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So goddamn heavy! - 90%

Abominatrix, March 19th, 2004

This band really made my jaw hit the floor. I didn't think anyone made death metal like this anymore. Wow...simply wow. This is one of the heaviest, most crushing assaults of death I've heard in years, without being filled with pointless blastbeats and indecipherable and commical gurgly vocals. No way, this is pure balls, pure unadulterated heaviness, rivalled only by bands like Asphyx, and this band's own earlier work. I could also point out the heavy influence of bands like Celtic Frost, very early Death, and even Obituary, and truly this is nothing too original, but this kind of death metal is just about a lost art form these days, which is why Pentacle is so completely commendable.

I mentionned Asphyx earlier, and indeed, Wannes also did the vocals on the last Asphyx album. This man is one of the unheralded greats of extreme metal. He's got what I think is the coolest voice for death metal I've ever heard. It's sort of like what would happen if Martin Van Drunen, John Tardy and Chuck Schuldiner in his youngest days were involved in some horrendous radio activity experiment on mutation and somehow got melded together. Wannes sounds absolutely venomous here, almost seeming to swallow the microphone with his intense vocal delivery. And the music is so crushingly heavy...pounding you into the floor when it's slow and crushing, and sending you into a headbanging, smashing frenzy when it accelerates to thrash tempo. Some of this has to do with the production I'm sure, which is top-notch and perfectly balanced with a specific goal in mind, that being, of course, to have the weight and might of an unstoppable panzer tank. However, most of this heaviness simply comes down to musicians who know how to write powerful riffs, who've listened to lots of Celtic Frost in their time and know that one good, simple chord progression is worth a thousand tremolo wankeries on the fretboard. "Prophet of Perdition" starts off the proceedings with a slow, menacing melodic riff, repeats it three or four times, then throws you across the room at full speed, and the EP doesn't let up, even when things slow to almost doom pace during a few sections (who the fuck says doom can't be the heaviest metal genre there is?).

My one complaint here, obviously, is that this is just an EP! Only six songs, two of which are Death covers (from the demo days even) is just not nearly enough. Sure, the previous Pentacle album is absolutely stellar, but it doesn't have this killer production, nor does it quite have this togetherness and punch (though it comes very close). I have to point out "Walking Upon Damnation's Land", though, as a highlight, along with the aforementioned "Prophet of Perdition". It's a more midpaced assault, and features Wannes paired with K. K. Warslut of Destroyer 666 on vocals. The two really give it all they've got here, and it's one of the best vocal performances you're ever likely to hear in extreme metal. If you like oldschool death, get this. If you like thrash, get this. If you want to be pulverized, get this you fucking wimps!!!