Thursday, February 18, 2010
Classic Band To Burn One To-Pentagram
"One of the most enduring and influential underground bands in heavy metal history, Pentagram's career was almost 15 years old by the time they finally managed to record their first album. Though invariably led by mysterious frontman Bobby Liebling, the band's volatile membership made it difficult to maintain any kind of momentum and kept them confined to metal's outer fringes. But interest in Pentagram's convoluted history continues to grow and their crucial contributions to the development of heavy metal seem at last to be receiving some of their late, lamented due.
Pentagram first came into existence in 1971 in Woodbridge, VA, when singer Bobby Liebling met guitarist/drummer Geof O'Keefe. In the coming months, the duo played with a variety of local musicians, including guitarist John Jennings, bassist Vincent McAllister, and drummer Steve Martin, but by early 1972, McAllister had switched to guitar, O'Keefe took over on drums, and Greg Mayne joined on bass guitar. This lineup of Liebling, McAllister, Mayne, and O'Keefe would remain intact for the next six years, and though they occasionally performed under different names, including Virgin Death, Stone Bunny, and Macabre (the last of which graced their first single, "Be Forewarned," in 1972), they always inevitably returned to Pentagram. Another element of stability was their musical direction, which never strayed too far from the distorted psychedelic hard rock of heavy metal pioneers like Blue Cheer and the Groundhogs. A set of independent 7" recordings, "Human Hurricane" and "When the Screams Come" (this last was never released) preceded their first live performance on December 15, 1973, by which time a visible Black Sabbath influence had begun to take hold. Second guitarist Randy Palmer joined their ranks mid-1974 and his addition coincided with Pentagram's most prolific period of the decade, including close calls with record deals from both Columbia and Casablanca Records. But by 1976, Palmer was out (briefly replaced by Marty Iverson) and all of the band's professional prospects had dried up, leaving Pentagram to grind to a halt at the end of the year.
Then in 1998, a clandestine, unauthorized collection of early Pentagram demos and live bootlegs, entitled Human Hurricane, was unexpectedly released, prompting Liebling and Hasselvander to take action. Both 1999's Review Your Choices and 2001's Sub-Basement combined new compositions with updated versions of the band's ancient classics and featured Hasselvander playing every instrument. The controversy also sparked greater interest in Pentagram's music and its substantial impact on the heavy metal genre, culminating in the priceless (and this time fully authorized) collection of long-lost '70s recordings entitled First Daze Here (The Vintage Collection). Another compilation, Turn to Stone, arrived later in 2002, compiling material from their Peaceville albums that had gone out of print in the late 90's."( Ed Rivadavia, All Music Guide)
PENTAGRAM 2009: Gary, Russ, Bobby, Mark
"First Daze Here: The Vintage Collection"
"First Daze Here Too: The Vintage Collection"
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