Pentagram (1971-1977, 1978-1979, 1983-2005, 2008-present): a Doom Metal band from Alexandria, Virginia, USA.


ounded in 1971 Pentagram started as Macabre but by 1978 had changed their name and featured Bobby Liebling (vocals), Victor Griffin (guitar/keyboards), Martin Sweaney (bass) and Joe Hasselvander (drums). The act became most famous as one of the pioneers of heavy metal in the USA, and the subgenre of doom metal in particular. As such, they are considered one of the "big four of doom metal", alongside Candlemass, Saint Vitus and Trouble. The band was prolific in the underground scene of the 1970s, producing demos and rehearsal tapes, but did not release a full-length album until reforming in the early 1980s.

The band struggled for many years to get a record deal and finally decided to launch their self-titled, self-financed debut proto-black metal/doom metal self-titled album in 1985. Although he appeared on the album, Hasselvander left to join Raven to be replaced by Stuart Rose. They finally got a record deal on the indie 'Firebird' label and released the follow-up, Day of Reckoning (1987), but the album failed to raise interest outside of a cult group of fans. The band subsequently called it quits shortly after.

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But the 1990s advanced more into their direction with the rise of doom metal's popularity. The black metal indie label 'Peaceville' bought out their old catalog inspiring the group to reform to release Be Forewarned in 1995 under the direction of Liebling, Griffin, Swaney, while Joe Hasselvander(ex-Raven) returned on drums but was also able to play bass and guitar. Be Forewarned (1994), and Anatolia in 1998 were also released to growing interest.

Human Hurricane (1998) saw Liebling dispense with the old band to enlist Vince McAllister (guitar), Greg Mayne (bass) and Geof O'Keefe (drums). 1999's Review Your Choices saw the act downsized to only Liebling and Joe Hasselvander, as was Sub-Basement (2001), an album that gave a nod to the act's older style. First Daze Here (2001) saw Liebling, McAllister, Mayne and O'Keefe all back. The "best of..." compilation Turn to Stone(2002) preceded A Keg Full of Dynamite in 2003 with Liebling, Sweaney and Hasselvander returning, and Paul Trowbridge and Richard Kueht both taking over the vacant guitar spots.

Pentagram went through another complete line-up shift with Kelly Carmichael (ex-Internal Void; guitar), Adam Heinzmann (ex-Internal Void; bass), Mike Smail (ex-Penance/ex-Cathedral/ex-Dream Death; drums) joining Liebling for Show 'Em How (2004).

By 2011 a new reformation was in the works with a complete new line-up under Bobby Liebling (vocals (lead, backing)), Victor Griffin (guitars/vocals (lead)), Greg Turley (bass) and Tim Tomaselli (drums) for Last Rites (2011); a live album of the same title was released that year as well. Pete Campbell took over drums for Curious Volume (2015).

April 2017, following a period of stability and extensive touring, the band announced that it would play several East Coast dates without Liebling, as a trio of Griffin, Turley and Campbell, with Griffin on vocals. While it was widely speculated that Liebling had entered rehab due to a drug relapse, the singer was in fact arrested and arraigned on charges of first-degree assault and vulnerable adult abuse with physical injury. In October of that year, Liebling plead guilty to "abuse and neglect of a vulnerable adult custodian", and was sentenced to 18 months at the Montgomery County Detention Center.

Pentagram resurfaced in January 2019, announcing new live activity and the return of Liebling and guitarist Matt Goldsborough in place of the again departing Victor Griffin.

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Nation USA
Location Alexandria, Virginia
Genre Doom Metal
Formations 4
Active Years 1971-1977, 1978-1979, 1983-2005, 2008-
Last Modified 2023-10-29
Diskery ID 651

Artists Linked to Pentagram

Aerosmith Candlemass Cathedral
Def Leppard Dream Death Halford
Judas Priest Kiss Megadeth
Penance Raven Saint Vitus

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