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Pentagram > Day of Reckoning > 1987, Cassette, Napalm Records > Reviews > aidane154
Pentagram - Day of Reckoning

The Essential Pentagram Experience - 100%

aidane154, July 17th, 2021
Written based on this version: 1987, Cassette, Napalm Records

Day of Reckoning is Pentagram's second album, made just two years after their esteemed 1985 debut. I've been sticking to reviewing their later albums because the first three LPs from this band are classics, so what else can or should really be said about this one? Well, I'll tell you right now that this is my favorite Pentagram album, and I'd go so far as to say it's one of the greatest doom albums of all time.

This album was originally released with a different mix and tracklist. When the first two LPs were reissued under Peaceville Records, the debut was renamed Relentless and Day of Reckoning's drums were redone. While Relentless was generally improved due to its remaster and reordering, I can't honestly say the same benefits were applied to Day of Reckoning. On the reissue, it sounds as if Joe Hasselvander used the same kit as on Be Forewarned. The drum tracks are well-done and well-produced, but in my opinion, do not fit the mix quite right, seeming to float in a separate aural space. The drums on the original version were just fine in my opinion, they sound consistent with the rest of the mix. The tracklist on the reissue was also switched around, and again, I must reiterate that the original is better. The flow of the tracks on the original version, starting with the title track into Broken Vows and ending with Evil Seed into Wartime, is impeccable. All in all, the album isn't hurt too much by the changes but I highly, highly recommend that you track down a copy of the original mix, because the drums fit, everything sounds a little more analog and real, and the tracklist flows much better.

With that out of the way, let's discuss the content of this release. This is prime traditional doom delivered by one of the genre's pioneers, and they know exactly what they're doing. Every song on here is great, but satanic epic Burning Savior and the Sabbath-worshipping duo Evil Seed and Broken Vows shine especially bright. One positive change of the reissue is that Broken Vows got a harmony lead guitar track, which I must admit does enhance the impact of the solo.

70s tracks Madman, Day of Reckoning, and When the Screams Come appear here in all their bluesy, gloomy glory. They're doomified impeccably, and fit into the tracklist perfectly. When the Screams Come is one of the greatest proto-doom songs ever written and I'm glad Bobby was able to vocalize a great rendition of it on here before his voice changed.

One drawback to this album is that there's less songs than Relentless and Be Forewarned, but the songwriting on here is super strong. There's not a single skippable moment on here, not one song you'll wanna miss. There's also not a lot of fat on the songs, either. No time is wasted with songs about sexy vampires or anything like that. There are no filler tracks and no filler passages within these songs. Although Burning Savior does rely heavily on a certain chromatic riff towards the end, it is done quite epicly and uses satisfying effects to make the passage more exciting.

Doom metal is often pigeonholed as slow, brooding, and sad. But this album actually is quite dynamic with its pace. The title track is downright upbeat, so is Madman. Evil Seed and When The Screams Come are the two slowest tracks and they milk the shit out of that aspect (in a good way). Otherwise, it's pretty mid-paced for the most part.

Bobby is in top form on this album. He doesn't put on quite as good of a performance as on Be Forewarned, but he definitely sells it. Victor Griffin gives us catchy riff after catchy riff, and plays some sizzling solos, with Burning Savior being the highlight of his lead guitar work. Martin Swaney plays with a nice trebley bass tone which sits nicely in the mix and is hearable on every song, but noticeable especially during a couple Geezer-esque melodic fills. The original drums sound good, as stated previously. I won't say they sound amazing, since they're a little thin, but they're certainly not bad enough to have been redone. It really sucks that they wrote Stuart Rose out of Pentagram history by removing his drums because he plays with a lot of personality and does a great job.

Need more be said? This is top shelf 80s doom metal right here. It's not just solid, it's masterfully crafted. Some point to the archetypal doom on Relentless as Pentagram's apex, while others prefer the heavy production and tasty riffage on Be Forewarned. I love those albums too, but they've got their flaws, and it's so very hard to find any in Day of Reckoning.