NWOBHM WEDNESDAY: INCUBUS
This cult British band should not to be confused with either the rock band Incubus or the five or so other bands known as Incubus. Rather what we have here is a short-lived NWOBHM band that managed a 5 Way Split album on Guardian with fellow NWOBHM bands Millennium, Spartan Warrior, Risk and Tokyo Rose ("Pure Overkill") and their one odd album, " To the Devil a Daughter". What makes the album so odd? Well, first things first. Let's take a quick look at the band. Despite what the picture above might imply this Incubus was a four-piece act that was formed in 1980. The band was made up of what one might reasonably assume was three brothers and a friend/cousin? Dave Crawford handled vocals and guitars while his brother Ken played guitar and his other brother Steve played drums. Colin Evans rounded out the group on bass. Maybe three brothers in one band might not be all that unique. That said for whatever reason the band choose the occult name Incubus and adopted this satanic/witchcraft image. Not the best recipe for success in the days of NWOBHM. And while the band might have found some common ground with groups like Demon, Satan, Witchfinder General, Venom and Witchfynde thanks to the sinister edge there was the sound to deal with. The two songs from the Pure Overkill split ("Ain't Runnin' For You" and "Caught Red Handed") were melodic metal and showcased a rising band full of promise. No doubt a lot of people were thrown off then when "To The Devil A Daughter" dropped. Here the band's sound owes more than a little bit to Blue Oyster Cult although there is still some melodic NWOBHM to be found on cuts like "Life Beyond The Grave" and the "what were you thinking with that title folks as it is not an AC/DC cover!" track "Highway To Hell". There are times when Incubus sounds like Demon or Dark Heart and you really take notice of what these guys were aiming for. Other times thought the album just seems odd and misplaced. Likely the band couldn't settle on a sound and just tried their hand at whatever they could come up with. When the band's record label ran into trouble it looks as if that signaled the end for the band. There was talk of a second album in the works although if it would have been as bizarre as their first album I doubt they would have made much more after that. "To The Devil A Daughter" is an album I like (I just picked up the re-release with bonus "Pure Overkill" cuts) but even I agree that the mash-up of styles can be frustrating.
Metal Mark says-
This is a slightly one. The title implies a satanic leaning, but the music is melodic metal with a definite nod to the 1970's. However the album title is also a 1976 Hammer film so their devil influences may be by way of horror films instead of straight from the hellish inferno. These guys are more about melodies and textures than the the straight, raw riffs that made up the sound of other bands from the scene like Raven and Saxon. Their style is a little closer to the more structured sound of Diamond Head and Dark Heart, but not nearly as even or focused. I hear some Thin Lizzy at times only smoother in their music too. "To the devil a daughter" is uneven at times. What I liked about were the amount of ideas and the strong mix of melodic and heavy parts. The music doesn't go with the lyrics so much, but back then maybe the two didn't always have to go hand in hand. It's a shame they didn't do a second album. I definitely would have liked to have heard that to see if they settled on a more definite direction or if they just kept doing the different songs thrown together in a package. Definitely worth hearing and despite it's faults it still holds up very well.