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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Pentagram - Sub-Basement [Black Widow - 2001]

Good timing! Just as I'm going through my 'proto-doom' collection (thanks for the lectures at doom-metal.com, Aldo!) playing lots of Trouble and Pentagram, the latter releases their new album!

This cult-band exists for thirty years now (going through many line-up changes and sometimes under different names) and you can consider Pentagram the American counterpart to Black Sabbath. Although a few 7" singles were released in the seventies, Pentagram's first full-length LP saw the light of day, erm... the black of night in 1985. After Peaceville picked up on them and re-released the first two albums and a new one in the nineties, Pentagram started to make albums at a more regular pace despite the departure of Victor Griffin (who started his own band Place Of Skulls).

Like on the last album, 'Review Your Choices', the band is a duo with Joe Hasselvander managing the instrumental part and Bobby Liebling doing the vocals. The production is a lot like the previous album which is good! The sound is filthy, crunchy and dark. The songs are little bit more uptempo than on 'Review Your Choices', but the brooding atmosphere remains. There are songs with a strong drive like Drive Me To The Grave and Mad Dog and monstrously dragging ones like After The Last. There's also a four-minute atmospheric intro to the titletrack. Pentagram's songs balance between rock and metal and could appeal to both lovers of stonerrock and doommetal fans. Bobby has a rather typical voice and the vocals might be a turn-off to some, but a turn-on to others.

The presence of Pentagram in the collection is necessary for any 'historically conscious' doom-fan. It remains a band with an ideosyncratic sound and their music has a certain archaic value. Relapse Records will release a CD in February with some recently unearthed historical recordings from the early seventies. You also might want to check out http://www.southernlord.com, who distribute this record in the USA.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

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