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Apokalyptic Raids > The Pentagram > Reviews
Apokalyptic Raids - The Pentagram

Dirty Metal from the Mighty Brazil - 85%

TheBlackClam, February 1st, 2020
Written based on this version: 2019, 12" vinyl, Hells Headbangers Records (Limited edition, 2 colors)

I am very happy to review this album since I have not yet been exposed to other work from this band. This puts me in the lucky position to be able to judge this without comparing it to releases from the bands beginnings. As we know, bands are very likely to drastically fall off after two or three releases, often times only one, and rarely five or six. So, had I already heard previous releases, I may be inclined to think this one is weaker. And so I can unbiasedly say that this album is not weak. This album manages to stay fresh even in its complete emulation of the classics.

It seems impossible that an album released in 2018 and completely entrenched in an ancient style could still be something you want to listen to in addition to the greats. However, it’s quite simple to overcome the saturation of retro genres; the shit has to be great. If the musicians are possessed enough at the time they are playing it, the genre need not evolve at all to remain effective. The riffs are just further shuffling and reworking of the classic punk black metal and primitive speed thrash riffs, but they are just good riffs, there’s no other special way to describe why or how they are good. The overall sound is most reminiscent of Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, with vocals that join only Schizophrenia in capturing the dungeon atmosphere of Emperor’s Return. Hints of Darkthrone and Bathory’s bestial precursor, The Return, round this album out.

There is a beautiful thing that happens when musicians voluntarily refrain from excessive technicality and yet continue to practice and write music for many years. Thousands and thousands of repetitions of simple d-beat drum beat variations and triplet guitar strumming allow these anti-shred musicians to develop signature nuisances in the rhythm that may be near impossible to detect, and yet create such tightness and crushing heaviness. This idea is brutally at work on The Pentagram; riffs that many intermediate or even beginner guitar players would be able to play, and seem to have been directly taken from Celtic Frost, actually sound refreshing, and these nuisances in rhythm courtesy of seasoned players have a lot to do with it. This album delivers some really good black metal moods, melodies, and heaviness using the sacred power chord. The drums exercise the same idea; endless rumbling, steady beats with the same nuanced rhythmic wisdom applied to keep them sounding heavy and worthy of head banging for the entire album duration.

If you want to believe that good riff writing can transcend the deeply repetitive catalogue of a primitive genre and just want to add more quality metal of the exact same great classic styles to your collection, look no further. This album is heavy and there’s nothing else to say about it.