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EXCUBUS

Heavy Prog • Canada


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ExCubus biography
Another great early prog act lost to history and the musical tumult of the early 1970s, Quebec keyboard quartet ExCUBUS [then known as INCUBUS, renamed for the 2008 release to avoid confusion with other groups] was one of Canada's best symphonic-era prog bands in the mold of ELP but with a rougher, more dungeon-like edge. In 1974, the organist, drummer, bassist and guitarist recorded four tracks at the legendary Chateau d'Hrouville in France which were never released. Thanks to Musique Progres, those compositions along with four newly re-recorded cuts of old material will be released in late 2008 as 'Memoires Incubussiennes'. Strongly recommended to vintage prog collectors and Prog history buffs. Terrific find.


-- Atavachron (David) --

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Memoires IncubussiennesMemoires Incubussiennes
Import
Imports 2011
Audio CD$16.59
$25.45 (used)
LagauchetiereLagauchetiere
Import
Ais 2011
Audio CD$20.63
$26.50 (used)
MEMOIRES INCUBUSIENNESMEMOIRES INCUBUSIENNES
MARQUEE
Audio CD$38.89
$41.99 (used)
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EXCUBUS discography


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EXCUBUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.54 | 16 ratings
Mémoires incubussiennes
2008
3.88 | 8 ratings
Lagauchetière
2011

EXCUBUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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EXCUBUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mémoires incubussiennes by EXCUBUS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.54 | 16 ratings

BUY
Mémoires incubussiennes
ExCubus Heavy Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars You know you've got some good old-fashioned pompous prog when the notes are strictly in French. No matter and all the better, I mean it's music not literature. This Montreal foursome, drowned as many bands were during prog's heyday in the early 1970s, reconvened in '07 toward releasing some oldies and re-recording some newies with help from a couple extra ax players. The results were pleasing, and Mémoires incubussiennes proved one of the better vintage releases of the year. With Mike Phaneuf's coupling of a Hammond with a nice Arp sound, 'Bléatis' could be confused for an early but less developed and polished ELP, and 'Abomination d'une quarte de triton', which would've been more effective tacked onto the opener, is left hanging a bit, both cuts sounding more like works in progress. 'Parade de l'Armee de verre' is more cohesive and finally gets the progressive ball rolling with the disc's first real composition, a decent 5 1/2 minute faux Baroque bit, but again opportunities are missed by treating next track 'Teeth' as a separate animal instead of part of a larger whole.

Up next are the sessions from 2007-'08 with the same good fidelity, the difference being bassist Marc Delage's not-too-bad singing and clear evidence of Britain's folkrock boom during the band's first incarnation, as on 'Apple Tree Paradise' and sister piece 'Tales of the Tree'. Creepy and dungeonesque 'Pendergast' with its cheesy vampire theme is the longest thing here at nine minutes and is good but not great, with closer 'A Child's Funeral' leaving us still a bit peckish.

ExCubus, formerly Incubus, were a perfectly fine heavy symph band but they leave us wanting more. Maybe the 2011 follow-up to this showed more alacrity and maturity, but I would only suggest this one to a hardcore organ-prog buff.

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 Mémoires incubussiennes by EXCUBUS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.54 | 16 ratings

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Mémoires incubussiennes
ExCubus Heavy Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Originally named Incubus, this band from Quebec was found in 1970 by Leo England (drums), Michel Phaneuf (keyboards), Andre Deguire (guitar/vocals) and Luc Giroux (bass), but disbanded in 1971.A few months later England and Phaneuf reformed Incubus with Mark Delage on bass, joined in 1973 by guitarist Pierre Poulet.They even had the chance to record an album at the Strawberry Studios in Herouville, France, in 1974, having a fantastic equipment, which was never released, as Incubus disbanded for good the same year.Some 30 years later England, Phaneuf and Delage gave birth again to Incubus, releasing ''Memoires Incubussiennes'' in 2008, now as Excubus to avoid legal issues with the L.A. band of the same name, recorded at Red Tube Studio in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada.

The first four tracks are original recordings from Incubus' 1974 material, featuring guitarist Pierre Poulet.It is a great example of keyboard-driven Progressive Rock with dense musicianship and a very dark atmosphere, somewhat reminiscent of E.L.P.'s well-structured themes or LE ORME's more complex arrangements.The compositions are led by huge Hammond organ moves supported by fantastic Mellotron waves, eventually creating a very sinister and bombastic atmosphere.This grandiose material is often supported by occasional heavy guitar riffing, making the overall sound even more powerful.The track ''Teeth'' even has some great synth moves, which, combined with the organ and the Mellotron, produce a very rich soundscape.

The next four tracks are all reworked compositions from the 70's, featuring Claude Phaneuf and Andre Barriere on guitars, both known to Incubus from the post-70's band Polygone.The sound hasn't changed a bit over these tracks, this is still bombastic, cinematic and dark-sounding Progressive Rock with the Hammond organ as the leading instrument, maybe with a light sense of melody due to the more frequent use of vocals in a couple of tracks.Again these are characterized by a pounding rhythm section with very deep bass work and powerful drumming.Of course Michel Phaneuf's Hammond organ is again in full orgasm, delivering haunting and symphonic textures with a unique atmosphere.The last track ''A Child's Funeral'' though is pretty melodic with a very BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST approach and a great delivery on church organ and acoustic guitars.

Excubus aka Incubus were back, alive and kickin', after all these years of silence.This great compilation of 70's tracks should find some great response in all fans of organ/keyboard-driven Progressive Rock and comes as a strongly recommended one...3.5 stars.

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 Mémoires incubussiennes by EXCUBUS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.54 | 16 ratings

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Mémoires incubussiennes
ExCubus Heavy Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It's beyond my comprehension why this band couldn't get signed to a record deal back in 1974 considering the four tracks they recorded in France at that time. Back then this Quebec band was known as INCUBUS but when they reformed in 2007 they changed their name to avoid any confusion with a certain American band with the same name. After reforming they re-recorded 4 more tracks that they had initially composed back in the seventies. So we get about 42 minutes of dark Hammond driven music with mellotron and plenty of heaviness. Nice ! When I read Sean Trane's review I knew I would like this, and I not only liked it, it surpassed my expectations.

"Bleatus" is dark with an almost dancing organ line as drums and a full sound come in. Angular guitar 1 1/2 minutes in. It gets pretty intense a minute later then it returns to the previous melody. A vocal melody comes in before 3 1/2 minutes. "Abomination D'Une Quarte De Triton" is such a great sounding song. More of the same really with organ and guitar drenched in darkness. Yes it's heavy, mellotron too. Fantastic ! "Parade De L'Armee de Verre (Au Matin)" kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes. This is ominious and heavy. Check out the mellotron before 4 minutes. "Teeth" is more uptempo with organ and drums leading the way. Mellotron after 2 minutes. Amazing sound !

"Apple Tree Paradise" opens with organ as chunky bass and drums join in. It changes 3 minutes in and English vocals arrive. The guitar after 5 minutes lights it up. "Tales Of The Tree" opens with organ as other sounds come and go. The guitar before 2 minutes is outstanding. "Pendergast" is the longest track at almost 9 minutes. It opens with a haunting mood. Chunky bass with organ and drums before the vocals arrive after 1 1/2 minutes. The tempo picks up after 4 minutes. Nice bass ! I like the organ here too. An eerie calm 6 1/2 minutes in then it kicks back in. "A Child's Funeral" opens with what sounds like church organ as vocals join in. The guitar rips it up after 2 1/2 minutes. A moving track to close the album.

There is a slight difference in sound between the first 4 tracks and the last 4 songs. The earlier ones have mellotron and I would describe them as heavier and darker. The last 4 have no mellotron but the bass is more prominant.The guitar stands out much more as well, plus there is vocals on 3 of the last 4 tunes.They all mesh together very well though. As David says in the bio about this album a "terrific find". I couldn't agree more.

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 Mémoires incubussiennes by EXCUBUS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.54 | 16 ratings

BUY
Mémoires incubussiennes
ExCubus Heavy Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars In the mid 70's in Montreal existed a Hammond-driven prog rock quartet Incubus (there was also a US group of that name in those years) that could've been often compared to Emerson Lake & Palmer and haunted the scene from 70 to 74, but never released an album, although they had started on it (sessions took place in January 74 in Hérouville, France), when, they called it a day in late 74. So when three out of four original members reformed in 2007, they certainly weren't going to name themselves Incubus, since the name had been used once more, by a metal group whose fame belittled both previous groups. So while wanting to refer to their early 70's heritage, they chose to rename themselves ExCubus. ProgQuebec approached them about the session tapes of 74 and once through them, they selected 4 songs that they saw fit to release. The rest of the tracks present on this first album are the work the group (now a quintet) to rekindle the flame of their gone-by dreams.

So Mémoires Incubussienes includes both the historic session and another recent one (January 2007) and the least we can say is that the latter one is definitely worth or the former, the former having no valid reasons for not seeing the light of day, except for the lack of luck and group quitting. The first four tracks develops a symphonic rock ala ELP, but with a solid guitar player answering the local Emerson. Actually the group might also sound between Atomic Rooster, Egg and even Anglagard. Of these track, the most interesting is Abomination D'Une Quarte De Triton, which is clever but complicated musical trick removing some triton quart (or whatever, you figure it out), seconded mello- fest of (Morning) Glass Army Parade. If the first track had some wordless vocals, the other three tracks are instrumentals, but something tells me, that this was probably not intentional back then.. that the session had stopped before they could have added the vocals

As for the 2007 sessions, they sound like a very credible retro-prog, sometimes close to the Scandinavian school that should have all progheads climbing up the curtains in gleeful joy, three of them sung in English with Tales Of The Tree not being a tale. Clearly meant as the second era's centerpiece is the 9-minutes Pendergast, comes with the full dramatics and a great outro. The closing Child's Funeral is a fitting goodbye with full choirs in the last seconds. All four tracks appear to have been written back in the 70's if I judge by the booklet.

Well, ExCubus will be defending the local and Canadian colors at the next FMPM next Sept 09, and it looks like a shoo-in as the festival's surprise performance. Hopefully the group will pursue with second album, but this time with new songs, although this is always a dangerous bet a proghead has to deal with.

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