CD Review: Pentagram – “Curious Volume” (2015 Peaceville Records)
Pentagram…One of the most dangerous bands , in doom or other genres, on the planet featuring the volatile Bobby Liebling on vocals. From the very beginnings of Pentagram, Liebling was ready for rock n roll before it was ready for him. Bobby has always had a maniacal aura about him that has made he and the band an iconic cult legend. From an early age, we are taught we grow up and fit into what society says one should be. Hopelessly punch a clock, let go of childish dreams and fall in line. For some though, that is not an option, and raging against the machine is what makes one feel alive. Going against the grain for the cause, for the music is what wins the fight. Ladies and gentlemen, the reigning, defending, undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, Bobby “Pentagraaaaaammmmmmm” Liebling.
“Curious Volume” is Pentagram’s eighth studio album and first since 2011’s “Last Rites”. It is also marks the debut of Minnesota Pete Campbell ( In~Graved, Sixty Watt Shaman, Place of Skulls) on drums. The album kicks off with “Lay Down and Die”. It doesn’t take long to get to the gettin, The pace is uptempo held down by a catchy beat and thunderous lows with Liebling coming in over the top. Listeners don’t have to wait long for payoff either as just over minute in we are treated to some of Victor Griffin’s squeal and a solo. Going right into “The Tempter Push”, a heavy bluesy number dealing with the ills of addiction and trying to overcome it. Throughout the entire record, there is a crushing unity in the rhythm section of Bassist Greg Turley and the aforementioned Campbell. They serve as the heavy linchpin that hold everything together. Without the heavy undertones of the back end, “Curious Volume” doesn’t have such an ominous effect. Victor Griffin. Yes, I know that is more of a statement, and it’s meant to be. There isn’t a fan of the band, and the doom metal genre in general that doesn’t know of him. So again, I’ll say Victor Griffin. The way he attacks the fret board is borderline inhumane, and puts his passion and love for music out front for all to see and hear. it sounds as if Griffin plays so flawless and effortlessly that he shouldn’t even be there, or he isn’t even challenged and should be anywhere else but the studio! Come on Victor, there are plenty of musicians out there that are really really trying. Seriously, he plays a mean guitar!!!!!!
Overall, “Curious Volume” gets a 9 out of 10. It holds up to every aspect that one would have of a Pentagram record, either perceived or know for fact. Songs that really stand out on this release are “Dead Bury Dead” for its heavy dirty groove, and the title track “Curious Volume”. “Close The Casket” has that uptempo Pentagram beat, with a bit of a cleansing of Liebling. The heartfelt and soulful solo of Griffin is chilling. The one that will get anyone with any knowledge of the band or Bobby is “Because I Made It”. It is no secret about Bobby’s struggles with addiction, some would say ego, and his self destructive personality as it pertains to Pentagram. Rock n Roll isn’t supposed to be safe. It is supposed to scare the hell out of people. It’s rebellious, and full of angst and contempt. This is what makes Liebling an iconic figure to all that adore Pentagram. All the shows cancelled or missed, or not being able to play because you can’t stand on your own. The desire and passion and love of the music was always there, and in some ways that is the Achilles heel of Bobby Liebling. Sometimes art and creativity come from the darkest of places. There are no safety nets to catch a falling star. Luckily for for all Pentagram fans, Bobby pulled it together at the most important time. “Curious Volume” is proof of perseverance and maturity. Proof that you can do it your way and on your terms. There were critics about the desire and determination of Bobby. “Last Rites” was a starting point, but a point that could have went either way, meaning a new beginning or the end of the band. Here we are four years later and that noise we hear is “Curious Volume”. “Bravo to maturity, bravo for raging against that machine. Now the whole world can enjoy what the hardships of a frontman, and a band can produce. Pentagram……. never going gently into that goodnight.”
1- Lay Down and Die
2- The Tempter Push
3- Dead Bury Dead
4- Earth Flight
5- Walk Alone
6- Curious Volume
8- Close the Casket
10- The Devil’s Playground
11- Because I Made It
Find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inthepitradio