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Damn solid slab of old-school death. - 83%

theposega, June 7th, 2010

Do you like Celtic Frost? Wait, what kinda question is that? Of course you do. Well so do these guys, very much. They even started out the album with a nifty (and quite hilarious) sample of Tom G. Warrior interacting with the crowd ("FUCKING CRAZY"). But, onto the music.

Wannes Gubbels, the bassist/vocalist, was a member of Apshyx for a while and there are some similarities between the riffing styles of both bands. But Pentacle lack the doom and dumb things down even more. Most riffs are made of fast, thrashing power-chords that aren't too far removed from "Into the Crypts of Rays." Which is where the problem lies with this album; it's a bit too samey. These songs don't really need to be over five minutes, and they all are. 3-4 minutes would suit this style much better, giving it the "Reign in Blood" effect almost.

The production on here is pretty much what you would expect from an early 90's death metal album. Guitars are fairly thin-sounding with a good bit of distortion, the bass isn't really audible on its own (though it does give the music some balls), and the drums are fairly dull sounding. In short, it's a damn fine production which suits the album perfectly.

The vocals on here also fit perfectly. They're of the Van Drunen/John Tardy school, but perhaps less tortured sounding. The shrieks work perfectly, and surprisingly never get monotonous. The lyrics on here are excellent as well, being very well-written for such a primitive slab of metal.

Drumming on this album is mostly d-beats with the occasional thrash BOOM-THWACK of alternating snare-bass popping up. He doesn't really add much to the music, but his performance is quite solid and respectable and fits what the guitars are doing quite nicely.

In short, this album would be much better if it were only 30-40 minutes long instead of 50. The songs just tend to drag on, and are a little too samey. If it were that length, I would have no problem giving this album a 95+. If you like your death metal decidedly primitive and balls-out thrashy, be sure to look this one up.

Standouts: "Rides the Moonstorm," "For I am Chaos," and "Spell of the Pentagram."