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Pentagram: First Daze Here-The Vintage Collection

Influenced by early heavy rock bands like Black Sabbath, Cream, Blue Cheer, Budgie, Uriah Heep, UFO, Scorpions, and the Stooges, US band Pentagram set out for world domination in 1971, recording a host of demo material in hopes to score the big major label record deal. Unfortunately, fame and fortune, not to mention the label deal, never happened for the band, who ultimately broke up in 1976. However, their recordings have shown up on many bootlegs and metal compliations over the years, but now you can hear all those early songs on this great collection from Relapse Records. The first of a two part series, First Daze Here offers up a dozen blistering hard rock/metal tunes with a doom edge. Most of the tracks were recorded between 1972 and 1976 at various studios and rehearsal rooms, so the quality is not always the top of the line, but Relapse has done a good job of cleaning these up as best as they can. The material-well, once you hear for yourself how good these songs are, you will wonder how this band never got picked up by a label and made it to the big time. Featuring the crunchy yet bluesy guitar riffs from Vincent McAllister, the husky vocal attack of Bobby Liebling, and the solid rhythm section of bassist Greg Mayne and drummer Geof O'Keefe (plus additional rhythm guitar from Randy Palmer and Marty Iverson on a few cuts), these guys knew how to conjure up some evil yet memorable riffs, and they could jam like there was no tomorrow.

Blistering yet heavy blues rock licks permeate songs like "Lazylady", "When the Screams Come" (recently covered by Swedish band Witchcraft), while slower, bottom heavy dirges growl and plod along on tunes "Review Your Choices", "Forever My Queen", and the headbanging shuffle of "Hurricane". The beefy riffs boil alongside Liebling's throaty shouts on "20 Bucks Spin", before McAllister launches into a scorching blues rock guitar solo dripping with distortion. Shades of The Doors meets Black Sabbath on the dark psychedelia of "Last Daze Here", with wailing vocals and atmospheric yet doomy arrangements.

The booklet features full lyrics and photos, as well as essays from both Liebling and O'Keefe, who talk pretty fondly of the period the band was together. Overall this is a very good collection of songs from a seminal 70's hard rock/metal band that never quite made it, but should have. Listen for yourself and see why, then check out First Daze Here Too for the rest of the story.

Track Listing
1. Forever My Queen
2. When The Screams Come
3. Walk In The Blue Light
4. Starlady
5. Lazylady
6. Review Your Choices
7. Hurricane
8. Livin' In A Ram's Head
9. Earth Flight
10. 20 Buck Spin
11. Be Forewarned
12. Last Days Here

Added: June 22nd 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Relapse Records
Hits: 3282
Language: english

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