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Return to Arms - 86%

Viduata, October 7th, 2011

Pentagram is back with Wasteland: their first original release since 2002's Bir, and since the departure of long time singer Murat Ilkan. Presenting a solid and heavy effort that some may see as a slight departure from their established sound, not hearing Murat's voice will take some getting used to but the new guy just feels right in the track overall. There is still a clear Eastern influence, both thematically and musically, but the music is a little more aggressive; more akin to thrash than most of their other stuff.

The new singer, Gökalp Ergen, has a raspy voice which serves to really emphasize the aggression in the track, and the lyrics, although he alternates between the rasp and a much cleaner vocal style during different parts of the song. His vocal melodies are perhaps not as melodic as Murat's were, but this is one track off of an unreleased album of more material so this is probably likely to vary. Gökalp's vocals emphasize the Eastern vibe in the riffing in the way that he sometimes sings the vocal melody along with the riff, while at other times he complements it with his own Eastern vocal stylings.

I truly cannot overstate the aggression in this track, which perhaps although not altogether absent from previous Pentagram releases, is brought very much to the forefront in Wasteland thanks to Gökalp's sometimes-almost-growling vocal expression. The drumming is tight and double-bass heavy, reinforced by very strong bass playing. The guitars are crunchy and serve extremely well to set the mood for the song's themes and pacing. The solo screams with anguish and frustration and rebellion. Just like the Eastern sands, this track is unrelenting.

In final summation, if this track is any indication, we've got a hell of an album coming. Sounds promising.