Posts Tagged ‘Pentagram’

I love doom. 2015’s doom has been in some places, magnificent. It is the most primal and emotional subgenre; the closest to the progenitor riffs of Iommi and ghostly wail of Ozzy. There has been some triumphs this year in this genre, and here are the Killchain top 10. It contains some of the same albums I put forward to the Sleeping Shaman as my top ten, but some have changed.

10. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats – The Night Creeper: A last minute addition to the list, where the Deadbeats swoop in to amaze with their groove ridden psychedelic doom. The journey continues deeper into the bowels of doom

9. A Dream of Poe – An Infinity Emerged: An album designed to wring pure emotion from you in every way. Crooning vocals, mourning riffs and a creaking atmosphere builds into one of the gloomiest pieces of gothic doom art this year. Affecting in the most primal way.

8. Thorr-Axe – The Gates of Winter: Another masterpiece of riffing, a crushing swing of the doom sword to smote the enemies below. Thorr-Axe blend some hardcore tinges into their swelling post metal/doom mix, and the result is a heady album of bludgeon and glacial power.

7. Paradise Lost – A Plague Within: Yorkshire doom masters bring the heavy, the gothic melancholy, and just about everything else in their arsenal to create a monolithic slab of deathly doom majesty. Another prime example of how the golden oldies never fail to amaze or deliver.

6. Pentagram – Curious Volume: A triumphant return for one of doom’s legends. ‘Curious Volume’ sees Pentagram regain their place as one of doom’s figureheads with swaggering groove, achingly heavy riffs and Liebling’s soulful croon sounding better than it has in years. Don’t close the casket on them yet…

5. Shrine of the Serpent – Shrine of the Serpent: A pure evilness abounds in this three track crushing death/doom from these US newcomers. This is the sound of misery crushing you into nothing, with a fetid stench of death about every riff and every vomited incantation. Doomed to destroy

4. High on Fire: Luminiferous: RIFFS! That’s pretty much the whole modus operandi for High on Fire, and ‘Luminiferous’ delivers a metric fuckton of riffs. Matt Pike and co have always possessed this primal power in voice, riff and drum, and ‘Luminiferous’ may be their most definite statement yet.

3. Lucifer – Lucifer I: The sultry, smoky occult doom stylings of Lucifer bring me back to the feelings of joy last year when I encountered Mount Salem for the first time. The groove and the simple beauty of each riff is hypnotic, while the vocal hooks keep you from wandering. Stunning.

2. Windhand – Grief’s Infernal Flower: The band you rely on to fill Electric Wizard’s space when they’re off watching horror movies and smoking weed. Windhand have an uncanny knack of writing these dense, monolithic riffs that rumble through your very bones. Psychedelic groove that drags you to the void

1.Undersmile – Anhedonia: The scorching primal beauty of ‘Anhedonia’ is clear for everyone to see. Balancing heft with glacial beauty, melancholy with crushing power of riff, Undersmile’s 2015 effort was one of the finest records in any genre I got this year.

Originally published here:

The name Pentagram is uttered in hushed, reverent tones around my house. Their signature is on the Declaration of Doom, and their heavy blues sound is all over the original blueprints. It’s difficult to try and take a new record by such icons objectively, especially when the shadow of albums like ‘Relentless’ loom so vastly over everything. But I’ve got to look at this in a bubble, it is only fair. They may be legends and pioneers, but that doesn’t give them a free pass for any old dross (I’m looking at you Metallica).

Opener ‘Lay Down And Die’ is invigoratingly upbeat, possessing an almost Clutch like stomp to it, captured perfectly in Victor Griffin’s classic guitar tone. ‘The Tempter Push’ has it too, that infectious groove that every doom band wants to inject into their riffs but not all manage it. Bobby Liebling hasn’t sounded this good in years either, his soulful scratchy croon easing you back into that classic era. Back when doom was just heavy rock with oodles of riffs and dark subject matter. ‘Lay Down And Die’ is actually a cut from an old tape from the late 60s/early 70s, but it sounds so vibrant you’d never guess.

The riff takes a journey south with the achingly heavy opening to ‘Dead Bury Dead’, oozing with a whiskey bar room feel. The Liebling/Griffin partnership always brings together fantastic songs, but one of doom’s all-time great pairings have surpassed themselves here. Griffin’s guitar wringing beautifully fluid solos out of that smoky jam room, while Liebling has always focused his personal demons into great song writing. The desert rocking vibe of ‘Earth Flight’ makes it super catchy, and the propulsive ‘Walk Alone’ and the lonely, haunting title track showcases the band’s ability to create music that just gets to you.

The upbeat ‘Misunderstood’ takes us straight to my album highlight, the simply excellent swagger of ‘Close The Casket’. It’s got that natural groove that bands like Clutch could only dream of, and that’s no disrespect to Clutch, that’s just fact. It is a thing of beauty, and might be up there with my top riffs of the year. Every time you hear a riff that’s vaguely familiar, it is the sound of ALL the bands who’ve taken influence from those rumbling strings, and there are many. ‘Curious Volume’ is full of those classic riffs, and the simple fact that the band are referenced so frequently speaks volumes for the quality.

‘Curious Volume’ brings together once again two of doom finest exporters of the riff, the vibe, the DOOM! Pentagram have struggled to feel this vital, this alive, in the past. But ‘Curious Volume’ captures them in rare form, carving mighty rawk from a template they helped to define and create all those years ago.