Friday, January 28, 2011

Pentagram - Relentless

Pentagram has been around a lot longer than many people realize.  They were actually formed way back in 1971 with Bobby Liebling on vocals (he's the only constant in their lineup).  They recorded some good quality demos in 1972 and 73, but were never signed to a major record label.  They wallowed in obscurity and were plagued with lineup changes for several years until they merged with fellow Virginia band Death Row.  This is defined as their classic lineup with Bobby on vocals, Victor Griffin on guitar, Joe Hasslevander on drums and Lee Abney on bass.  Their first album was released independently as a self titled album, but when they signed to Peaceville in the 90s, the record was re-released as Relentless (with a different track order and different album artwork).

This is among the most highly revered albums in the Doom subgenre.  The musicianship is top notch.  The guitars have a rather unique sound, but it fits the album very well.  Joe's drumming is great (as expected) and it drives everything along very nicely.  Lee's has some interesting basslines which stick out, not surprisingly very similar to Geezer Butler.  The most remarkable thing in terms of the music on this album is Bobby's vocals - they are incredibly unique.  Unlike most vocalists in the Doom subgenre, Bobby sticks to his own voice rather than trying to imitate Ozzy (this is probably because Pentagram itself is only two years younger than Black Sabbath).  This is one of (if not THE) quintessential Doom release.


Recommended Tracks
Death Row
All of Your Sins
(Pentagram) Sign of the Wolf
Dying World

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