PentagramFor a band that has been around for nearly three decades they sure have taken a long time to get their true full length debut despite more than a handful of demos and what not. My first experience with the Chilean version Pentagram was the compilation out in 2000 simply under the banner of Pentagram, before respectfully changing to Pentagram Chile out of respect for the US doomsters. The bands stripped back proto death metal was and for some still is how death metal should sound, though I reserve judgement if I’m honest. One cannot argue that the band has created a rabid beast of an album with a guitar sound that will peel the skin off your crumbly bones once the drums and bass have had their way. Reverting back to the 80s the guys should have had stage monikers like occultist acts did back then. I say occult as the song titles and cover art suggest a dabbling but musically this is bolted in proto death with crushing song writing exemplifying how to write battering death metal tunes without resorting to continuous blast beats and technical thuggery for the sake of it.

Opener “The Death Of Satan” is perfect, it sets the scene for the ritualistic sonic terror this album assaults you with at every opportunistic second. The sporadic blasts highlights the violence in a way like Abomination, very early Morbid Angel did with their nightmarish incursions on the planet way back when. I would even say this has that tenet of tempestuous creativity that Chuck Schuldiner was doing in his Mantas days. Blasphemous evil pervades “La Fiura” like a bestial demon lurking ominously ready to strike. The opening riff to “The Apparition” is a fluidised monster and followed by a head smashing blast and bulldozing section of double kick. The riff break will disembowel you, throw your innards in the air and then stamp unapologetically over them in disgust, it is that damn vitriolic.

The echoing vocal line just works so well as the guy bellows like Cronos or Tom Angelripper in the 80s creating a gnarly, twisted and grotesque aural vision of dread and fear. As you get to “Spontaneous Combustion” I still couldn’t help but think about the primeval material that Slayer unleashed as the high pitched scream will implode your ear drums before a gnawing riff with a punk overtone creeps in. Two thirds in and the substantial shift had me taken to the realms of “And Justice For All” due to riff style and pace before sending the tune into a crescendo of crashing guitars, and a guest vocal appearance by what has to be Schmier (Destruction). “Grand Design” has some power groove embedded into it as by now references from all over the place are popping up, such as old Kreator, Possessed, Sodom and a whole raft of acts I could name as the guitar switches sides left to right for each solo to attack remorselessly in waves of unfettered cruelty.

“Sacrophobia” is a dense tune, capable of matching death metal with ease, but the riffing is laced with a thrash metal delivery that goes back 30 years and I will leave you to think about which act I might be referencing there. Marc Grewe (Morgoth) guests this time if my vocal recognition skills are on form and puts in a bitter vocal line that suits it well. “Arachnoids” is noxiously disturbing and possesses a pestiferous malignancy that will make you shudder inwardly with its creepy guitar work.

As you have probably determined this is a top quality demonstration of how to write supremely voracious faultless death metal songs that are ensconced in the cobweb festering realms of the 80s. This will make you salivate and bleed in equal proportions and is given the exalted ten as it’s that good.

(10/10 Martin Harris)