Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Pentagram - 'Curious Volume' (Album Review)

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 21/08/2015
Label: Peaceville Records



Overall, for my money, Curious Volume is a better album than Last Rites- more focused, more inspired and it crackles with life, it really does. It is the best album from Pentagram in a long while and for that we should all rejoice. Legendary for a reason!

Curious Volume CD//CS//DD//LP track listing:

1. Lay Down and Die
2. The Tempter Push
3. Dead Bury Dead
4. Earth Flight
5. Walk Alone
6. Curious Volume
7. Misunderstood
8. Close the Casket
9. Sufferin`
10. Devil`s Playground
11. Because I Made It


Pentagram is:

Bobby Liebling | vocals
Victor Griffin | guitar
Greg Turley | bass
Pete Campbell | drums 


The Review:

Pentagram are doom royalty, no question about it. Their debut (albeit not released until the mid 80's) is revered as a classic and rightly so. ‘Relentless’ (or whatever you refer to it as) is superb. ‘Day of Reckoning’ and ‘Be Forewarned’ are also superb. In fact, the list could go on... ‘Last Rites’ was a resurrection of biblical proportions (is there any other type?) a couple of years back. If you have seen the film “Last Days Here” you will know that Bobby Liebling's life has not exactly been a bed of roses and frankly it is astounding that he is still alive and making music. Nostalgia and good will aside, though, is the new Pentagram record any good?!

I am happy to report that it is. Absolutely. Is it doom? Well, that is another question. With Victor Griffin back in (he usually is, but sometimes isn't) on guitar the album has all the raw ingredients of a doom masterpiece. Ultimately, from opener “Lay Down and Die” onwards this is a hard rocking affair. Sure, it's dark and edgy and has that Sabbath swing to the riffs, but it has just as much in common with The Stooges greatest work, or even MC5. This is Lo Fi, American, old school, garage rock n roll, with a hefty dose of doom running straight up its spine. The sound is reassuringly retro- fuzzy and over driven with a unique sound (no sound replacements here!).

The band excel themselves over the album's length, playing as they do tightly and with a lovely feel. Griffin in particular is on fire, playing bluesy doom riff after cool lick and so on. Always providing a more muscular and steady visual counter point to Liebling's scarecrow like frailty, the two are in perfect sync here.

Dead Bury Dead” is a fine example of the darker material on offer here- it still swings- and it has doom aplenty to go with the more bluesy sections. “Earth Flight” is a groovy hard rocking beast that would not be out of place on ‘Fun House’ (as an example). The songs here are very focused- never lengthy, always toned and structured. The title track is dark indeed and the record loses none of its focus down the back stretch. “Close The Casket” is a particular highlight, but “The Devil's Playground” is a pure doom delight. Closer “Because I Made It” is a fine track and a triumphant end to a hard rocking album. Overall, for my money, Curious Volume is a better album than Last Rites- more focused, more inspired and it crackles with life, it really does. It is the best album from Pentagram in a long while and for that we should all rejoice. Legendary for a reason!

Curious Volume’ is available here



Band info: Official | facebook

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