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Pentagram

One of the most enduring and influential underground bands in heavy metal history, Pentagram's career was almost 15 years old by the time they finally managed to record their first album. Though invariably led by mysterious frontman Bobby Liebling, the band's volatile membership made it difficult to maintain any kind of momentum and kept them confined to metal's outer fringes. But interest in Pentagram's convoluted history continues to grow and their crucial contributions to the development of heavy metal seem at last to be receiving some of their late, lamented due.

Pentagram first came into existence in 1971 in Woodbridge, VA, when singer Bobby Liebling met guitarist/drummer Geof O'Keefe. In the coming months, the duo played with a variety of local musicians, including guitarist John Jennings, bassist Vincent McAllister, and drummer Steve Martin, but by early 1972, McAllister had switched to guitar, O'Keefe took over on drums, and Greg Mayne joined on bass guitar. This lineup of Liebling, McAllister, Mayne, and O'Keefe would remain intact for the next six years, and though they occasionally performed under different names, including Virgin Death, Stone Bunny, and Macabre (the last of which graced their first single, "Be Forewarned," in 1972), they always inevitably returned to Pentagram. Another element of stability was their musical direction, which never strayed too far from the distorted psychedelic hard rock of heavy metal pioneers like Blue Cheer and the Groundhogs. A set of independent 7" recordings, "Human Hurricane" and "When the Screams Come" (this last was never released) preceded their first live performance on December 15, 1973, by which time a visible Black Sabbath influence had begun to take hold. Second guitarist Randy Palmer joined their ranks mid-1974 and his addition coincided with Pentagram's most prolific period of the decade, including close calls with record deals from both Columbia and Casablanca Records. But by 1976, Palmer was out (briefly replaced by Marty Iverson) and all of the band's professional prospects had dried up, leaving Pentagram to grind to a halt at the end of the year.

After years of silence, Liebling was finally encouraged to resume his career in mid-1978, when he met a musical soul mate in local drummer Joey Hasselvander, but it wasn't until Halloween 1981 that Pentagram was truly brought back from the dead. By then, Hasselvander had joined a new group called Death Row, which featured a young, Black Sabbath-obsessed guitarist named Victor Griffin. When Liebling stopped by for a jam, creative sparks flew almost immediately and with the addition of bassist Martin Swaney, the group officially assumed the Pentagram name once again. More years of hard work playing in clubs and composing new material followed, but in 1985, Pentagram finally recorded a full-length, self-titled debut (minus Hasselvander, who was replaced at the last minute by drummer Stuart Rose). Later retitled Relentless, the record may have been dedicated to Blue Cheer, but its contents owed an almost singular stylistic debt to Black Sabbath and along with its even more accomplished 1987 successor Day of Reckoning, it helped set the stage for the looming doom metal movement. Not fast enough for Pentagram to capitalize, however, and following another lengthy hiatus, a new contract from Peaceville Records finally led to another comeback via 1994's Be Forewarned LP (featuring a reinstated Hasselvander). But the musical climate of the time was very unfriendly to heavy metal of any kind, and the doom scene had never managed to coalesce as expected, leading Pentagram to another, seemingly final breakup.

Then in 1998, a clandestine, unauthorized collection of early Pentagram demos and live bootlegs, entitled Human Hurricane, was unexpectedly released, prompting Liebling and Hasselvander to take action. Both 1999's Review Your Choices and 2001's Sub-Basement combined new compositions with updated versions of the band's ancient classics and featured Hasselvander playing every instrument. The controversy also sparked greater interest in Pentagram's music and its substantial impact on the heavy metal genre, culminating in the priceless (and this time fully authorized) collection of long-lost '70s recordings entitled First Daze Here (The Vintage Collection). Another compilation, Turn to Stone, arrived later in 2002, compiling material from their Peaceville albums that had gone out of print in the late 90's. ~ Ed Rivadavia, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Was a teen inthe 1980's and man I never heard of these guys...I was deep into hair metal and obscura. But I just discovered this band a few years ago, and was like WTF! They wail, I agree forever my queen is an anthem, as well as living in a rams head and: 20 buck spin blew my mind.!!!!! These guys should get more credit.

frustration made pantera an attitude. Son of a biscuit.
I'm an s o b like Sophie from the ps1 game. I call my combo whoop a**.
led zep wishes it was Diamond Head. When I get my RSD, and my mom becomes a provider, I'll start buying porn. On DVD. Like Beavis.
Best US band ever that triumphs all others including the self proclaimed overlords Zeppelin. IMhO.
Everybody's a critic
forever my Queen
relentless
Sign of the wolf is the best song they did. Really like Pentagram
Virgin death
the ghoul
dying world
star lady
burning saviour
death row
Just like Riot but better
God I used to listen to Penagram all the time . They had a lot of influence on the way I play my bass . Damn shame they had all the problems they did
Love Pentagram
Good job Pandora putting the "right stuff" out there. Listeners learn so much from this app.
DaniKah.sub. C D @ G m a i l . c o m LOVES PENTEE!!!!!
Listin on shrooomsssss
Este band és Chido.
Wish I can give this TWO thumbs up!
Just discovered this band. They rock!
Why even bring up better than sabbath. Pentagram is a great band and sabbath is bloody Sabbath lol
jkaufman804
really fun-love it welcome back bobby
Now I don my electric axe...bobby for president '016 why not
It's called Last Days Here
whats the documentary called?
There's a cool docu on Netflix about Pentagram/Bo b b y . . . Highly recommended.
They're just so cool. Great songwriting and lyrics. If you can handle it. Classic doom metal with such a catchy groove. Really underated and late to get the recognition they deserve but thats mainly because Bobby was just so f**ked up on drugs and the dark side for years. Great to see them back in the mix. Hell yeah Pentagram.

DavidE (Rocker D)
finally starting to get the recognition they greatly deserve
An influence on Danzig's music...?
www.american v i k i n g s . u s
i'd rather have 1,000 Black Sabbath wannabes than one Attack! Attack!
nothing mysterious about a drug addict-i'd know because i am one. the drugs and alcohol come first and everything must wait in line-------- - - - - l i k e forever.
better than sabbath ? just throwing it out there.
tristanhi88
saw them to they were very gay and scary acting bob was acting like a f*g on stage funny great show
pentagram-my fave show of 2010 at dna lounge in san francisco with ludicra.bobb y liebling was incredibly nasty and acting like a diseased skullflower- i f you know what i mean.
I'm diggin' the Hell out of these guys. Legendary underground awesomeness.
these freaks are killer I just shat my roo's
"What's their best album?" -- I play 'Relentless' the most.
What's their best album? I like the similar bands a lot.
I like theese guys!.....al o t !
exactly!!! there not wanna bees there just from the same seen!! as mysterious as sabbath!!! hands down!! If ya like this band ya oughta try out witchcraft, there wicked
randy.schrei b e r
even if Pentagram didn't get around to actually recording an album till the 80's, they were writing music around the same time that Sabbath started. They're not wannabe's, they were just part of the same scene.
I wouldn't call them black sabbath wannabes so much as a tribute to and continuation of Sabbath's style. Its very well done classic/doom metal. so what if they sound a lot like sabbath, that a good thing, and I wish there were more bands like them.
I love the tone of the guitar!
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