Pentagram First Daze Here Too

The second retrospective Relapse has released on US doom legends Pentagram, this two-disc set looks deeper into the underbelly of a band that deserved more. While the first instalment was a one-disc overview that collected the musical highlights of their first incarnation, this new two-disc sets shows a band struggling to survive at a time when playing hard rock and heavy metal wasn’t nearly as lucrative as it’s become, especially for an unsigned band. Collecting demos, rehearsals and some live material, it shows a greater variance of the band’s output and probably paints a more accurate picture than just sifting through the "hits.” There are some interesting surprises here too. Their cover of the Stones’ "Under My Thumb” is bizarre, obviously a stab at trying to get some commercial recognition. Songs like "Teaser” and "Much too Young to Know” come across more like early ’70s Deep Purple than the heaviness the band is usually associated in. At times they appear to be a band that were willing to do whatever it took to get a major label deal, seemingly demonstrating the band’s insecurities in sticking to their guns, but that’s also part of the charm here. It’s a insight into another time and place and, all things considered, it seems incredible they never did make it. Paired with the very informative liner notes written by band drummer Geof O’Keefe, this is an essential document of something that should have been but never really was. (Relapse)