Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2021
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Be forewarned, not much Sabbath here - 83%

Gutterscream, August 19th, 2012
Written based on this version: 1972, 7" vinyl, Intermedia Productions (Limited edition)

"...Lord, I've lived on the dark side of the moon and I've been to the heart of the sun..."

Was '72 a big year for rock? Not really. Scorpions. Aerosmith. Blue Oyster Cult. Captain Beyond (to those of us who like 'em it's a big deal). Sabbath's Vol. 4. Steppenwolf and Mountain pretty much call it quits. Otherwise, nothing spectacular (in fact, I'll take Capt. Beyond's debut over 'em all). A half trillion 45s came out that year as well, everything from America to Zephyr, and with only about .0001% of them flying chart-bound or somewhere near radio-friendly waves, Virginia's Pentagram (at this time calling themselves Macabre, however) weren't anywhere within catapult distance of the record race leaders, and even the plenty of competent full-lengthers from skilled bands like Buffalo and Dust (and Captain Beyond for that matter) drove off into the woods. Plus only a thousand of this disk were pressed. Expecting something more from a fly-by-night local company like Intermedia? What, a picture sleeve? C'mon.

So it just wasn't in the cards for these guys. Not only were half of the diminutive pressing botched 'Macbre" instead of Macabre (actually not a bad moniker to have stuck with), but they'd change their name to Pentagram in about a year anyway. I'm just picturing not without a chuckle four hopeful, long-haired dudes zealously opening the box and zeroing in on the record's silver-printed screw up and one of them yelling 'what the fuck is a macbre?' while another scrambles for the phone. Okay, not really a fly-on-the-wall moment in rock history, but hey.

Now, both tracks have been repainted and reoiled over time for a few collections as Bobby Liebling's seen fit (and there are quite a few collections), but just in case you're unsure as to which version you're hearing, the beginning vocal sequence of "Be Forewarned" isn't dual tracked, is lightly echoed, and is a hair more laid back. "Lazy Lady" is a little more clandestine in its changes as the original is ever so slightly slower rhythmically. Not much to go on, I know, but the alterations are more sleight of hand than boomingly earth-quaking, and even the mixes are closer to twins than cousins.

But as far as these tracks' creationism is concerned, they're pretty much as cool as you've heard. Palpable A-side, "Be Forewarned", stalks in darker shadows of the two, named like the lyrics were built upon the title, the song as simply cerebral as it is threatening and not as bent on any Sabbath dirge as it is garage-riffed vengeance on Blue Cheer. There's lots of hard rock to get scraped on, but more over there's musical structure here that's mindful of the mid-'60s garage era, tumbled by that time's often rough-edged jangliness of guitar, stuff by the likes of The Pretty Things and Love (there are slightly better examples, but these you may have heard of), and allows the song an oddly dated feel. Liebling is strong in voice and conveyance like Richie Wise of Dust, emotionally grown without being unhinged. "Lazy Lady" is an okay, but lesser song that roams more like a conventionally-kept, progressively uninventive Atomic Rooster with a slightly deeper guitar tone, if that says anything to ya.

Nowadays we like to tie this quartet to the tailgate of the lumbering Black ones. It's a logical digestion, what with how their '80s releases sound and all, but with this first throw in the ballgame they may have only been standing in Sabbath's vestibule, though the view of the altar probably wasn't too obstructed (however the dungeon crawl of Bedemon is a grimier, more Sabbathy-slurped story). Here the influences slip further back in time.

"...well, I could wander down the alley for a two-bit tramp, but I can't dig a hooker's romance..."