Pentagram – Curious Volume (Peaceville)

Genre: Doom Metal

Bobby Liebling’s rich, distinctive vocals, Victor Griffin’s titanic, groovy riffs… this combination has entranced metalheads for more than three decades.  And thankfully, Pentagram show no sign of giving up the ghost, as Curious Volume shows.

Given that Liebling started the band in 1971, you’d forgive the frontman if he just wanted to get the pipe and slippers out, rather than spearhead the legendary act into its fifth decade. Hear him sing though – and with such attitude and conviction – over the acid-fried biker rock of Misunderstood, or the gargantuan, doom-drenched tones of The Devil’s Playground, and you realise that the world would be a poorer place without him.

Griffin, meanwhile, is the perfect foil for Liebling, supplying the classy, bluesy fretwork we’ve all come to expect. Alongside his nephew, bassist Greg Turley (who he taught to play the guitar), he’s on formidable form here – especially on Close the Casket, which half of the New Orleans scene probably wish they had written.

Curious Volume doesn’t stand up to Pentagram’s best work and there are a few twee moments (such as closer Because I Made It), but its highs outweigh the lows. And after all that the band have been through, that’s a real achievement. Richard Holmes

RUSHONROCK RATED: 7.5/10 Amped-up