It took almost 15 years, but I think I’m tired of Pentagram. When I was a kid getting into heavy metal, the band’s 80s output introduced me to doom metal, and rumours of their legendary early 70s hard rock recordings stoked an air of mystery. But after reunions, reissues, documentaries, cancelled gigs, countless lineup changes and, now, another new record, that air has been dispelled.
Curious Volume confirms what I’ve suspected for a while: Pentagram don’t live up to their legend. The 11 cuts of so-so heavy rock are carried along by 61-year-old singer Bobby Liebling’s still pretty impressive vocals. There are a handful of fun-enough tracks – opener Lay Down And Die and the especially doomy Close The Casket – but by and large the album’s repetitive, chugging and verging precariously close to dumb cock rock, barely leavened by nostalgia for the bygone glory days of American proto-metal.
It’s nice to see a seminal, hugely influential band given their dues (and then some) after the fact. But it’s equally disappointing to see them fall short of the hyperbolic over-hype.
Top track: Close The Casket