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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. After years of silence, Liebling was finally encouraged to resume his career in mid-1978, when he met a musical soul mate in local drummer Joey Hasselvander, but it wasn't until Halloween 1981 that Pentagram was truly brought back from the dead. By then, Hasselvander had joined a new group called Death Row, which featured a young, Black Sabbath-obsessed guitarist named Victor Griffin. When Liebling stopped by for a jam, creative sparks flew almost immediately and with the addition of bassist Martin Swaney, the group officially assumed the Pentagram name once again. More years of hard work playing in clubs and composing new material followed, but in 1985, Pentagram finally recorded a full-length, self-titled debut (minus Hasselvander, who was replaced at the last minute by drummer Stuart Rose). Later retitled Relentless, the record may have been dedicated to Blue Cheer, but its contents owed an almost singular stylistic debt to Black Sabbath and along with its even more accomplished 1987 successor Day of Reckoning, it helped set the stage for the looming doom metal movement. Not fast enough for Pentagram to capitalize, however, and following another lengthy hiatus, a new contract from Peaceville Records finally led to another comeback via 1994's Be Forewarned LP (featuring a reinstated Hasselvander). But the musical climate of the time was very unfriendly to heavy metal of any kind, and the doom scene had never managed to coalesce as expected, leading Pentagram to another, seemingly final breakup. 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
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Top Songs by

  1.   Song
  2.   Wolf's Blood
  3.   The Ghoul
  4.   Bride of Evil
  5.   Nightmare Gown
  6.   Be Forewarned
  7.   Forever My Queen
  8.   The World Will Love Again
  9.   Go in Circles (Reachin' for an End)
  10.   Live Free and Burn
  11.   Flaming
  12.   You're Lost, I'm Free
  13.   The Deist
  14.   Death Row
  15.   Relentless
  16.   Much Too Young to Know
  17.   Last Days Here
  18.   Hurricane
  19.   Walk in the Blue Light
  20.   Tidal Wave
  21.   Buzzsaw
  22.   Megalania
  23.   Mow You Down
  24.   Gorgon's Slave
  25.   Target
  26.   Change of Heart
  27.   Because I Made It
  28.   The Devil's Playground
  29.   Earth Flight
  30.   Treat Me Right
  31.   Life Blood
  32.   Review Your Choices
  33.   Call the Man
  34.   Drive Me to the Grave
  35.   Ask No More
  36.   Close the Casket
  37.   Walk Alone
  38.   Lay Down and Die
  39.   Into the Ground
  40.   Death In 1st Person
  41.   Take Me Away
  42.   Everything's Turning to Night
  43.   Die in Your Sleep
  44.   Yes I Do
  45.   Virgin Death
  46.   Teaser
  47.   Under My Thumb
  48.   Wheel of Fortune
  49.   Day of Reckoning
  50.   Dying World
  51.   Run My Course
  52.   Sign of the Wolf
  53.   All Your Sins
  54.   Wartime
  55.   Madman
  56.   Evil Seed
  57.   Vampire Love
  58.   Sinister
  59.   20 Buck Spin
  60.   Lazy Lady
  61.   When the Screams Come
  62.   After the Last
  63.   Sub-Intro
  64.   Bloodlust
  65.   Gilla?
  66.   Downhill Slope
  67.   The Bees
  68.   Livin' in a Ram's Head
  69.   Burning Rays
  70.   Petrified
  71.   Frustration
  72.   Vampyre Love
  73.   I Am Vengeance
  74.   Nothing Left
  75.   Out of Luck
  76.   Catwalk
  77.   The Diver
  78.   Show'em How
  79.   Horseman
  80.   Cat & Mouse
  81.   Broken Vows
  82.   Burning Savior
  83.   Mad Dog
  84.   8
  85.   Sub-Basement
  86.   A Timeless Heart
  87.   Dead Bury Dead
  88.   Starlady
  89.   American Dream
  90.   Misunderstood
  91.   Burning Saviour
  92.   Curious Volume
  93.   Man
  94.   Cartwheel
  95.   Sufferin'
  96.   Windmills and Chimes
  97.   Too Late
  98.   The Tempter Push
  99.   Smokescreen
  100.   Little Games

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