Monday, November 30, 2009

First Daze Here

Genre: Heavy Psych/Hard Rock/Proto-Doom
Artist: Pentagram
Album: First Daze Here: The Vintage Collection
Released: 2006 (Recorded 1972-1973)

Review: Pentagram is a relatively well-known band around metal-circles, doom metal in particular, as their seminal albums "Relentless", "Day of Reckoning", and "Be Forewarned" both spearheaded and solidified the characteristic Sabbath-derived sound that would come to be known as "Traditional Doom Metal". Some of you might even know of the often half-hinted internal debacles that led to the dissolution of that classic era of the band, but comparatively few metalheads care to dig further back into the dazy, hazy history of Pentagram, back to an era before the great Victor Griffin and Joe Hasselvander, an Era before before Black Sabbath was from the far shores of Birmingham seen standing triumphant atop a heap of eye-agape masses, holding the gleaming banner of Metal for all to recognize...

At that time, when as far as many of us Yanks were concerned, the epitome of heaviness was ensconced in the sound of a band by the name of Blue Cheer, a couple of kids from Virginia who were really into Sir Lord Baltimore, UFO, and Uriah Heep decided to quit their former bands and form something that reflected their interest in the aural assault these bands were plying. These kids were Bobby Liebling, and Geof O'Keefe.
After some deliberation, they settled on the ominous name "Pentagram", reflecting their dark lyrical content.

During their early stages, they faced just as many tumultuous lineup changes as they would later be set with, and over one 5 year period, they had as many as 7 different managers, while facing internal schisms, disappointment, addiction, and imprisonment.
Tough times, but they pulled themselves through a lot of it, playing some of the greatest heavy music these shores had yet been shorn with, before the Forgotten era called it quits.

If you care to read up further on the early years of the band, go here.
I suggest it.

Anyway, "First Daze Here" is a compilation chronicling the early rise of Pentagram, featuring the scant demos, singles, and live recordings the earliest epochs of the band managed to push through despite the chaos that seemed to always chase their name. It features Liebling at his peak, O'Keefe pounding skins admirably, the basswork of Greg Mayne, and the work of masquerading-bassist turned unmasked guitar-god Vincent McAllister (RIP), all lending the original sparks of true talent that served as a catalyst in the compostion of Pentagram classics like "Review Your Choices", "Living in a Ram's Head", "20 Buck Spin", as well as the especially jaw-dropping "Be Forewarned".


God damnit, I hope I get the chance to talk with Liebling at MDF.

- FeatherofHuginn, Nov. 29th, 2009

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