Akarma Vinyl Reissue 2005
Diabolus were a three-quarters British outfit who hawked their prog-rock manifesto up and down the autobahns of West Germany after being unable to secure a contract in their homeland.
John Hadfield (lead guitar / vocals), his brother Anthony (bass / vocals), Philip Howard (keyboards, wind instruments and vocals) and drummer Ellwood Von Seibold released their lone self-titler on Bellaphon Records, which was recorded at London's ‘Sound Technique Studios' in 1971 and boasted production by the legendary Shel Talmy (another candidate for a long-overdue biography). Diabolus, a name perhaps culled from an obscure horror flick, is a word which should cast up all manner of diabolic/infernal practices, but the band photos and cover designs (60s boutique-style typeface above a red planetscape) suggests a penchant for the mysterioso (see ‘Raven's Call' and ‘Lady of the Moon') that is far removed from crucifix-toting outfits such as Sabbaff, Black Widow and America's Coven.
Almost all (more on the odd song out later) of the eight self-penned numbers come close stylistically to a late period Steamhammer, yet one who voraciously devour Edgar Allan Poe and M.R. James between gigs. In fact, the Steamhammer comparisons are very evident in ‘Laura Sleeping' where the spiky extended guitar solo is very Martin Pugh-like in construction. And, as with th' mighty Hammer, there is.... Flute! [never mind, Steve - have a nice cup of tea and a lie-down and it'll all be over soon. Ed.] This is more of a threat on Side One, but has led to certain mail order lists and sourcebooks labelling the quartet as "Tull-like". The only track that fits that description is ‘Night Clouded Moon', which is the nearest thing to ‘living In The Past' you will ever (want to) hear.