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Curious Volume
September 2015
Released: 2015, Peaceville Records
Rating: 2.0/5
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz

Pentagram are kind of like a doom version of AC/DC. They’ve been around forever and all of their albums pretty much sound the same, albeit some better than others. Classic ‘70’s inspired riffs, a mix of new material and reimagined older tunes (some that predate you reading this by at least a decade), and Bobby Liebling’s signature tales of good and evil - it’s a formula that Pentagram has refined over the course of four decades. CURIOUS VOLUME doesn’t deviate from that roadmap; nay, it desperately wants to prove its value to the Pentagram legacy.

But man, Bobby Liebling sounds tired.

The man’s personal struggles have been well documented, and the band has endured an almost Charlie Brown existence; every step closer to the football of fame seems to only move it further away. But 2011’s LAST RITES was a definite step in the right direction and the 2012 LAST DAYS HERE documentary earned Pentagram some goodwill and an overdue moment in the spotlight. CURIOUS VOLUME tries to carry on like nothing has changed since that time, but one only has to listen to these 11 tracks to know that something is amiss.

The obvious issue is Bobby Liebling himself - 40 years of rock n’ roll excess has finally taken a toll on his voice. Despite double tracking and studio wizardry, his vocals are frail and often sound like he’s fighting to get the air out of his lungs. “The Tempter Push” sounds like the rummy at your local bar on karaoke night and “Earth Flight”, a song he’s been singing for decades, sounds like a wet sack of syllables falling out of his mouth. It gets to a point where you almost feel bad for passing judgement, and CURIOUS VOLUME is unfortunately littered with moments like this.

The songs on CURIOUS VOLUME are also a mixed bag. You’ve got some definite standouts like “Dead Bury Dead”, “Close the Casket” and the title track, where the miles in Liebling’s voice are paired magnificently against Victor Griffin’s iconic riffs. These tunes all reference the theme of “I know where I’ve been, and I know where I’m going”, and there’s something genuinely moving in their presentation. And then you’ve got throwaways like the wannabe biker anthem “Misunderstood” and the directionless, marble mouthed “Sufferin’”. At least LAST RITES sounded like it had a greater sense of purpose, CURIOUS VOLUME sounds like it’s just trying to keep up appearances and hopes that nobody notices. Speaking of sound, the production on CURIOUS VOLUME is more processed than anything bearing a Pentagram moniker should allow. The whole thing sounds very pro-tool’d, and despite a valiant performance from longtime ally Victor Griffin and whoever else is in the band at this moment, it’s a sonically flat experience.

Is there a future for Pentagram? I have mixed feelings about that. As much as I adore the band’s catalog and their influence on the genre, CURIOUS VOLUME is proof that the reaper always catches up with you eventually. Be Forewarned, Pentagram's Day of Reckoning is upon us.
Track Listing

1. Lay Down and Die
2. The Tempter Push
3. Dead Bury Dead
4. Earth Flight
5. Walk Alone
6. Curious Volume
7. Misunderstood
8. Close the Casket
9. Sufferin'
10. Devil's Playground
11. Because I Made It


Bobby Liebling - Vocals
Victor Griffin - Guitars
Greg Turley - Bass
Pete Campbell – Drums

Next review: » Pentagram - Curious Volume
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Curious Volume
September 2015
Released: 2015, Peaceville
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Helias Papadopoulos

When we speak of legends, then Pentagram is included. Bobby Liebling and his gang are out there and they just unleashed their new doom/hard rock beast called CURIOUS VOLUME.

Pentagram is one of the oldest current living bands. After Black Sabbath, they are considered as the milestone act of doom metal. The temperament of Pentagram did not leave room for such any weaknesses for over four decades. That is the so-called success, ladies and gentlemen.

Bobby Liebling is still alive and kills. Victor Griffin returned after the BE FOREWARNED" (1994) and the great Joe Hasselvander shines by his absence. Really, how much you care for the current line-up since at least two dozens of musicians have passed through the ranks over the years and quite a few bands created by them? Probalby, not at all. Justifiably, you are pleased by hearing the news about the release of new album by Pentagram. That’s it.

Based on probabilities and other non-objective factors, CURIOUS VOLUME could not be a moderate album. When you have already affected and infuenced a ton of bands and have ripped off even by the stones, what the hell, even there is no inspiration you gonna write a bad song and if you are Pentagram you gonna make it a good one. That’s the sign of a rock star (not in the frameworks of TV of course or as most people may believe of what rock star is!). But here lies the greatness of the Pentagram. The thirst for creation and composition reaches your ears from hearing the very first note of the starting "Lay Down and Die". The first six tracks carry the strain and the potential to renounce everything you have heard in recent years in the doom / rock genre, with "Sufferin’" to surprises, impresses and releases and your last inhibitions to become the underage mistress of Bobby Liebling!

In the year 2015, and almost after 45 years of activeness, Pentagram ratified for good the value that we have given occasionally in bands who worship devoutly and, on the other, renewed for several years still keeping them on the elusive prince of the underground. For some mysterious reason not looked, pleased me the presence of moderate and indifferent moments in the album. It may be due to the fact that these did not exceed masterpieces of the past, but perhaps have to do with the fact that these moments are accompanied by melodies that will even envied themselves. I do not know and I do not want to know. CURIOUS VOLUME is the epitome of everything that can be called as doom, hard rock, and heavy stuff.
Track Listing

01. Lay Down And Die
02. The Tempter Push
03. Dead Bury Dead
04. Earth Flight
05. Walk Alone
06. Curious Volume
07. Misunderstood
08. Close The Casket
09. Sufferin'
10. Devil's Playground
11. Because I Made It


Bobby Liebling - vocals
Victor Griffin - guitar
Greg Turley - bass
"Minnesota" Pete Campbell - drums

Next review: » Pentagram - Last Rites
Previous review: » Penetrator - Penetrator

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