Having had the honor of meeting this entire band and getting to have a long conversation with Bobby (Liebling, vocalist), might make me a bit biased. However, I can honestly say without a doubt that Pentagram is one of my favorite bands of all time. As far as my personal rating, I would put them maybe half a step below Sabbath. The band has a HUGE history of members and events that have happened over the past 40-plus years and I’m honoured to be able to write this review.
When speaking in doom metal terms, it’s always about the riffs. However, I need to address something before we get to how great a guitarist Victor Griffin is. Awesomely enough after the switch of drummers between Sean Saley, who went on to join The Skull (and is also a good friend of mine), and Pete Campbell, also known as Minnesota Pete, Campbell is from my home state of… you guessed it, Minnesota. Both are great drummers, however Campbell ended up being a great fit. His swing grooves on this album are fantastic and really add that dash of old school rock’n’roll to the essence of Curious Volume. It sometimes feels like the drummer of doom bands gets left behind with simple and repetitive beats, but Pete shines through and really leaves his mark.
Now we can’t leave out how great the guitar work is. Victor Griffin knows his way around the fret board, and it’s evident that he’s going down in history as one of the greats. Just look at his work in his band Place of Skulls. The last album he released under that name, As a Dog Returns, was fantastic and one of my favorite albums he’s been on besides his Pentagram resume. Songs likes “Because I Made It” and “The Devil’s Playground” have so much emotion poured into them by the guitars, and that doesn’t count Bobby’s vocal performance, which is key to the Pentagram sound.
Curious Volume is a really solid album. It really picks up from where Last Rites left off and continues to progress even further. There is a moment or two that gets a bit dull, but when you round everything out the album comes out glistening and nearly flawless. Fantastic release by a fantastic band.