Pentagram – Turn to Stone

Turn to Stone is a compilation consisting of material from the band Pentagram, spanning the band’s ten year run with Peaceville Records from 1985 to 1994.

For those not familiar with Pentagram’s sound, they basically sound like early Sabbath. Well, not basically; exactly. Throw Ozzy’s voice over half of these tracks and they would fit perfectly on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath or Paranoid — not that the singer doesn’t occasionally tip his voice in the Oz’s direction anyway.

Seemingly simple and fuzzed-out guitar riffs are chained together to create five minute slices of doom. The bass doesn’t stray far from its backbone duties, following the drums almost religiously. And if the instruments’ sounds make up half of the band’s comparisons to Black Sabbath, the song structures themselves complete the circle. Riff, rock, palm mute, repeat. Doom 101 here, and while the recording quality between songs varies, the formula rarely does.

Completing the classic doom-vibe are the lyrics. “On endless nights my need to roam/I’ve come to desecrate your bones/As maggots crawl amongst your flesh/You’re soon to meet the truth of death…” Uh-huh. Songs like “The Ghoul”, “Bride of Evil” and “Vampire Love” keep the band’s horror roots in check, while “Wartime” and “Burning Saviour” tackle other mandatory doomish topics such as war and religion.

Production values differ depending on the era the songs were pulled from. The older tracks sound like they may have actually used bathroom reverb on the vocals (“Go sing in the shower dude, it’ll sound groovy!”). “Re-released” doesn’t mean “re-mastered” here, kids. But then again, my guess is the average Pentagram fan is still wearing a jean jacket with a big patch on the back with big big 70’s moustache to match, and won’t hear the difference between the tracks over the bubbling of his bong water. “Live Free & Burn”, the last track on the disc, is one of the best sounding — by turning the fuzz and the echo slightly down, the up-tempo track receives a crisper (and more professional) sound.

If you were planning on selling your soul to the Devil for some undiscovered mid-seventies Black Sabbath tracks to be discovered and released, save yourself an eternity in hell and pick up Turn To Stone instead.

01. Petrified
02. Wartime
03. All Your Sins
04. Frustration
05. Burning Saviour
06. Sinister
07. Bride Of Evil
08. When The Screams Come
09. Relentless
10. Vampire Love
11. Evil Seed
12. The Ghoul
13. Wolf’s Blood
14. Madman
15. 20 Buck Spin
16. Death Row
17. Live Free & Burn

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