Thursday, April 14, 2011

Initial Impressions: Pentagram: Last Rites

Intrigued by the recent long article on frontman Bobby Liebling, and some random Pentagram songs I have heard, including a cover by Draconian, I was spurred to finally check this band out on the release of their new album earlier this week. Pentagram is of course one of the first, if not the first, American metal bands and a major pioneer in the doom metal genre. So, it was a long time coming for me to really look into them.

This album is the band's first full-length in several years, though some of the songs are not exactly new. According to the earlier-mentioned article, Liebling wrote some 450 songs in the early 1970's, songs that continue to creep into the band's releases today and will likely continue to do so in the future. There is also some new material on this release, but Bobby Liebling was definitely at a creative peak early on in the band's history.

On this album, the music rumbles along at a medium pace and is largely on the side of stoner doom. The guitar riffs are fuzzy and distorted and are clearly based in blues. Some of the songs straddle the line between metal and rock a little bit too much, but that is to be expected with a band that arrived on the scene before there really was much of a metal genre.

Bobby Liebling sounds surprisingly good for a man in his 50's that has struggled with addiction his entire adult life. His vocals are tortured and haunting as he croons along to the thundering music. It is almost an eerie voice filled with pain and sadness. Well, it is doom metal after all.

This album sounds like something that would have been released in the 1970's. There really are no modern influences here. I would not use the term retro as Pentagram existed back in the 1970's but it is very clear that the band has not moved forward with the times at all. Draw your own conclusion as to whether that is a good or bad thing. I am always on the lookout for something Sabbathian, Pentagram definitely fits.

1 comment:

  1. I rather liked Relentless, but the recording quality wasn't that great. I wasn't planning on getting this one since I assumed he was past his prime in songwriting, but if they're old songs I might have to look into this.

    I was also intrigued by the article, and how the guys decided against using Satanic imagery because they found God. Yet, they're pretty much stuck with the band name, oddly enough.