It would be misguided, perhaps even unfair, to expect a new Inkubus Sukkubus record to deviate too far from their path of Paganistic rock n roll, a twist of darkwave, ethereal, and rock that has become unique to their namesake. The trio of Candia, Tony, and Bob have carved out a niche that has yet to be surpassed by imitators, Pagan or otherwise. So unabashedly celebratory in their faith and its mythologies that it deters on the edge of cheeky, but the band carries it with such sincerity and fun that it is difficult for any Goth not to revel in the stories of hell-fire and nature. Queen of Heaven, Queen of Hell is the band’s newest album in a career that spans over two gothy decades, and it delivers what the Inkies always promise.
Such a precedent almost warrants the foregoing of serious analysis about an Inkubus Sukkubus album this late into their trek, but our Pagan lovelies have still succeeded in crafting catchy tales of apocalypse, sacrifice, and witches. Candia’s voice sounds as youthful as the days of Wytches and Vampyre Erotica, a soaring angel that carries ages of tradition. The high registers of “The White Stag” and “The Dark Prince” are sky-high spirals that reach back into milleniums past. Tony’s guitar pyrotechnics are glaringly heavy metal, whether chugging oppressively or blazing through high-octane solos that give the Sukkubus a touch of what US suburbia considered the devil’s music. Percussion and bass crush, roll, and thunder as they have always done, underlining the songs with elegant savagery.
The acoustic reprieves on Queen of Heaven, Queen of Hell follow suite with Inkubus Sukkubus’s softer excursions, somber and delicate in their beauty. “Forest Hill” and “Goddess of Samhain” will not disappoint fans who lust for the folksy Celtic side of their albums. The keyboard programming is symphonic and gypsy-like, as is the protocol for the band, a soundtrack for desert pilgrimages and the ransacking of villages.
No, this new album will not wow you with its groundbreaking voyages into territory that the band has never treaded. It will not shatter your perception of reality with esoteric ramblings on the matters of the mind, body, and soul. It won’t even deviate from its melodic formula for avant-garde exercises of sparse beats and crackling techno. Simply put, fans do not turn to Inkubus Sukkubus for anything other than what they have been concocting ever since they were just young Gods and Goddesses playing about in the forest. The function of the Inkies is to satisfy the craving for fanciful tales of one of Goth’s most sacred foundations, but also one of the most neglected in the lyrical department. Queen of Heaven, Queen of Hell keeps the incense-scented torch burning strong and confidently, all in the name of the Pagans.