Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pentagram Week, Part 2: Day of Reckoning

It has been said that you have your entire life to make your debut album but only a couple years to make your second. Pentagram is a leading example of this trope with their sophomore full-length album coming out a mere two years after their very long-awaited debut. Fortunately, one can't accuse them of rushing too much as Day Of Reckoning just might be their greatest release.

The guys in Pentagram have always stated that they were more inspired by the likes of Blue Cheer than Black Sabbath, but Day Of Reckoning is where they went all out with an album that the Birmingham giants should've released between Master of Reality and Volume 4. The groovy "Broken Vows" and "When The Screams Come" are uncanny counterparts to "Supernaut" and "Snowblind" right down to the Iommi-aping guitar tone. They even lift a couple lines from classic Sabbath with "Evil Seed" invoking the opening line from "Sweet Leaf" and the pulsating "Wartime" mirroring a cry from "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath." The songwriting quality keeps things from being too derivative and the fact that Pentagram was one of their contemporaries certainly helps.

The diversity that encompasses the seven songs on here also adds to their enjoyment. While a good half of the album consists of groovy mid-tempo doom, the title track and "Madman" offer a more fuzzy, energetic approach. In contrast, "Burning Saviour" is one of the darkest Pentagram songs out there thanks to its shifts between foreboding acoustics and pounding outbursts all set to a nine minute dirge. On the flip side, "Wartime" may not be as gripping as the tracks before it and the bass still isn't that prominent, but these factors are easy to overlook.

Thus, Day of Reckoning is not only Pentagram's best album but one of the strongest that doom has to offer. The band retains the chemistry seen on Relentless but also trumps it by giving an improved production job to the perfect balance between their 70s heyday and the heavy Death Row sound. Sadly, the band folded before they could release a timely followup, leading one to wonder if they could've released something even better...

"Day Of Reckoning," "Evil Seed," "Broken Vows," and "When The Screams Come"

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