Review by Sonny for Incubus (US-LA) - Serpent Temptation (1988) Review by Sonny for Incubus (US-LA) - Serpent Temptation (1988)

Sonny Sonny / May 13, 2022 / 1

I hadn't heard Incubus/Opprobrium before this and was only dimly aware of the name (as Opprobrium). Well that appears to be a great shame because this debut full-length is serious slab of deaththrash. The band was formed in Louisiana in 1986 as Incubus by Brazilian-born brothers Francis (guitar and vocals) and Moyses Howard (drums). The trio is rounded out with bassist/vocalist Scott Latour. This is a serious deaththrash assault as the brothers Howard rip through eight face melters in thirty-seven minutes of unrivalled intensity - I mean, these guys really let fucking rip! Truth be told, this is definitely more thrash than death, but it is as intense a thrash metal album as you could ever hope to hear and has gatecrashed into the upper echelons of my personal thrash metal ranking list. This is exceedingly high-tempo thrash metal, with lightning fast solos and insane riffs that in all likelihood would leave even King and Hanneman in their prime lagging behind. Despite the crazy speed, Moyses is more than capable of keeping time behind the kit and turns in as impressive a performance as you could hope for and may well be the fastest thrash drummer I have ever heard. Without his technical ability the songs may well have degenerated into a mess and his contribution is one of the triumphs of the album. Latour's vocals are of the rasping, barking style that sits somewhere between thrash and death metal vocalisation and works very well within the context of all this velocity.

Admittedly the album is slightly front-loaded, the four tracks of side A being absolute killers and Side B struggling a little to maintain the intensity. Don't get me wrong, this is all relative, but the sheer adrenaline rush of side A is difficult for the B-side to replicate, even though it still has it's moments - the title track for example is ridiculously quick. Overall I would say this contains little actual death metal, but does illustrate exactly how near to it thrash metal could get without actually crossing the line. Oh and did I mention that it is christian-themed? No? Well it doesn't matter anyway, other than proving that the devil doesn't have all the best tunes.

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