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PENTAGRAM- Livin’ in a Ram’s Head, b/w When the Screams come 7″ (High Voltage Records, USA, 1979)

PENTAGRAM sure have a one of a kind history, one that is not so unlike from that of Pagan Altar, for instance. Old bands that never got out of their regional context in their heyday and only started to get international recognition during the 90s and 00s. But other than Pagan Altar (the only altar I worship), Pentagram’s musical output is very inconsistent in quality and not comparable with the brilliance of PA.
Some people call this band a part of the Doom Metal scene, for reasons I can not quite understand. Doom Metal is a subgenre of the 80s (like basically all Heavy Metal subgenres are), whereas Pentagram is a heavy rock band of the late 60s, early 70s. You may call this Hard Rock, Stoner Rock or whatever, but Doom Metal this is not. Why should it be, anyway.

This is PENTAGRAM’s best release. Unlike the albums, that all tend to be a bit of a drag with the overall lack of constant quality songwriting and much goofiness, these two songs don’t get on your nerves – and they’re a bit heavier than the material on the three previous 7″s. The sound here is the best the band ever had: Dirty, raw, pounding and you should hear this 7″ on my stereo – it’s really impressive, no mp3 can ever reproduce it in its full glory. “Livin’ in a Ram’s Head” sure is PENTAGRAM’s best track of the 70s output (my fave song will be “The Day of Reckoning” from the same titled album from 1987). Apparantly, these songs were written in 1973 already and you sure can hear that. They have an american sexiness Black Sabbath never had (or needed).
After this 7″, the band fell into a long sleep until the release of the first album in 1985 – and if music history would be a logical process of sorts, making certain phenomena disappear once they had lost their relevance, the band would have never come back to life. But maybe the whole retro thing already set in the mid 80s. Or maybe some bands and fans were just a bit too stubborn and continued to do what they liked, which is not a bad thing, after all. When I ask around about PENTAGRAM among old buddies who were there in the 80s, nobody seems to have ever even heard of them, that’s how irrelevant they were to the original, well, Doom Metal scene. Until, as I said, the retro wave had swept them back to the surface and given them some sort of historical relevance they never had (in the internet you will for instance read that PENTAGRAM were “pioneers of Doom Metal”, which is complete nonsense).
One or two years ago, I saw them live (with a horrible reincarnation of the band once known as TROUBLE, the quasi-archetype of Doom Metal) and one quick glance in the audience made it clear: About 80% were in their 20s. Fair enough.

This one goes out especially to Elisa and I hope it gives her the right ideas about Metal and whatnot. 😉

Living in a Ram’s Head.mp3
When the Screams come.mp3

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