Pentagram

Show 'Em How

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2004's Show 'em How marked Pentagram's return to a full-band arrangement, with founder and vocalist Bobby Liebling having apparently fallen out with longtime foil and multi-instrumentalist Joey Hasselvander following 2001's terribly disappointing Sub-Basement fiasco. And a good thing, too, since the addition of former Internal Void members Kelly Carmichael (guitar) and Adam Heinzmann (bass), as well as veteran doom drummer Mike Smail (ex-Cathedral, Penance and Dream Death) serves to re-energize Liebling, and therefore his legendary underground band's tired sound of late. However, one thing that Show 'em How does not change -- in fact it exacerbates it -- is Liebling's habit of combining re-recorded material from Pentagram's "lost decade" (the 1970s, when they were as prolific as they were poorly documented) with brand new compositions. In fact, the balance of these ten tracks stands at an unprecedentedly lopsided seven to three! But, since those early tunes remain largely unavailable in their original form (some never having exceeded demo-stage to begin with), there's plenty of just cause for resurrecting them here. Especially given the remarkable combination of proto-metallic doom and psychedelic acid rock that drove Pentagram (and Blue Cheer, and Sir Lord Baltimore, and...) at the time when mighty classics like "Wheel of Fortune," "Starlady," "Catwalk," and the beautifully regretful "Last Days Here" were first written. As for the trio of "newbies" (all of which are co-penned by Carmichael), their modest attributes can't help but pale in comparison to the glories of old, which may actually explain their short supply. In any event, regardless of this ongoing old vs. new debate, the startling fact is that Show 'em How mostly lives up to its boastful title: younger generations of heavy metal and doom metal fans simply can't get by without their Pentagram.

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