15 November 2009

Pentacle - The Fifth Moon 12"

I remember finding this picture disc in a record store in Columbus, Ohio. It was safely tucked away in a vinyl graveyard, probably waiting for a Celtic Frost fanatic like me to pick it up. There was nothing special about the pictures on the disc itself nor the insert; it appeared to be another example of European death metal. But the last track I recognized as a Hellhammer cover. Those were rare at the time, so I decided to purchase this and add it to my collection.

I was pleasantly surprised by the sound quality. Most picture discs that I've listened to haven't had the greatest sound, but this one sounded much better than I expected. The guitars and drums are right beneath the vocals in the mix. As usual with a lot of metal bands, the bass is nearly non-existant. There are two guitar players listed in the band, but the majority of this sounds like one guitar. The guitar tone is not very thick, and it has just enough distortion to give it a rough edge. The drums are solid and don't rely completely on the double bass.

The music here is solid, old-school death metal like Morbid Tales-era Celtic Frost or Cause of Death-era Obituary. The singer sounds a bit like John Tardy, with an occasional death grunt. His vocals on the third track are the most possessed on here. That track also features some sparse shifting on the guitars in the middle section which really makes the track stand out from the others on here. The riffs are mostly simple and steady. I don't hear any of Celtic Frost's snaky riffs or odd guitar lines. Each song has plenty of tempo changes, shifting out of mid-tempo and into double time. Pentacle's cover of "The Reaper" is faithful to the original. The only real changes are better production and the lyrics are almost decipherable.

This was definitely worth purchasing. If you can find the picture disc version, I would recommend that, as it's the only place you'll find Pentacle's Hellhammer cover. The rest of the tracks are not drowning in Celtic Frost worship, but are good examples of solid European death metal.

The torrent can be found here.

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