman.”

Despite their success, Soundgarden disbanded in 1997 due to tensions within the band. They reunited in 2010 and continued to record and perform until drummer Chris Cornell’s death in 2017.

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like The Cult 

From The Sisters of Mercy to Soundgarden, the bands on this list represent some of the best musical groups in punk-rock history.

With each band sharing many similarities with The Cult, we’re sure you’ll find a sound that works for you.

This list, however, is certainly not complete. Let us know who we have left off, and we’ll add them here for you!

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.