There is more than one band with this name: 1) The most well-known and recognized Pentagram, from Arlington, Virginia, United States of America, is one of the earliest doom bands around. Having been around in one form or another since 1971, it's safe to say that Pentagram had a big impact on Sabbath inspired doom metal that was to follow over the next decade. The band also strongly intertwines with the band Bedemon and is sometimes seen as one and the same. Pentagram are considered to be one of the all time classics by many older fans for understandable reasons.
1) The most well-known and recognized Pentagram, from Arlington, Virginia, United States of America, is one of the earliest doom bands around. Having been around in one form or another since 1971, it's safe to say that Pentagram had a big impact on Sabbath inspired doom metal that was to follow over the next decade. The band also strongly intertwines with the band Bedemon and is sometimes seen as one and the same. Pentagram are considered to be one of the all time classics by many older fans for understandable reasons. Their music can perhaps best be described as "proto-Doom" with a strong resemblance to the first Black Sabbath releases. The unique vocals of Bobby Leibling make sure they have a very unique sound. The first 7" was released under the name Macabre - guitarist Victor Griffin now has a new band called Place of Skulls. - the 1974 7" EP was never officially released and was only released in 100 copies on a test pressing.
Their pre-Pentagram projects show Sabbath-independent origins:
1968 Shades Of Darkness
1970 Wicked Angel
1970 Stone Bunny
The "classic" '70s line up consisted of Liebling, Vincent McAllister (guitar), Greg Mayne (bass) and Geof O'Keefe (drums) (with occasional appearances by 2nd guitarists Randy Palmer and Marty Iverson), with Liebling and O'Keefe handling the songwriting. The band's '70s output was sparse (only a few 7" EPs) but now considered by many fans to be legendary and Liebling, who at the time handled the bulk of the songwriting, had a large number of songs that went unrecorded or released at the time. This line up lasted until 1976, when tensions between Liebling and the rest of the band over Bobby's drug use and the band's inablility to secure a record deal escalated to the point that Bobby was ousted. Bobby owned the name, though, and resurrected it in 1978 with new members for what is now called "The High Voltage-era" due to the name of the record label who put out an EP by this particular line up.
In the early '80s, Liebling and "High Voltage-era" drummer Joe Hasselvander joined the band Death Row, who would soon assume the Pentagram name. It was the Death Row line up (Liebling, Hasselvander, and guitarist Victor Griffin, with "High Voltage-era" bassist Martin Swaney replacing Death Row bassist Lee Abney) that would record and release the band's first LP, a self-titled affair (later re-issued under the name "Relentless"), in 1985. The group recorded another LP in 1987 (with drummer Stuart Rose, replacing Joe Hasselvander, who would later re-record Stuart's parts upon the album's reissue in the 1990s), only to break up afterward. The Death Row line up (with Martin Swaney and Joe Hasselvander) would reunite again in the 1990s to record a third LP before disbanding for good. In 1999, with the legend of Pentagram growing, Liebling resurrected the name again, eventually recording two LPs with on-again/off-again drummer Joe Hasselvander supplying the instrumental backing and another album in 2004 which saw Bobby backed by members of Internal Void. The majority of the songs on these albums were written by Bobby in the 1970s.
In 2008, a now sober Bobby returned with a new Pentagram line-up, this one consisting of Gary Isom (drums), Russ Strahan (guitar), and Mark Ammen (bass) and, for the first time in years, the band began performing live and touring. Eventually, both Strahan and Ammen would drop out of the band, but Pentagram continued on and began preparing to work on a new album with former Pentagram guitarist Victor Griffin and bassist Greg Turley lending assistance.
Official site: www.myspace.com/livefreeandburn
2) Pentagram (internationally known as Mezarkabul) is one of the most famous and spectacular heavy metal bands in Turkey. Their first album, the self titled "Pentagram" was released in 1990 and consisted of speed/thrash metal songs. Murat Net, who would later be replaced by Demir Demirkan, played lead guitar for their first record.
Two years later, the band released their second album, "Trail Blazer", and for the first time gained the attention of heavy metal authorities in the world. Especially Ogün Sanl?soy's excellent vocals played a great part in this success. Additionally this album contained the very first bits of traditional Turkish music in Mezarkabul songs (No One Wins the Fight).
Five years after Trail Blazer had been released, in 1997, the band released another album called "Anatolia" which was, for many, the climax of the band's musical career. In Anatolia, the anatolian/turkish sound took so vast a place in the music that the band would be almost associated with this sound. The band also covered a "t?rk?" (turkish folk song) called "G?nd?z Gece" by A??k Veysel. With this album Og?n Sanl?soy was replaced by Murat ?lkan who had a unique and metal-friendly vocal technique. After the release of Anatolia in 1998, the band recorded a gig performed in ?stanbul and released a live album called "Pop?ular D??ar?" which also contained a cover of "Black Magic" of Slayer.
In 2001, the band released two great albums called "Unspoken" which consisted of Mezarkabul songs with English lyrics, and "Bir" containing songs with Turkish lyrics. Demir Demirkan was replaced by the lead guitarist Metin T?rkcan with this album. Recorded and mastered in Sierra Studios in Greece, "Unspoken" was a masterpiece full of anatolian tunes and philosophical lyrics. Prepared especially for the Turkish audience, "Bir" contained two more "t?rk?" covers which are "?eytan Bunun Neresinde" by A??k Dertli and "Bu Alemi G?ren Sensin" by A??k Veysel.
The band caught so much attention with the excellent "Unspoken" that they performed in Wacken Open Air, Germany in 2002.
The current line-up of the band is;
Murat ?lkan : Vocals
Hakan Utanga? : Rhythm Guitar
Metin T?rkcan : Lead Guitar
Tarkan G?z?b?y?k: Bass
Cenk ?nn? : Drums
Pentagram is considered to be the greatest band in Turkey to combine the traditional elements of Turkish music into the metal genre creating a distinctive sound which other bands would follow in the future for years to come.
last.fm artist connection: Mezarkabul
3) Pentagram is also a death metal band from Chile founded by Anton Reisenegger , which was active in the mid/late eighties. Possessed is clearly one of their main influences, along with Sodom, Master, Sepultura and other metal bands from South America. Still they maintain their own brand of metal, probably the rawest out of the South American scene.
After two demos and one single in 1987 the band disbanded, mainly because no label wanted to sign them. Thirteen years later their demos were again made accessible by Picoroco Records.
The band reunited in 2001 to play one final gig, which also was recorded and released as a live album under the name "Reborn 2001"
?Pentagram was not just one of the best, most unique extreme bands of the late 1980's, in my opinion, they were one of the best metal bands ever!? - Mitch Harris, Napalm Death
If there was ever such thing as a cult band, Chile's death metal pioneers Pentagram would probably fit the term with the utmost accuracy.
With only two demos of three songs each, which both date as far back as 1987, as their entire studio output, the name Pentagram has nevertheless persisted in time as one of the originators of what is known today as death metal. Hailed as a major influence by such genre heavyweights as Entombed, At the Gates, Napalm Death, Dismember, etc., a similar success was ultimately denied to the members of Pentagram, due in part to their own mistakes and inexperience, as well as their geographic and socio-political surroundings.
The band was originally formed in Santiago, the capital of Chile, in 1985 by Anton Reisenegger and Juan Pablo Uribe, two friends whose primary interests were thrash metal and partying. Then unaware of the US doom rock band of the same name, the duo chose Pentagram as their project's moniker.
Influenced by the likes of Slayer, Possessed, Dark Angel, Celtic Frost, Kreator and Destruction, Reisenegger and Uribe began writing songs which soon evolved from primitive-sounding attempts at recreating the sound of their heroes, to some of the most original extreme metal compositions of their time.
Although their first gig happened as soon as December 28th, 1985, it took them over a year to convince their stand-in drummer Eduardo Topelberg (of Chilean power metal band Chronos) to join them as a permanent member.
In January 1987 the band recorded the first of two demos which were to remain the only studio work ever done by the group. The three songs included on the tape were ?Fatal Predictions?, ?Demoniac Possession? and ?Spell of the Pentagram?. Interest in the band soon started to pick up, both locally and on an international level. While incipient metal publications such as Total Thrash (USA), Violent Noize (USA, edited by Blabbermouth.net initiator Borivoj Krgin) and many more hailed Pentagram as one of the most promising outfits in the flourishing international death metal scene, the band started playing shows to quickly growing crowds of Chilean metal fans, under the suspicious looks of the Chilean police, government and press. Let's not forget at the time Chile was living the twilight of Pinochet's bloody military regime.
At that time the band was functioning as a trio, with Reisenegger taking over bass duties in the studio, while Uribe would switch from rhythm guitar to bass for the band's still infrequent live appearances.
Shortly after the completion of their first demo, Reisenegger traveled to Brazil to visit his pen-pals Max and Igor Cavalera of Sepultura in Belo Horizonte. During a stop in Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian independent label Point Rock offered Reisenegger a recording deal which he promptly accepted. However, communication between band and label came to a standstill following Reisenegger's return to Chile, and the planned full-length album was never materialized.
However, two songs off the debut demo were released by the Swiss label Chainsaw Murder Records on a seven-inch single, which sported the now legendary artwork of the winged witch. Currently a sought-after and frequently bootlegged item, the ?Fatal Predicitons?/?Demoniac Possession? 7? single gained the band even more international attention while fortifying the band's standing as the absolute leaders of the young Chilean underground metal scene.
Alfredo Pe?a, a.k.a. ?El Bey? or ?Babe?, soon joined the band on bass, finally giving Pentagram a full and relatively stable line-up. While keeping busy on the live front ? many concerts being shut down by Pinochet's military police ? Reisenegger and company wrote and recorded their second demo, which included the tracks ?The Malefice?, ?Profaner? and ?Temple of Perdition?. Boasting a much more complex and heavier sound and style, the demo II arguably brought the band to the verge of international success, a path ultimately reserved for the aforementioned Sepultura, as sadly Pentagram's days were counted.
Frustration by the lack of results (that is, a recording contract with an international label coupled with the possibility to tour) and the less-than-civilized behavior of Chilean metal crowds (where spitting on the band on stage, either as a sign of approval or rejection, was common practice) began taking its toll on the band. When certain personal problems among band members exploded, Pentagram was effectively over. The last shows were played in 1988, but the band never made it to a stage outside their home country and only twice outside their home town.
Reisenegger went on to form Fallout, a band heavily influenced by Metallica, later to return to more extreme yet modern sounds with Criminal, who enjoyed major success in South America and released several albums on Metal Blade Records. Criminal eventually relocated to Europe where the band is functioning to this day, now signed to Germany's Massacre Records. Reisenegger currently lives in San Sebasti?n, Spain.
Pe?a joined the Chilean thrash metal band Necrosis after the disbanding of Pentagram. He committed suicide in 1990 under obscure circumstances.
Topelberg joined and played with several Chilean bands such as Arkham and progressive metal legends Dorso, also venturing out of the metal spectrum with his participation in Parkinson, Los Pecadores, and more.
Uribe was ? musically ? the least active ex-member of Pentagram following the band's demise. He played in some rock'n'roll bands, focusing mainly on his career as a teacher and personal coach. He now resides in Barcelona, Spain.
Over the years, bands such as Spain's Avulsed, Chile's Torturer, The Netherlands' Pentacle and, most notably, the UK's Napalm Death have recorded cover versions of Pentagram songs, keeping their legacy alive in the underground scene.
In the year 2000 Picoroco Records, under close collaboration with Reisenegger, released a CD compilation of both demos and two live tracks, simply titled ?Pentagram?. The band reformed in 2001 for a one-off show at Santiago's Teatro Providencia with Criminal bassist Juan Francisco Cueto replacing the deceased Alfredo Pe?a on bass. The concert was filmed and recorded and later released on CD and VHS tape by Picoroco.
An upgraded version of the ?Pentagram? album was released in 2008 by Cyclone Empire Records. Dubbed ?Under the Spell of the Pentagram?, the album features a bonus DVD which includes the 2001 reunion show as well as concert footage from the band's legendary 80s performances, as well as newly designed artwork including never-before-seen photos and liner notes by Nicke Andersson (Death Breath, The Hellacopters, ex-Entombed) and Mitch Harris (Napalm Death, ex-Defecation).
Pentagram are currently in the planning stages of a second (and probably last) reunion, which will finally bring the band to European soil in the summer of 2009.
4) Pentagram is also an electronica-rock fusion band from Mumbai, India. The band has been active for quite some time and has released two albums. The latter, Up! was a seminal electronica album in the scene. They are working on a new album due for a release early this year.
THe Band consist of Randolph, Shiraz, Papal and Vishal. They came together in 1994, with a strong need to play individual, original, unique music. This was as much a reaction to the stagnating Indian Rock scene, populated by bands playing mostly cover music, as it was a primal instinct. They did the rounds of college festivals, almost immediately becoming well known and popular, by winning three major rock competitions at the Kanpur, Delhi and Bombay IIT's. They signed a record deal and put out their first album ('We Are Not Listening') in 1996. It was listed by Rhythm House (India's premier record store) as the fastest selling rock album. They released two videos ("The Ignorant 1" and "Yoo") which were frequently played by all the music channels.
Pentagram were MTV India's 'Artist of the Month' in 1997. They also won the Channel [V] awards for Best Live Band and Best Indian Band in 1997 & 1998. They were featured on Channel [V]'s Big Gig show, a showcase of an hour-long live performance.
They played gigs in the Seychelles and all across Indian Campuses, while figuring out their sound When they put out their second album ('Up', 2002), their audiences were taken by surprise. The alternative rock band they had known had added a huge electronic edge to their sound. Pentagram have always maintained that the new sound came out of a burning need to find a way to make music that was uniquely and solely theirs. During the Kargil war, Pentagram recorded and released India's first exclusive-to-internet song, 'The Price of Bullets', which featured famous poet Javed Akhtar and popular Indian Classical artist Shankar Mahadevan. The video, directed by Farhan Akhtar, one of India's most successful young film-makers, was blacked out by channels across the board for being "too politically loaded". It was added as a bonus track on their second album 'Up'.
They became the first Indian Band to top Asian mp3.com charts with six songs going to No. 1 for over two weeks each. ("Drive", "Strange", "Think of Me", "Don't Care", "Is there a Light?", "The Price of Bullets" all featured on 'Up'). Their single, "Think of Me", went to no. 5 in the world on Billboard's talent hunt site. 'Up' was later released and published by their self owned music label, 'Pentagrammusic', produced and distributed by Sony Music (India). It went on to become one of India's highest selling rock albums with more then 15,000 copies sold. A string of awards followed including Best Live Act at the June Rock Out awards in 2003, winning the readers poll for 'Best Indian Band' by Rock Street Journal twice.
Their new edge brought them international recognition, in that the doors of several festivals were flung open to them. They headlined the Sundance Music Festival in Estonia in 2003, a first for any Indian band. They were also invited to, and played at the Glastonbury Music Festival in 2005. This was a real high point, as they not only became the first Indian Act to play there, but also became aware of the real possibilities of their music. They were able to share the stage with contemporary giants like Coldplay, Chemical Brothers, Tori Amos, Fat Boy Slim, White Stripes. Seeing how they stood up to huge acts, and how positive the audiences were, knee-jerked Pentagram into producing their current album. 'It's OK, It's All Good', released by Counter Culture Records in March 2007, has been very well received. The first single off this album, "Voice", won the Song Of The Year at the recent Jack Daniel's Annual Indian Rock Awards the same night Vishal was awarded Vocalist Of The Year. Self assured, more mature, and yet, as edgy as ever, they hope to release this latest effort internationally, as well as tour the festival circuit far more aggressively.