Pentagram
Sub-Basement


4.0
excellent

Review

by PsychicChris USER (272 Reviews)
October 10th, 2014 | 8 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sub-Basement isn't on the same level as their classic efforts but it is still a surprisingly good album.

Pentagram's fifth full-length album seems to parallel Day of Reckoning in some ways. The second of the two collaborations between Joe Hasselvander and Bobby Liebling, it was released just two years after Review Your Choices and shows the duo getting a little more comfortable with their circumstances. It's not quite a classic but it just might be the band's most underrated venture to date.

Pentagram's image and style haven't changed all that much but Sub-Basement is one of their most upbeat albums. They've certainly had faster songs before but "Drive Me To The Grave" has a borderline thrash execution previously unseen and the songs are much more chorus-oriented than before. These two factors are best demonstrated on the chugging verses and sing-along hooks on "Bloodlust," but even the slower songs like "Go In Circles (Reachin' For An End)" will get stuck in your head before you know it.

This is further reinforced by the improved production and performances. The production is still pretty heavy but it is cleaner and gives the guitar a looser feel than the previous album. Of course, the vocals are still pretty worn out but they don't get as distracting this time around.

It also helps that the number of songs is the lowest it's been since the 80s, seemingly giving the duo more to work with on each one. There are still a bunch of old songs presented but they fit in better with the tone as the grooves on tracks like "Tidal Wave" and "Target" don't sound as forced. They also keep trying new things as "Buzzsaw" throws out a few quirky vocal effects and the title track invokes an odd ambient intro before the riffs kick in.

Sub-Basement isn't on the same level as their classic efforts but it is still a surprisingly good album. Some elements still make it tricky for new fans to get into this but there are solid songs for those who do seek it out. But in the Pentagram fashion, another dramatic shift kept its ambitions from being fully realized...

Highlights:
"Bloodlust"
"Buzzsaw"
"Drive Me To The Grave"
"Go In Circles (Reachin' For An End)"
"Tidal Wave"

Originally published at http://psychicshorts.blogspot.com



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user ratings (35)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2015


4729 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album manages to create a very depressing atmosphere. There's a certain tone in that guitar that does it. Weird, but great.

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manosg
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2015


11454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Agreed. Bobby himself has said that this is probably his favorite Pentagram due to its depressing nature.

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insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2015


4729 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Since his life in the '00s was most documented, I'd say those years were some of his most troubled one. Still, can't be sure as I don't know much of his '80s-'90s.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2015


11454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Still haven't seen the documentary. I'm afraid it will be depressing af.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2015


4729 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It is because it focuses more on the sad part and less on the actual recovery and the Last Rites comeback. It's happy to see him alive and everything, but it's depressing overall. Plus, there are some gross parts due to his addiction.

wham49
November 11th 2015


4426 Comments


the beginning is more depressing, I saw the doc, when I was just aware of the band, the Last days stuff, but I felt it was actually uplifting, it is a pretty honest telling of a hopoelessly addicted addict. However, it turns to be like I said uplifting, because he pulls himself out of the depths because of love and his devotion to his music; and his vinyl, you have to see it to get the vinyl part. Also, has some good video of the early years

manosg
Staff Reviewer
November 11th 2015


11454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sounds like a backwards rock doc equivalent of Requiem for a Dream.

wham49
November 11th 2015


4426 Comments


you should check it out, starts off sad, but gets much better



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