Incubus: Were They Morbid? Yes.

Incubus

Of course this isn’t the boy band Incubus, but it isn’t the Louisiana act now known as Opprobrium, either. Briefly the scourge of Tampa, this demo is the product of ex-Morbid Angel members Sterling Von Scarborough (bass/vocals) and Mike Browning (drums), teamed with otherworldly hyper-trem octave wizard Gino Marino (guitars). Since if Trey Azagthoth were substituted on guitar, you’d have exactly the same line-up that was credited with recording Morbid Angel’s first album, Abominations of Desolation, not surprisingly the results are nothing less than deranged and captivating.

As the story goes, Mike caught Trey Azagthoth kissing his (Mike’s) girlfriend, and he peppered the lava-loving guitarist with punches. Afterwards, Mike left Morbid Angel with frustrated Sterling in tow, and they immediately formed Incubus — bringing back songs that Sterling had played in an earlier line-up with Skellator of Hallows Eve. Meanwhile Trey retreated to North Carolina, where he recruited David Vincent and resumed a new version of Morbid Angel.

So it’s no surprise that Incubus uses the same grow formula as early Morbid Angel, but cultivates a different patch of swampwater. They are evil, but crazy. For some reason, I keep thinking of bonkers Japanese hardcore bands like SxOxBx while listening to “Reanimator’s Mutilations” — maybe it’s the bull vocals and feeling of panic. “Engulfed in Unspeakable Horror” impossibly bridges the gap between blasting intensity and spaced-out lead guitar. When they launch into full death metal mode, you might feel actual physical pain that they were only together so briefly. Three songs for posterity, then off to new visions.

INCUBUS * 3-song demo 1987 [17.3MB .rar]

Voices From the Darkside interviewed Mike Browning at length about Morbid Angel, Incubus, and his subsequent sci-fi death metal band Nocturnus; you can read that epic here. Normally I wouldn’t post a demo that was later issued in commercial form, but in this case “later” was a really long time ago. If anything, hearing this Incubus tape will only drive up demand for the 7-inch version released by Gore Records back in 1989.

Now, has anyone heard from Sterling Von Scarborough since 2006?

UPDATE: CarnageDeathMetal.de features another Mike Browning interview that sheds light on a few other details of Incubus’ short six-month life, including more fistfights. Most bizarre, Sterling never sang during rehearsals — the band heard his voice for the first time when they entered the studio to record this demo.

UPDATE #2: Mike Browning is still very active in occult metal, check out his current band After Death at their official site or MySpace. The intensity is way subdued, but the spirit of Incubus is definitely there. Iron Pegasus Records is issuing a collection of their demos soon.

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13 Responses to “Incubus: Were They Morbid? Yes.”

  1. May 31, 2007 at 9:42 am #

    Ha, I saw the part about how you normally “wouldn’t post a demo that was later issued in commercial form” and got curious, but then I see that it was only issued… as a 7″… way the fuck back in 1989… Dude! That’s GOTTA be almost as rare as the demo tape itself at this point!

  2. nick papageorgiou
    May 31, 2007 at 5:17 pm #

    This is so cool! old school death metal rules

  3. Patchie
    May 31, 2007 at 3:40 pm #

    Many cheers for this; I can remember Obituary members wearing shirts of *this* Incubus back in the day, which (being British and 12) I had assumed were the Incubus from Metarie.
    Great to get hold of this!

  4. Luigi Coppo
    June 1, 2007 at 4:00 am #

    …great stuff…thankkkss….the sound of my old tape was bad!

  5. demolition man
    June 1, 2007 at 11:45 am #

    What a sad story! Well, now you finally get to hear the Incubus demo. There’s also a demo by the Blackthorn editor’s band Samhain in the DEMO ARCHIVE.

  6. Nephesh Namza
    June 1, 2007 at 11:19 am #

    I was ripped off by them when I send USD25.00 back when I found out about them in old DANISH magazine called BLACKTHORN (RIP). It was a package deal for a demo tape + tshirt. I was so sexcited that I’d saved my lunch monies but in the end the stuffs never turn up at my doorstep. Those were the days when U were easily being ripped off if you were from a foreign land.

  7. Nephesh Namza
    June 1, 2007 at 11:50 am #

    Hell yeah, after fukken 20 years!! I know dat SAMHAIN but I was getting in touch first with DESEXULT (the drummer now in THE HAUNTED) before I knew BLACKTHORN.

    Hey, bro greetings from an old skool underground black / death / thrash bastard fm SINGA-HELL-PORE.

  8. Nephesh Namza
    June 1, 2007 at 12:20 pm #

    speaking of INCUBUS, MORBID ANGEL…wat about MATRICIDE?!

  9. June 15, 2007 at 9:47 pm #

    ARGHHHH!!! Killer stuff from the mighty MIKE BROWNING….INCUBUS had been reviewed at DECIBEL O DEATH magazine back in time at 1988, If I don’t forgot it…About MATRICIDE band is only had recorded two demos, it was one of first bands that played with pre program drums. it was awesome by the early years of death metal, very innovative….MOTHERS DAY was the best demo from JOHN ORTEGA….as well, MATRICIDE was reviewed at my magazine at 1988….

  10. December 3, 2008 at 11:49 pm #

    I just unearthed an Incubus press release sent to me after those dudes left Morbid Angel and reformed Incubus, and in it they imply that their reason for leaving was that the MA guys couldn’t keep up with the music they were writing. It definitely bags on Morbid Angel pretty hard. I also have the poster you’ve included at the top of this post.

  11. demolition man
    December 4, 2008 at 12:06 am #

    ADEM — that’s funny, I just scanned an Incubus interview from Slayer Mag #5 this afternoon, testing the OCR software we’re using to compile Metalion’s Slayer Mag anthology book for Bazillion Points. It’s funny, they call themselves thrash metal, but insist that they are the first truly occult-minded thrashers to exist. Well, I wish their hex had lasted a little longer.

  12. December 4, 2008 at 12:51 pm #

    Interesting that they called themselves thrash, because I also just found a brief band bio that opens with this line: “Incubus has awakened from it’s ancient slumber, and is now seeking to encompass the realm of death metal.” This would have been sent to me in early 1987, I believe.

  13. Frank
    December 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm #

    I’ve read a Mike Browning interview where He says Sterling was found dead years ago. He hung himself.
    I wish it’s just a rumor.

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