Diabolus was an English jazz-rock/psych band that recorded a self-titled album in 1971, blocked domestically but released on the German Bellaphon label. It has since become a cult classic.

Members: John Hadfield (guitar, vocals), Anthony Hadfied (bass, vocals), Philip Howard (flute, keyboards, saxophone, organ, piano), Ellwood Von Seibold (drums)


Diabolus formed when guitarist/singer John Hadfield and his bassist/singer brother Anthony Hadfied, both of Leicester, enlisted  keyboardist/reedist Philip Howard and drummer Ellwood Von Seibold. Their name derives from the diabolus in musica (devil in music), also known as the devil’s interval, which consists of three whole steps from a tonic (C–F#, G–D, etc.)

The Album

They recorded their singular album, Diabolus, at Sound Techniques, London. It was produced by Hugh Murphy for Shel Talmy Productions. Murphy also produced 1970/71 titles by Jody Grind, Stray, Gracious (Gracious!, This is…Gracious!!), and Gerry Rafferty (Can I Have My Money Back?). Through not released in the UK, the album was picked up in Germany by Bellaphon and released there (cat# BLPS 19068) as part of that label’s dive into underground music (Brainticket, Epsilon, Nektar, Nine Days Wonder).

Diabolus features eight songs, mostly in the 6–7-minute range, including the group-written “3 Piece Suit,” “Spontenuity,” and “Raven’s Call.” John Hadfield composed the opener “Lonely Days” and arranged “Night Clouded Moon” around a traditional. Another track, “Laura Sleeping,” uses stanzas from 17th century English poet Charles Cotton.

Original copies of Diabolus came in a single sleeve with a cover that depicts a Dali-esque landscape, where turquoise A-shaped monuments bend and cast shadows on a rusty desert at dusk. Their name is wrapped over a red full moon; a half-buried acoustic guitar stands at the right foreground. No info is given about the artist. It was printed by Johannes Alt GmbH (Andromeda, Dzyan, Frame, Pell Mell).

Bellaphon pressed Diabolus a second time in 1975 (cat# BI 15144). In 1994, it got its first CD pressing by German archivists Witch & Warlock. In 1998, a bootleg circulated from the short-lived Euro-press Ha-Wanna. It has since been reissued twice by archivists Sunrise Records (2004, 2016) and Arkama (Italy, 2005). Contrary to rumor, the band was aware of its initial 1971 Bellaphon release.[1]




  1. Fantasy: Diabolus – xylem777 comment, April 28, 2018. Retrieved May 20, 2021

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