Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pentagram – Last Rites

Crack is a helluva drug. Pentagram mainman Bobby Liebling was hooked on the stuff for a long, long time and saw many bands he’s influenced crawl past him in the doom metal sweepstakes. After decades years of fluctuating line ups, shady record deals and spotty releases he seems to have gotten himself straightened out and is back with a good new album, Last Rites on Metal Blade Records. I was on the fence about picking this up but knowing that long suffering guitarist Victor Griffin had rejoined Pentagram again was a big selling point.

Right off the bat, Pentagram comes out swinging hard on opening song “Treat Me Right.” For a band considered one of the pioneers of doom metal they throw down a Motorhead worthy scorcher. Victor’s tone is hella-huge as he fires up a killer speedy riff and the band kicks in. Bobby’s voice sounds stronger than it has in a long time and you can just see his Marty Feldman bug eyes popping as he spits out the lyrics. We’re off to a good start!

“Call The Man” returns to more familiar doomy Pentagram material and lets the stomping rhythm section of Greg Turley (bass) and Tim Tomaselli (drums) shine on this one. Tim and Greg have done time in Victor’s band Place Of Skulls and it’s obvious those 3 have a great musical rapport. The proof is in the groove. “8” starts off moody and tribal before shifting gears into a psychedelic headbanger. Hopefully they have some strobe lights and fog machines when they play this one live. Victor takes lead vocals on “American Dream” and unsurprisingly it sounds a lot like a Place Of Skulls song. The only song I’m not in love with on the album is “Windmills and Chimes.” For some reason when they go into the chorus “Baby I Love Your Way” pops into my head. It doesn’t really sound like the Frampton song but it bothers me enough that I have to skip past it every time.

Pentagram has a huge backlog of songs that were written throughout the 1970’s and Bobby usually revisits a few on each album. “Everything’s Turning To Night” and “Walk In The Blue Light” are on the First Daze collections that Relapse has put out. The arrangements are a little different and the fidelity is much improved on the originals. “Into The Ground” and “Nothing Left” go back to Bobby’s pre-Pentagram band Stone Bunny. I’ve never heard the originals of either of these but they’re both heavy doom mongers. “Into The Ground” has a 70’s Judas Priest feel with some nice Glenn Tipton melodic lead playing.

Last Rites is a solid metal album and hopefully Bobby will stay away from the pipe so he can keep his kick ass band. Even better news is that Pentagram will be touring and the Bobby Liebling documentary (also titled Last Rites) will be released later this year.

-- Woody

Buy here: Last Rites
Buy here mp3: Last Rites

1 comment:

Penfold said...

No drugs, more killer tunes. Is that so much to ask?

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