PENTACLE - The Fifth Moon… Beyond and Back (VIC Records - CD 2014)
Another this year’s re-release and one, which I was really excited about, ever since first time I heard about it. This time it’s Vic Records re-releasing “The Fifth Moon”, long sold out EP from Dutch ancient death metal worshippers Pentacle. I have most of their releases, but somehow I never had a chance to find this one (EP was originally released in 1996) – and there were CD and picture LP released. So, I was happy to find out about reissue. More happy I was when I found out what this CD will feature! Damn, it’s not just four original songs but a great dose of bonus material, which makes this release simply a must to have! YES! Just imagine that this double CD titled “The Fifth Moon… Beyond and Back” contains: “The Fifth Moon” original EP, an outtake from the original studio session for this EP, then the 7”EP “Exalted Journey”, which I never had a chance to hear, so it’s so awesome to find it out here! Finally the second CD contains both Pentacle demos “Winds of the Fall” from 1993 and “Caressed by Both Sides” from 1992 plus… yes that’s not all hehe… plus a rare compilation song and a rehearsal track. Wow! I guess I only miss songs from the Desaster split plus a Hellhammer cover from picLP version of “The Fifth Moon” and that’s it. But I suppose you can’t have everything and they did want to leave some stuff more exclusive. Besides, this CD comes with a killer 32 page (!) booklet with a lot of info, photos, lyrics and other shit. Yes, this is what I call a complete reissue. Damn, even if I already had the original “The Fifth Moon” edition, I would still want this reissue, as it is just too good to skip it! Well done, Vic Records!!! It certainly is one of your better releases!
OK, I commented on how this CD is released… what is very important, obviously, because it is a re-release. And what about the musical content? Well, here are two CDs, with two hours of obscure death / thrash metal the ancient way! Obviously the best stuff here is on the disc one. I absolutely love “Exalted Journey” EP, because when compared to “The Fifth Moon” it has heavier and harsher production. This EP sounds simply killer and both songs are classic as hell. But damn, “The Fifth Moon” is the essence of old styled death / thrash. Filled with great influence from the classic bands like Death, Possessed, Celtic Frost, Delirium, Pestilence or Asphyx, it is a real shredder with such anthems as “Black at Heart” and “A Serpent in Bloodred”. What an amazing selection of riffs, impressive arrangements and the unique vocals of Mr. Gubbels. This is the real pleasure to listen to this band. As always!
CD two is more challenging, due to some very raw and primitive sound quality for some of these recordings. But it’s not too harsh for me! And the song, which I like the most from this disc is definitely the rare DSFA compilation song titled “A Dance Beyond” – what a fantastic bulldozer, in great Celtic Frost / Hellhammer way, with some almost doom / death riffs and keyboard background! I absolutely love it, even if stylistically it differs a little from the Pentacle we all know. But the same can be actually said about the demos era of the band. It is more basic and primitive take on death metal, with Wannes singing style being harsher grunting when compared to the screaming style he adopted on the future recordings… Not everyone may even recognize if it’s the same band. Anyway, "Winds of the Fall" demo is another highlight for me, really. Some really good songs, very, very nice demo production, really killer dark atmosphere and more pure old styled death metal than ever. And more so, it contains a song called “Descending of the Soul”, which I already knew from its re-recorded version, which appeared on “Ancient Death” MCD. Absolutely fantastic track, surely the best from the whole demo. Then the debut demo “Caressed by Both Sides”, which is even more like basic and almost primitive death metal harshness, with simple riffs and arrangements, more so with a very rehearsal production. It’s not as good as any of the future recordings of Pentacle, not even as good as “Winds of the Fall” demo, but I also like it. It surely was great to finally listen to such early Pentacle recordings, as I never had a chance to hear their demos before.
Do I even need to recommend this CD? No! “The Fifth Moon… Beyond and Back” is for me personally one of the greatest releases of this year and surely one of the best compilations. For me it is almost perfect in every aspect – musical and for the fully informative and interesting booklet. A great summoning from the past… Simply awesome. Hear these ghastly sounds!
Final rate: 90/100