"Fire bright and fire burn
Let my wheel of fortune turn"

Candia Ridley (vocals)
Tony McCormack (guitars)
"Bob" (drums, bass)
Remaining line-up unstable

British pagan-gothic band, based in Gloucester. Formed in 1989 by Ridley, McCormack and one more person who would soon leave. Their first name was Belas Knap which they dropped after a few months to take on the name Incubus Succubus. After the other members of the band left, McCormack and Ridley continued as Children of the Moon until one of the original members rejoined. They released their first album as Incubus Succubus before Inkubus Sukkubus became their permanent name.

Their basic goal is "to be the vehicle in which the celebration of the Pagan experience could be conveyed." Which basically means that they're pagan evangelists. There's one particular song called Pagan Born which I find as annoyingly evangelistic as anything approved of by the Southern Baptist Convention. They're definitely sincere about it and the bulk of their work comes across as much more celebratory than evangelistic--which I'd say is more the pagan way.

Musically it's natural that they resemble McCormack's other outfit, the Screaming Dead, since he's the principal songwriter for both. Heavy on Damned-style keyboards, very melodic compositions and generally speedy. If there's something outstanding about the band though, it's their lyrics. Both Ridley and McCormack have written some positively beautiful pagan anthems and some great vampirical love songs while not neglecting the lighter side of life like in Intercourse With a Vampire and their special "25 years of punk rock" song, Vampire Punk Rockers From Hell.

So why aren't they bigger than they are now? They've got some really catchy songs in an extremely popular "alternative" genre with the matching thematology. They've played alongside The Mission, the Genitorturers and The Damned. They're successful, highly popular, have become headliners in their own right and are in demand for Gothic happenings, which are far from few these days. They ought to be huge.

The problem is two-fold: First, their sound through the years shows a remarkable lack of evolution. They're definitely "samey," though their music is easy to listen to. Still, it's hard to tell their 1993 album from their latest. The best measure for identifying recent works is that their music has become more and more overproduced over time.

The other fault lies with Ridley's singing which for the most part comes across as flat and lacking in passion (I should note here that my esteemed noding colleague morven respectfully begs to differ with my evaluation). Along with McCormack's abuse of keyboards in his arrangements, it gives the band a "pop" sound with an almost Abba-esque quality at times, which is not necessarily a compliment and can be hard to appreciate. Whereas McCormack has a prime gothic vocalist in Sam Bignall with the Screaming Dead, Ridley lacks the vocal qualities that would make her either ethereal or vampish. Ultimately this is what holds back the band. In Wytches Chant, it's clear how good it would be to have a male voice that combines well with Ridley's. Truth be told though, I haven't seen them live. I do suspect that Ridley is by nature a live performer and something's lost in the studio (something which morven, having seen them live, affirms). I'm also not sure that Bob's return to playing bass and hiring a drum machine was for the best.

Despite their faults they play attractive music with excellent lyrics and are worth listening to. They're also one of the few genuine pagan outfits with any decent musical output and one of the oldest bands of their kind. I do find it sad though that they don't fulfil their potential. I suppose I've basically said that they suck on key points but it's not all black and white. They do have sufficient redeeming qualities to make them a fixture on my playlist. The least one can say in their favour is that they maintain their own sound and style and believe in what they do, which is in itself pretty cool in a world full of posers doing the gothic/pagan/vampyre "thing."


Samples of their work can be found at http://www.mp3.com/inkubussukkubus, including one MP3-only track. I'd recommend Take My Hunger, Vampyre Erotica and Samhain, all three of which shine in the lyrics department. As far as albums go, I'd say that Wytches is their best, a powerful and interesting work in which they show much enthusiasm.

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