Thursday, 8 September 2011

Pentacle - Under the Black Cross

Pentacle - Under the Black Cross (IRON PEGASUS - LP 2005)
There are bands that never fail and you can be sure that their albums will crush you. Maybe it's due to the fact that they don't release a full length every two years, but much less frequently, or maybe it's only their passion and enormous dedication to the classic death metal... Whatever it is, the final effect is always great. And Pentacle is such band. During their 15 years long career, the band released only two full lengths and miniLPs, as well as several EPs. The break between "Under the Black Cross" from 2005 and the first LP, "...Rides the Moonstorm" is seven years long and in the meantime Pentacle unleashed only "Ancient Death" MLP and two EPs. I think it was enough time to compose destructive and excellent songs in the classic death metal vein.
The concept, front cover and overall aura of the album reminds me Bolt Thrower's "Those Once Loyal" masterpiece and surely these two albums can be putted together aside as examples for the crushing world war II oriented death metal. Unfortunately the gatefold vinyl of "Under the Black Cross" doesn't include the lyrics, which is a shame, because how can I get the concept if I haven't got the lyrics?
I think that music wise "Under the Black Cross" doesn't really bring anything new into the once created style of Pentacle. If you've heard the first album or any other releases the band unleashed in the late 90's / early 00's, then you already know what to expect. Pentacle doesn't need to experiment, it's the old school death metal they shred with and for sure it sounds great to my ears. I totally like the atmosphere the band creates. Again there's lots of similarities to such bands as Asphyx (of course!!!), Celtic Frost in the slower parts, then there're hints of Desaster (with some thrashing riffs and slightly in vocals), finally I think early Death and also Sadistic Intent can be mentioned here as the bands that have influenced Pentacle a little. Anyway, whatever bands I mention, one thing will remain important - this is classic death metal, so don't expect over technical and complex structures, the riffing here is about to create a certain atmosphere and that's something I love about such music. As well as the fact that you just want to bang your skull when hearing these sounds. The album is solid throughout and all the songs are of the same quality, with few standouts that rip the skull especially.
All in all, even if I must say that I like the first album slightly more, this one also shreds and is a must if you're into old school metal. I recommend also to get 10" "Archaic Undead Fury", which has two extra songs from the same session. Fuckin murder it is!!!

Standout tracks:
"Into the Fiery Jaws", "A Devil's Shooting Gallery", “(Storming Through) A Hail Of Steel”
Final rate: 85/100

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