Just the sight of the name Wannes Gubbels should make this a must-buy for any fan of dirt-caked, primeval, doom-lurching war death metal. As a member for the last decade of the most recent lineup of ASPHYX (not to discount his other bands, SOULBURN or BUNKUR), he is clearly not only a practitioner of that legendary band's gloom-and-clatter vibe, but a huge disciple as well. Though these guys are no slouches musically, PENTACLE is not the name to turn to for technicality, excessive blast beats or grindvomit violence.No. PENTACLE captures what Gubbels has called "the ancient feeling" – a martial, almost stately war dirge that owes much to early PESTILENCE and CELTIC FROST/HELLHAMMER. It's strikingly primitive, and it oozes feeling â€” an organic, muddy and malevolent Lovecraftian dread that you just don't get from the Pro-tooled sanitation of modern death metal. Listen to the swaying midtempo lurch of "Storming Through a Hail of Steel", Gubbels shredding his larynx in a very van Drunen way, the drums marching in time, sick guitar tones groaning forth like the creak of tank treads in a St. Petersburg winter – talk about some damn atmosphere! Don't get the mistaken impression that PENTACLE are purely slow and doomy â€“ far from it. When they cut loose, as on the full throttle "Into the Fiery Jaws" or the POSSESSED-like "The Last Flight", there are chaotic thrash riffs scattering everywhere, the band sounding ready to fly off the rails at any moment, attacking with a fierceness that isn't diluted by the studio one iota. It's "To Mega Therion"-era FROST hit broadside with some wild-eyed early PESTILENCE mania and an added dose of BOLT THROWER's inexorable lead-weight stomp for good measure. This record's been out for a bit in Europe; its Stateside release (on the always-reliable Ibex Moon, the label run by INCANTATION mainman John McEntee) comes with a tasty bonus track (NECROVORE cover "Divus de Mortuus"). As awesome as this song is, it's kind of a shame the record still can't end with the incredible "Awaiting the Blast of Death" â€” a song that wraps up the various modes of PENTACLE, from their sinister midtempo chug to their frantic thrashing and warlike proto-death attack, into one seven-minute mini-masterpiece (complete with slow, grinding surprise outro laced with divebomb solos and double-kick punishment). However the tracks are sorted, the fact remains that for those who still prefer their death metal raw, bleeding, twitching and hacked off at the stump, PENTACLE are still delivering the real goods, a napalm-belching howitzer attack of analog in a world that's perhaps gone too digital to get why this is so necessary.
To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appears next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).