Pentacle Under the Black Cross

Dutch death mongers Pentacle remember the ancient feeling on Under the Black Cross, their tenth release since their inception in the late ’80s. First rising to prominence alongside golden-era acts Venom, Possessed, Destruction and Hellhammer, Pentacle retain their original sound of death/doom thanks to minimal production and former Asphyx bassist/singer Wannes Gubbels’ songwriting talents. The album pays lyrical tribute to WW II’s Operation Chariot (dubbed "the greatest raid of all”), where an obsolete destroyer, packed with explosives, rammed the docks at St. Nazaire, France, crippling the German forces. "Into the Fiery Jaws” and "Raise the White Ensign!” dive into a frenzy of double-bass kick drums and shrapnel-barbed riffage, while the instrumental "March of the Campbletown” leads into the Obituary-styled death-plod of "A Devil’s Shooting Gallery.” The slower "(Storming Through) a Hail of Steel” sets a Celtic Frost pace and "The Last Fight (ML 306’s Stand)” tips its helmet to old Morgoth. Like Bolt Thrower, Pentacle glorify wartime valour without acting like a throwback band on this solid death offering. (Ibex Moon Records)