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Pentagram

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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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Stations Featuring
Pentagram


Albums by
Pentagram

Top Songs by
Pentagram

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

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