Thursday, 16 July 2015

Not to be missed: Pentagram - All Daze Here 1972-76 (Very Good Hardrock)


Size: 237 MB
Bitrate: 256
mp3
Ripped By: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included

Compilation of early material from this hard rocking Sabbath influenced American underground metal band. Mostly unreleased tracks from the first period of this long lived but under recorded outfit. Fairly lo-fi stuff recorded live with some demos and with the first single included, the songs stand up well and the guitar playing is excellent. It is surprising they didn't generate more success. Stand out for me is ":Starlady" with a stunning piece of guitar work that give me goose bumps.Overall rating 4.5/5


The album starts with three of the five songs that came from their March ’73 recording sesh and gives the album its real coherence. However, the album hits its peak later on, so give it time if this stuff don’t smoke thy pole immediately. ‘Forever My Queen’ opens up just like Bang doing Sabbath in that remedial Bleib Alien-meets-‘Future Shock’-style, a grunge-a-holic trawl through the lowest grade of Iommi riffs. Vincent McAllister solos wildly and inappropriately all through and then it just… fades and fucks off in my favourite kind of AM radio fade – 3 secs max. Then, off into the next under 3-minutes bliss of ‘When the Screams Come’, complete with Bill Wardian bibles-at-the-sofa drum fills and Sabbalong time changes. 

Man, these guys are screaming out for an LP of their own but there’s not even bones for these dogs! And slowly out of the mists comes the sub-Joy Division/E Pluribus Sabbalong of ‘Walk in the Blue Light’ in which Vincent McAllister exposes his bassist-turned-guitar hero provenance with another Bleib Alien riff you always thought Ace Frehley woulda been knocking out before his Kiss days (not true, I’m sure). In fact, that whole Roky Erikson/Bobby Liebling thing that the Swedish band Witchcraft had going really manifests here in the atmosphere of ‘Walk in the Blue Light’, enjoying a real soaring clarity and openness that Sabbath obviously never approached because of their ubermetal groovelessness. 

Greg Mayne RICKENBACKER BASS Then, ‘Starlady’ kicks in from three years later and weez talking about a totally different, blazing, auspicious rock experience that sounds like a band that’s huge. Gone is the autistic, post-adolescent in-yer-boots vibe to be replaced with a Horned God confidence that screams and struts. Also, here we gotta nutha extra guitarist called Marty Iverson, who adds considerable weight to the sound and pushes the whole Pentagram trip into a Dust-as-played-by-Montrose experience even something like the Australian UGLY THINGS period of MC5/Yardbirds influenced groups. I know I keep punishing the Dust metaphors but Leibling’s voice is uncannily like Richie Wise’s at times. 

Track 5 is that classic ‘Lazylady’ 7” they recorded a year before as Macabre, and comes on with another ‘Walk in the Blue Light’ morons-on-the-frontier riff (play ‘em back to back – they’ze virtually the same fucking riff: excellent) over an Ace Frehley’s ‘Shock Me’/’Dark Light’-style throw away vocal that meets dirty Frank Zappa around the time of OVERNIGHT SENSATION (though this sucker is a year before that Mothers’ LP) – extremely charming and funny too. This is the toon in which Liebling disses his chick and kicks her out so she buys up the whole apartment block he lives in and has him kicked out, too. Nice.

‘Review your Choices’ is the fourth track from that same session that spawned the first three tracks on this disc. Again, we’re deep in Sabbath territory both lyrically and in its per-riffery. Sounds like Liebling never leaves the first four frets for his songwriting and Vincent McAllsiter is a committed ex-bass player when it comes to copping then staying true to the Liebling lick. He also exceeds at soloing like a flayling moron between each vocal delivery. Satan’s coming round the bend in this one, and there’s a man with a pitchfork, and.. oh whatever, I obviously suck this dung into every orifice with more gusto than most, or you wouldn’t be getting it served up as Album of the Month. Two months after that main sesh came the same Boffo Socko alias 7” ‘Hurricane’ that appears on GUITAR EXPLOSION 2, and is just Hendrix-filtered through Iommi’s week old socks. Deeply excellent, relentless, by numbers and irksome that it ain’t internationally known. A quick 2.05 classic, fade and outtahere. 



Then it’s time for two of the three best tracks on the whole record, and both recorded in their rehearsal with sometime extra guitarist Randy Palmer. ‘Living in a Ram’s Head’ (excellent fucking title, Herr Liebling) has a steaming incessant freight train quality you wanna keep playing over and over and over. Man, if they got more of this rehearsal room stuff in the can, clue me druids, I gots to know! The following track is ‘Earth Flight’ which coulda be spunked out in the late 1960s and appeared on PEBBLES VOLUME 5, or UGLY THINGS, or any classic hard rock LP of the time. Monstrous and full of demons, and worthy of ripping off forever. ’20 Buck Spin’ is the final one of the five track session from March 1973, and man does it smoke my unyielding pole. Vincent McAllister is as good here as he is rock in that photo of him you can see in the review. And that SG is more burning here that Iommi’s ever was (honest!) AND this guy never has to resort to soloing OVER his solos as Iommi did countless times (whaddya mean, I cain’t diss Iommi? Only after 20 years did Iommi’s solos become classic through sheer overplaying and I’ll challenge any non-motherfucker to disprove my unhasty assertion!) Someone should release these five tracks as 7” 33RPM European-style pic sleeve maxi single just so we can judge Pentagram on a contemporary 1973 level and understand the songs in context. This band will surely be revisited again and again in the next few years and will, like lost greats such as the Blue Things and the Swamp Rats, become an accepted part of Rock’s great canon like the little glitch that held that first LP up weren’t fucking owt at all. 

Geof O'Keefe DRUMS‘Be Forewarned’ is up next. What do I say? I been listening to this on heavy rotation for 21 years and it is demented and suffused with the kind of incandescant glow that marks it out as the work of the great. Batman-meets-Lucifer Sam-as-played-by-Heavy period Love is not exactly obvious, kiddies, and I think we see here the reason that Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Green Manalishi’ influenced everyone (except its own writer): it has that LOVE IT TO DEATH interweaving minor key dervish quality that we all try to cop, but rarely even glimpse. 

Then, we conclude with Pentagram’s finest hour by about ten bazzillion miles. ‘Last Daze Here’ is a beautiful, gleaming jewel of a death trip, with Bobby singing like he’s staring out of some spectacular ice palace and ain’t never coming back to the real world. He’s Mithra trapped in the mountain, he’s Loki with the poison reigning down on him,, but there ain’t nobody there to wipe it away in this particklier scenario. This song is imbued with a sense of tragedy you rarely hear in heavy rock. For those who don’t quite get it… whatever. But if you ever approached that post-everything vacuum, that empty cathedral in your head, that hollow, unspeaking, unblinking, unhuman emotionless inertia that even Iggy could only hint at in the flatness of ‘Sick of you’ then you truly NEED NEED NEED this song in your life. If Pentagram had only done this one song and been killed in a plane crash thereafter, we’d still be celebrating it 50 years from now. And when Bobby takes it down from his dazed almost whispered tenor to flat shark-eyed semi-spoken baritone and states: ‘Said it’s bin a little bit too long’, you feel the ice melt, then re-freeze instantly, and you know in that moment how tragic human life is, how intolerably short human life is, how the moments of adolescence that resurface in adult life must be celebrated and further celebrated, then howled about, shrieked out, screamed out… man, we are dead and in the fucking ground for so long… No No No No No No No… Gimme Life and gimme the six minutes of this toon on endless rotation.



Although PENTAGRAM did not officially form until 1971, the beginnings of the band date back to 1970, when vocalist Bobby Liebling joined Washington DC area band, SPACE MEAT, who then changed their name to STONE BUNNY. Aside from Liebling, the line-up featured John Jennings (guitar), Greg Mayne (bass) and Geof O'Keefe (drums), all of whom later turned up in PENTAGRAM. STONE BUNNY only stayed together for a few months because Liebling's harder vocal style wasn't right for Jennings' often melodic material, and they parted ways with the Jennings/Mayne/O'Keefe trio reverting back to the moniker SPACE MEAT before splitting up a brief time later. 

In the fall of 1971, Liebling and O'Keefe decided to pool their talents and form a band that could play originals in the heavy style they both loved. In addition to Liebling (vocals) and O'Keefe (switching to guitar), the very first line-up featured Vincent McAllister (bass), and Steve Martin (drums). They began working up original material influenced by their idols including Blue Cheer, The Frost, The Groundhogs, Stray, and Sir Lord Baltimore, and yet even in this embryonic phase, the sound was uniquely PENTAGRAM. After a month, John Jennings returned to the fold giving the band a twin-guitar style of groups like Wishbone Ash and Thin Lizzy but it soon became apparent that further fine-tuning was needed. Martin's jazz-influence style wasn't right for the heavy direction the band wanted to go in, and so O'Keefe returned to the drums. This sadly unrecorded Mark III line-up of Liebling/Jennings/McAllister/O'Keefe lasted for all of one rehearsal which blew everyone away, but later that evening, Jennings phoned O'Keefe and said he really didn't want to play heavy hard rock, leaving the remaining three members disappointed and without a guitarist. 



The trio soldiered on briefly with Liebling playing rudimentary guitar so they could at least keep working on material until one day when bassist McAllister suggested he try playing guitar. Liebling and O'Keefe figured they had nothing to lose and after a few numbers, realized there had been a guitar hero posing as a bassist in the line-up all that time! They were blown away by his Leigh Stephens-styled soloing, wild and raw. It was just what they needed. O'Keefe promptly phoned his former SPACE MEAT pal bassist Greg Mayne (who also was a friend of Vincent's to begin with, living in the same area) and on Christmas day 1971, the classic "original line-up" of PENTAGRAM was born, although technically it was the 4th version of the band. They rehearsed as often as possible for three to four hours a night at a bulk mailing warehouse in Alexandria, VA where O'Keefe's dad was an executive. Just before the band's first promotional-only single, "Be Forewarned"/"Lazy Lady" was to be pressed in the summer of 1972, the band decided to avoid the potential controversy of being labelled a 'satanic' band and changed their name to MACABRE. Subsequently realizing people had difficulty correctly pronouncing that word (Muh-cah-bra), they went through a number of other names such as VIRGIN DEATH and WICKED ANGEL before finally and permanently reverting back to PENTAGRAM. They played their first live gig on December 8th, 1973 at Montgomery Junior College in Maryland. This Liebling/McAllister/Mayne/O'Keefe line-up remained constant (with the exception of two additions) until late 1976. 

Product Description
Before the name was even coined, Legendary D.C. outfit PENTAGRAM was helping to invent the beast called heavy metal. For over thirty years the band, led by eccentric founder and vocalist Bobby Liebling, has remained true to its vision of songcraft in the macabre art. This unwavering dedication has influenced scores of renowned musicians some three decades on, and the legacy grows stronger with each passing year. First Daze Here Too is a brand new 2-disc set containing rare and unreleased studio recordings and live rehearsals from the early 70's. A deluxe 28-page booklet includes lyrics, detailed historical liner notes by drummer Geof O'Keefe and scores of never-before-seen PENTAGRAM photography! First Daze Here Too is 22 tracks of vintage PENTAGRAM classics from the vaults of the influential and critically-acclaimed D.C. legends!!! The legend lives on! 

Disc 1:
01. Forever My Queen (1973)
02. When the Screams Come (1973)
03. Walk in the Blue Light (1973)
04. Starlady (1976
05. Lazylady (1972)
06. Review Your Choices (1973)
07. Hurricane (1973)
08. Livin’ in a Ram’s Head (1974)
09. Earth Flight (1974)
10. 20 Buck Spin (1973)
11. Be Forewarned (1972)
12. Last Days Here (1974)

Disc 2:  
01. Wheel of Fortune  
02. When the Screams Come  
03. Under My Thumb  
04. Smokescreen  
05. Teaser  
06. Little Games  
07. Much Too Young to Know
  
Disc 3: 
01. Virgin Death  
02. Yes I Do  
03. Ask no More  
04. Man  
05. Be Forewarned  
06. Catwalk  
07. Die in Your Sleep  
08. Frustration  
09. Target  
10. Everything's Turning To Night  
11. Take me Away  
12. Nightmare Gown  
13. Cartwheel  
14. Cat & Mouse  
15. Show 'Em How  

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great post.