It's Only Curious Not to Dive Into the Volume.
It seems unusual to introduce Pentagram to the “More Fuzz” audience, probably everyone in here knows about them, but much water has go down the river and this band, one of the first doom metal groups, if not the first one, has revitalized becoming stronger than ever.
Their sound is obviously influenced by the works of Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer and other heavy bands. Doing a review of their new album so you can “discover” them seems unbelievable, but that’s what happens with the underground scene, a lot. So here I am bringing some justice to one of the most amazing bands of the world that is less known than they deserve.
We can trace the origins of Pentagram to the early 70’s as one of the founding bands of the American doom metal scene, besides Bedemon, The Obsessed, Saint Vitus and Trouble. The band has gone through numerous lineup changes through the years, although the founder Bobby Liebling has been the only constant member. A plus for Pentagram has been the ongoing collaboration with guitarist Victor Griffin, who, with comes and goes, has worked with Bobby since the early 80’s. Besides Griffin, for this album the band counts again with the bass work of Greg Turley and welcomes drummer Pete Campbell, of Place of Skulls and In-Graved experience.
How is the sound ?
The first thing I got to say about “Curious Volume” is it sounds amazing because of the balance of instruments and vocals creating a beautiful mixture of notes and a great heavy atmosphere. Among other things, the album benefits from Bobby stopping doing drugs a couple of years ago –watch the documentary “Last days here” from 2012 to see his recovery process- and his healthy and focused collaboration with Victor Griffin. In this sense, the result is the most coherent and solid album since 1994’s “Be Forewarned”.
The album kicks off with “Lay Down and Die”, a fast song that rest on lyrics that encourage listeners to party with the incredible guitar work of Victor Griffin. Noted, there wouldn’t be an outstanding Rolling Stones without Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, as it wouldn’t be a great Pentagram sound without Bobby and Griffin playing together. That first track is an excellent opener for a live show and will raise the temperature level from the beginning.
Then will come “The Tempter Push”, a song with some Heavy Blues influences. “Dead Bury Dead” is doom metal at its best, showing their skills to handle a genre they helped to define decades ago.
“Earth Flight” has amazing bass lines thanks to Turley and some heavy guitar riffs. Then comes “Walk Alone”, bringing some catchy melodies that hook you up since the first listening. With the title track, the band goes back to doom metal territory, slowing the tempo to have some crushing effects on the listener.
The second half of the album starts with “Misunderstood” a fast song which reminds me of the 1985’s “Pentagram” –or “Relentless”- sound. On the other hand, “Close the Casket” benefits from solid riffs delivery with dexterity by Griffin. In “Sufferin’”, Liebling writes some heartfelt lyrics about impossible love and sexual desire.
For “Devil’s Playground”, Liebling deals with addictions and his struggle to become clean after a history of substances abuse. The album closes with “Because I Made It”, a song which proves again why Griffin is an outstanding graduate from the “Iommi University”.
Why is this album worth listening ?
- It’s their strongest effort since 1994’s “Be Forewarned”.
- The synchrony between Liebling and Griffin has never been better.
- It’s a proof that old bands can still make quality music, sound fresh and give the newcomers a lesson on how to make a good doom metal album.
- It’s full of quality music and counts with the best lyrics Liebling has written in recent years.
In what situation you should listen to this album ?
- Doing a BBQ with your “heavyhead” friends in the backyard.
- Alone at home with headphones, so you can listen to the revitalized voice of Bobby Liebling, the amazing guitar playing of Victor Griffin and the solid rhythm base of Greg Turley and Pete Campbell in action.
- When you are teaching a lesson of Heavy Music History, you can tell your class the importance of a classic band like Pentagram for keeping the flame of doom metal alive.
Something particular to note ?
As I said before, with “Curious Volume” you get two things: the classic sound of Pentagram, and an invigorated band with a fresh and powerful sound you haven’t heard in the last 20 years.
For Fans Of
Black Sabbath, Bedemon, Trouble, Saint Vitus, Witchfinder General, The Obsessed, Iron Man
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