• PENTAGRAM "Last Rites" at the DNA Lounge, S.F.

    8 Jul 2009, 20:49

    Thu 2 Jul – Pentagram, Hammers of Misfortune, Nachtmystium, Orchid, dj Rob Metal

    Bobby Liebling, who has been Pentagram for the past 38 years, after reforming the group to include Russ Strahan on guitar, Gary Isom on drums and Mark Ammen on bass, is now forging ahead with the "Last Rites" line-up of the band who are slated to tour this fall as well as play one of this year's big fests in Europe, HELL'S PLEASURE.

    I missed the first band, Orchid, as well as DJ Rob Metal, because I got there almost an hour after the doors opened. Friends dropped me off in front, where there was a line of maybe 15 or 20 people waiting to buy tickets that night. Hardly any will call. Could Pentagram sell-out a show in advance? I heard they had at one East Coast gig a few years back, when supposedly Bobby had to go to the hospital in lieu of performing due to some drug related complication.

    Saw Matt Pike of High on Fire get out of the bus parked in front. No problem getting in. $25 dollar cover at the door. First thing I did was walk over to the merch table and scope out the tour poster. Bought a Last Rites tour shirt for $20 to help support the band and tipped the merch gal another five so she could get another beer, all this while Hammers of Misfortune were performing on stage.

    This band is very impressive! Saw them at SXSW in 2007 opening for Weedeater. Very talented group of musicians, fronted by an ex member of Gwar currently enlisted in Ludicra, Amber Asylum, Jarboe, The Lord Weird Slough Feg, Weakling too I believe - an all star line-up of who's who in the Bay Area prog/thrash/black metal scene if any such thing exists. One member went on to play in Wolves in the Throne Room, eco/black metal oufit hailing from Seattle, WA.

    Hammers of Misfortune finished way too soon, whose chaotic array of carefully orchestrated chamber-sung vocals meeting with odd prog-rock time signature guitars over occasional doom metal bass run was followed by the psychedelia atop churning blackened wall of sound perpetrated by Nachtmystium.

    There is almost a desperation to their music, many parts are unresolved, amateurish in its approach but I believe that may add to the nostalgia for this style of music from when it originated over 15 years ago. No, Nachtmystium has been around for a much shorter time, but it was their support of Pentagram that allowed this tour to happen, so for that we owe gratitude to Blake/N.Imperial and crew.

    PENTAGRAM was delayed due to a technical difficulty for about 25 minutes. But once they hit the stage, the crowd went berserk. Opening with the classic "Death Row" era song, "Sign of the Wolf," my blood began pumping as I never believed i would see the reformation of one of the greatest doom rock/metal outfits of all time. The underground's answer to Black Sabbath, wallowing in obscurity for almost 40 years, Bobby Liebling has been as relentless in pursuing his rockstar dream almost as heavily as his own demons of addiction. Many other fan favorites were played such as "Petrified," including two new tracks "Last Rites" and "Earth Flight." I would like to have heard "Wolf's Blood" and "Drive Me To The Grave," though I'm sure there will be more new songs that can appease my appetite for Pentagram, as they plan to release the new "Last Rites" album in the upcoming months.

    2009 really has been a year of reunions and reformations - Sleep, Saint Vitus, Thorr's Hammer, Beherit and now Pentagram. Who knows what the rest of this year may hold in store. I for one cannot wait to see Vitus tour in support of Down this fall, it will be truly legendary...

    Hammers of Misfortune
  • Week of Putrefaction Tour - 2009

    14 May 2009, 19:56

    Fri 8 May – Coffins, Stormcrow, Aldebaran, Alaric

    Venue is what you would expect for a volunteer co-op type place. Paid two dollars for a membership card and ten dollars at the door. Kind of what I would imagine trying to do to make a venue feel anarchic and communally run. Everybody cleans up afterward and that pays for the volunteers to see a free show. Good incentive to not leave trash everywhere I think. Sound was not bad if you were close to the stage. Still could have been louder. Not a very crowded gig, but there were the occasional pit mosh during Stormcrow's and Coffins' sets.

    Obtained a very cool silk-screen poster from the show. Coffins killed the crowd with their engraved brand of detuned death metal. Raw and in the old school way. Some wo/man broke her neck (wish there was a soundboard recording of that part of their set!) Stormcrow was waving the crust/stench banner high. Very impressed, what I expected. Although their tour shirt that I purchased that night that I wore for the next three days caught fire while I stood in my kitchen(!!), as I was drunk leaning up next to a small candle burning on a ledge. Left a good size hole in the back, now it really looks worn.

    Aldebaran really put me into a droning doomed trance for about 30 minutes, which was aproxx. two of their epically long songs I believe they really have captured a pure essence of funeral/doom/death with their lack of apparent embodiment on stage!!!

    Missed Alaric, who I would have liked to have seen which featured members of Noothgrush. I saw the former drummer for NG there as well as Geoff from Asunder and I spotted Nathan from Asunder, ex-Graves At Sea. Not surprised to see the veritable alumni of this scene for the past almost ten years supporting their friends by coming to their shows out here in berkeley.

    Overall a very good experience as it was my first show to attend to now that I live near the bay area as well.