Pentagram: Curious Volume

Doom metallers 30 years after their debut.

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Pentagram have enjoyed a lot of goodwill in recent years, following the “Anvil effect” of the documentary Last Days, which depicted the tribulations of lead singer Bobby Liebling, reduced to drug addiction and living in his parents’ basement before recovering when the fortunes of the band revived. Moving stuff and you wish him well.

Alas, Curious Volume is best heard with the volume switched to zero. Even the accompanying press release can find little more descriptive to say of its contents than “catchy” and “classic”.

From the manically undistinguished soloing of The Tempter Push to the leaden progressions of Walk Alone, it is uniquely generic, extraordinarily ordinary. Dead Bury Dead is as appealing as digging a grave on a rainy day while Close The Casket merely makes you wish you could join whoever is in there, so comprehensively does it deprive you of the will to live.

The best that can be said is that it is executed with seasoned competence, and will only appeal to those whose devotion to Pentagram beggars rational analysis.

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David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.