INTICE – The Legacy (Album Review)

Intice - The Legacy

American glamsters Intice, hailing from the sunshine state of Florida, have compiled all their recordings on one CD. This exclusive package has just been released through the American label Demon Doll Records/Metal Legacy Records. It is a label that seems to be able to locate great and rare glam and hair metal from back in the day when it ruled the airwaves that no one else can get a hold of. There are a couple of other great hair metal bands out of Florida that played the club scene in the 1980’s, most noticeable bands like Strut, Stranger, Heartless, Juliet, Tyger Tyger and Crystal Heart. The scene was vibrant and filled with talent although many did not achieve stardom. That was for the few.  One of the finest bands to ever play the Florida club scene in the 1980’s was Intice who featured Jeff Vitolo on guitar and Vinny Granese on bass who both would later go on and record with Roxx Gang. There was also, of course, heavier bands like the great Crimson Glory or Savatage coming out of the Florida music scene in the 1980’s.

Brief history on Intice

The band formed way back in 1985 in Tampa when lead vocalist Patrick St. Michael (also rhythm guitar), Jeff Vitolo (guitar), Rob Wilkerson (bass) and Bobby Dee (drums) decided they should play together. They soon found themselves playing the Florida club circuit building a fan base out of an energetic live show and heavy duty gigging. It did not take long before the band entered the Morrisound Studios in Tampa to start laying down the songs they had written. It is a studio known for being the place where bands like Savatage and Sepultura tracked their albums. It was here that Intice developed their signature sound. The songs were sold or handed out on tapes at their shows and played a crucial role in the strategy to build a strong and vast local following and also trying to get noticed by the record companies. It helped the band to expand their fan base and get exposure on local radio stations.

In 1986 the first changes to the line-up occurred when Rob Wilkerson left the band and was replaced by Michael Allen. Later in that year Bobby Dee (Diaz) also left and was replaced by Jimmy Slevin. That resulted in a completely new rhythm section in the band. The new line-up continued to work hard on the road and spread their brand of glammy rock and roll. While retaining and expanding their local following Intice started to expand geographically and gig all over South Eastern US. The heavy touring took it’s toll on the band and Michael Allen left the band making way for the classic line up with Vinny Granese joining the band on bass in 1988. The hard work started to pay off for the band and they got prestigious opening slots for national acts like Steppenwolf, Foghat, Johnny Van Zant, Head East and Savatage.

Intice - The Legacy - Back in the DayIntice also entered Morrisound Studios yet again and recorded their debut album called Taste the Night which was released through their own label Nite Train Records. This CD is a collectors item today and sells for ridiculous prices on eBay when it shows up. The nine songs on the Taste the Night album make up the first part (song 1-9) on The Legacy album. This became another important part in introducing the band to a broader audience. The album got the band much more attention and they were featured in Metal Edge Magazine and other publications. This also, unfortunately, meant that the band was on their peak and the year after in 1990 the band split up. A very sad and premature end to a band that was on the rise.

In 2006, the band themselves released a collection of recordings not included on Taste the Night as Back in the Day on a CD-R and a video recording of a live show from the late 1980’s was put out on a DVD-R.  The Back in the Day album included early recordings and two songs recorded in 1990 just before the band split up. The album has been added in its entirety to The Legacy album. There are also two songs not featured on any of the albums before called “Leave Us All Behind” and “Much Too Strong” on the new Legacy album. My guess is that these are songs that Intice recorded in 1990 just before disbanding. The story does not quite end there, though. In 2016 Intice had two songs featured in the action thriller Vicious Thunder and they also appear on the official soundtrack to the movie.

In late December of 2016 the album The Legacy came out through US label Demon Doll Records/Metal Legacy Records and hopefully with a renewed interest in the band, we might see some stuff happening in 2017.

Intice – The Legacy

The entire album consists of 19 songs and I am not going to go through them all individually in this review. The first thing you notice is that Demon Doll has put a lot of effort into this release with fresh and reworked artwork. Many of the Demon Doll releases have little to no information on the band and the release except for their Metal Legacy Records subsidiary. Luckily this release is in that series and you get a nice booklet with the lyrics to all the songs on the CD. The album is packed with the glammy 80’s hard rock we all have come to love. There are clear hints to bands as Mötley Crue, Poison, and Warrant. Here we have “Give it Up” which sounds like a cut that could have been on the Poison debut album and St Michael sounds like a dead ringer for Bret Michaels. The opener “Taste the Night” could have easily fit on the Skid Row debut album with some of those signature screaming vocals.

Intice 1989. Picture courtesy of the Tampa Bay Music scene historical society

The songs are well arranged and executed. The musicianship is top notch and the production typically 1980’s sounding. We get a couple of the compulsory “power ballads” in “Fall in Love” and “Leave Us All Behind”. Intice show their diversity in songwriting and production in the bluesy “Get it Good”  which could have been written by Tesla or Tora Tora. The standout tracks on this compilation are “You Don’t Know”, the riff monster that is “Too Much Too Strong”, the bluesy “Get it Good” and the Lizzy Borden oozing “Love You to Death” alongside the aforementioned “Taste the Night”.

One of the bands biggest problems is, of course, that of originality. There were literally hundreds of bands playing similar glammy, sleazy melodic hard rock at this point only in the US. Undoubtedly, Intice were more gifted than most of them and had some really standout songs. Still, they didn’t land that elusive major record deal, whether it was because of lack of luck, being in the wrong place or whatever it was. This CD should contain enough hooks, choruses, sleazy sex inspired lyrics and guitar riffs to satisfy fans of Mötley Crue, Poison, Warrant, and Firehouse etc. There is also a healthy diversity in mixing ballads with straight ahead rock songs with more bluesy stuff and still it never gets schizophrenic. Intice keep it together in a convincing way and you never doubt which band you are listening to. “My Girl” for example makes me think of early Cinderella but still has a distinctive “Intice touch”. 

Summary

I have been a fan of the band since I discovered them in the early 2000’s when I succeeded in locating an original copy of Taste the Night after much searching. This was around the time that Back in the Day was released on CD-R by the band themselves on Nite Train Records. This compilation brings a lot of new value to the table with two” new” songs and the Back in the Day material on a silver pressed CD for the first time. The CD booklet contains the lyrics and a short band biography which adds further to the value. So if you are into the kind of music that made Sunset strip in LA what it was in the 1980’s then you should grab yourself a copy straight away from the record company’s website. I would rate this reissue to a full 8 out of 10 Geeks. I am eagerly awaiting what Ludwig Van and the rest of the guys at Demon Doll Records will unearth next!

Mikael Svensson

BUY your copy of The Legacy here!

Nite Train Records Official Website / Demon Doll Records Official Website / Demon Doll Records on Facebook

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