Turn to Stone

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Even though Pentagram released no new albums in 2002, the year turned out to be big for the doom metal godfathers. First came the grail-like First Daze Here compilation of their hard to find '70s material (issued on Relapse), followed months later by this collection of songs from the band's '80s and '90s Peaceville releases. Of the two, this one is far less earth-shattering, as this material has already been widely available, but for listeners who are still somewhat new to the band and don't already have the Peaceville albums, this is ideal. There are 17 tracks -- six from Relentless, five from Day of Reckoning, and six from Be Forewarned -- totaling nearly 80 minutes in all. (A couple of the songs here, "20 Buck Spin" and "When the Screams Come," actually appear on First Daze Here, meaning they were anywhere from ten to 15 years old or older by the time these versions were recorded.) Pentagram's basic sound changed little from the '70s to the '80s and '90s, keeping the emphasis on blues-based, slow- to medium-tempo hard rock/metal with nods to Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Cream, and early Led Zeppelin, among others. Because of this consistency in sound, it doesn't really matter that the songs aren't in chronological order, as there is still a natural flow to this disc (something that has not always been the case with Peaceville's other compilations, such as Darkthrone's Preparing for War, for example). Also worth noting is that although these recordings don't have that authentic early-'70s haze of the First Daze Here material, they're not over-produced either and they don't sound dated. For those who already own Relentless, Day of Reckoning, and Be Forewarned, there is no reason to buy this, but otherwise, this well-assembled compilation is a great value.

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