Diabolus is another of those unusual bands that, like Nektar, were English but released their only album in Germany. Although their 1972 self-titled debut (also listed as High Tones) was released on the Bellaphon label, it would have fit in perfectly on Neon (Raw Material, Tonton Macoute, Dawn (Jonsey, Gravy Train), Vertigo (Catapilla, Cressida) or Deram (Room, et. al). In fact, if you were to take the best elements of each of those bands, plus a little bit of Aquila (1970) and Hannibal (1970), you pretty much have this little masterpiece.
Instrumentation is led by a pair of brothers, John and Anthony Hadfield, on guitar, bass and vocals. Phillip Howard broadens their sound by providing not only keyboards but also flute and sax (lots of flute and sax). The quartet is rounded out by an impressive drummer, Ellwood Von Seibold, who treats us with a brief drum solo at the end of one of their best numbers, a cool free form jazzy jam called Spontenuity. It goes on for just long enough to appreciate his talents, but not so long that we reach for the “next track” button.
Diabolus style is a perfect blend of electric psych inflenced folk with a load of jazz rock. That gives their songs something of an energy and tension, even in the gentle ballads, because you know that they could break out in a spirited riff at any moment. And when they do, they are are at their best. The dueling between guitar (often switching from rock to jazz technique) and flute is just brilliant. Their ability to play tight start/stop and shift effortlessly through time signatures sets them apart from many of their peers.
by Bob Netherton
1. Lonely Days (John Hadfield) - 7:22
2. Night Clouded Moon (Traditional Arr. By John Hadfield) - 5:49
3. 1002 Nights (Anthony Hadfied, Ellwood Von Seibold, John Hadfield, Philip Howard) - 4:51
4. 3 Piece Suite (Anthony Hadfied, Ellwood Von Seibold, John Hadfield, Philip Howard) - 7:11
5. Lady Of The Moon (Anthony Hadfied, Ellwood Von Seibold, John Hadfield, Philip Howard) - 4:00
6. Laura Sleeping (John Hadfield, Poem by Charles Cotton) - 6:11
7. Spontenuity (Anthony Hadfied, Ellwood Von Seibold, John Hadfield, Philip Howard) - 6:27
8. Raven's Call (Anthony Hadfied, Ellwood Von Seibold, John Hadfield, Philip Howard) - 6:22
*John Hadfield - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Anthony Hadfied - Bass, Vocals
*Philip Howard - Flute, Keyboards, Saxophone, Organ, Piano
*Ellwood Von Seibold - Drums
the Free Text