Pentagram - Last Rites (Metal Blade/Riot)

Bobby Liebling and Victor Griffin reunite to crush the doom opposition
Release Date: 
11 Apr 2011 - 11:30pm

Much like Iron Maiden’s Final Frontier, Pentagram goes with a title for its first album in seven years that could very easily be construed as hinting at the final demise for this seemingly most indestructible of outfits. Let’s hope that’s not the case for, if, as rumours persist, Pentagram mainman Bobby Liebling has a massive store of unreleased material still left in his locker – and if it’s even half as good as Last Rites that’s a lot of listening pleasure still left for the rest of us in the years to come.
The hope that that’s the case stems mainly from the fact that nothing on Last Rites is new – Walk in Blue Light and Everything’s Turning to Night are both reworkings of previously recorded material whilst everything else has been dredged from Liebling’s incredibly murky past to make an absolutely stunning album. There’s a lot of doom metal on the market these days, but very little of it absolutely drips with what can only be described as ‘the right stuff’ like ...Rites does. Opener Treat Me Right is about as workaday as things get, but even that is a clattering behemoth of a song that sets the album moving in fine style. By the time the album has reached its midpoint – the staggering brilliance of Windmills and Chimes, a song which improbably brings to mind thoughts of Tom Jones jamming with Black Sabbath on some horrendous late sixties US TV variety show(probably the Sonny and Cher Show i'd imagine) -  we’ve already experienced the very best in crushing rifferama, smoke-fuelled psychedelia and straight up juggernaut rock n’roll in a variety of settings that do quite literally show the young guns out there peddling their own versions of doom how it’s done. The key to all of this may well be the return of Cathedral/Place of Skulls axeman Victor Griffin to the fold; the man just has the right feel for Liebling’s serpentine sermons of filth, and his solo at the end of ...Chimes is really something rather splendid to behold, and something you’ll find yourself returning to over and again to enjoy.
Liebling has now by all accounts cleaned up his act, which we all know virtually assures the death of whatever creative drive the man has left in him, but, if he can get his mojo working in the recording studio again – and everything here suggests that that is the case – and resurrect some more of that vintage seventies gear he’s got stashed away – and if he can keep Victor Griffin onside long enough (there’s no doubt that a special magic occurs in Pentagram when Leibling and Griffin collide) then I for one can’t wait to see what this band brings us next. But for now I’ll be satisfied with Last Rites - an absolute stormer of an album.