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5.0 out of 5 stars 'Show 'Em How' ? Bobby Liebling invented it!, 5 Mar 2014
This review is from: Show 'em How (Audio CD)
To the enlightened few Pentagram are one of the primary architects of heavy metal, and clear progenitors of Doom metal, while to others they remain a total mystery, a real dichotomy, as how on earth can a band (or more specifically the sole remaining original member, the skeletal Bobby Liebling) who have triumphantly survived countless harsh travails merely to release a meagre, yet astonishingly influential back catalogue mean so little to people outside the hermetic, subterranean world of doom? Tis unforgivable that, Pentagram one of the proto-metal trailblazers should be relegated to such a lowly position in the musical canon, especially since the contemporary heavy metal arena is polluted with foppish dilettantes and processed, cash-hungry coat-tail riders. Fortunately this spurious label is ill suited to vocal iconoclast, Bobby Liebling, whose ossified image on the CD artwork apparently belies any truth in the rumour that he remains among the living! If the godfather of Doom didn't look so dessicated, and downright cadaverous as the honourable Mr. Liebling, one couldn't help but feel a little short changed, which gloriously doesn't apply to the latest and most welcome Pentagram recording, 'Show 'em How' which in my humble opinion is considerably more than a fine return to form, even if you dissolved the legendary persona of Bobby Liebling himself, you would still be clutching 10 earthy slabs of emphatic, hard-rockin', lead-bellied, psyched-out doom, of course the point is moot as this IS PENTAGRAM which pushes it up into the dizzy realms of musical superlatives.
In the past Bobby Liebling has chosen his musical acolytes wisely and does so again, as the current Pentagram line-up is burgeoning with the manifold talents of Kelly Carmichael: (Internal Void) Guitars, Adam Heinzman: (Internal Void) Bass, and Mike Smail: (Penance/Dream Death) which on paper reads as a veritable Doom super-group and gloriously transmogrifies into some magnificently low-slung, grooved-out Doom. On a personal level I am a HUGE fan of Kelly Carmichael's impassioned, psychedelic, chunk blowing riffage and can't readily think of another six stringer with all the relevant subtleties and talent for a incendiary, psyched-out lead to complement this iconic outfit, and within seconds of the bombastic opener, 'Wheel of fortune' his weighty, boogie-bomber power chords are ample proof that 'Show em How' was gonna do just that. DOOM ON! 'Wheel of Fortune' is a stunning interpretation of the 70's rough hewn doom-stone, and Pentagram circa 2005 not only give it a righteous polish, but the defiantly boisterous and fleshy Kozlowski production inflates the track with considerately more heft than the original and allows for a synchronous melding betwixt the tracks of old, 'Wheel of Fortune', 'Star Lady', Cat walk, 'Last day's here' and the new, fat-bottomed doom-adelia, orchestrated with Gibson maestro, Kelly Carmichael. The extra-muscled, redux versions of 1970's Pentagram should be taken on their own quite considerable merit, as they don't interfere with the pleasure gleaned from the scratchier classics of ore, but successfully adds an ambiguous, timeless quality to, 'Show 'Em How' making it impossible to define which era this Pentagram recording belongs in, besides, such banal categorisation is redundant when discussing Pentagram since they exist in some fantasmagoric doomiverse, beyond conventional space and time, forcefully powered by a voluminous, tube-amp tone, which coupled with Bobby Liebling's Faustian vocals and knack for writing affecting graveyard mantras make for a supersensory, head-nodding extravaganza!
The vigorous interplay between Mike Smail's propulsive, mountainous Drums and Adam Heinzmans', sub-crust, cavernous bass playing enriches all of the tracks with an electrifying core of Rock N' Roll urgency and while there are intoxicating and pungent echoes of the G-Force psychedelia of both Penance and Internal Void, their gravitational bombast consolidates this new Pentagram line-up into a musical powerhouse of some considerable grandeur.
Considering the smack-head lifestyle of Bobby Liebling, his profoundly bedevilled and inimitable vocal range is on splendid form here, and if anything his leathery, over-medicated larynx adds a textural, sonorous, and decidedly eerie subtext to these twilight, hell-stomping epistles. 'Show 'Em How' is one of those genuinely rewarding albums whose initial enigma unfolds gradually during successive playings, and by the tenth spin you begin to wonder how you ever lived without it.
Fave tracks: Elektra Glide, Show 'Em how.
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Show 'em How
Show 'em How by Pentagram (Audio CD - 2004)
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