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Show 'Em How

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Album Review

2004's Show 'em How marked Pentagram's return to a full-band arrangement, with founder and vocalist Bobby Liebling having apparently fallen out with longtime foil and multi-instrumentalist Joey Hasselvander following 2001's terribly disappointing Sub-Basement fiasco. And a good thing, too, since the addition of former Internal Void members Kelly Carmichael (guitar) and Adam Heinzmann (bass), as well as veteran doom drummer Mike Smail (ex-Cathedral, Penance and Dream Death) serves to re-energize Liebling, and therefore his legendary underground band's tired sound of late. However, one thing that Show 'em How does not change — in fact it exacerbates it — is Liebling's habit of combining re-recorded material from Pentagram's "lost decade" (the 1970s, when they were as prolific as they were poorly documented) with brand new compositions. In fact, the balance of these ten tracks stands at an unprecedentedly lopsided seven to three! But, since those early tunes remain largely unavailable in their original form (some never having exceeded demo-stage to begin with), there's plenty of just cause for resurrecting them here. Especially given the remarkable combination of proto-metallic doom and psychedelic acid rock that drove Pentagram (and Blue Cheer, and Sir Lord Baltimore, and...) at the time when mighty classics like "Wheel of Fortune," "Starlady," "Catwalk," and the beautifully regretful "Last Days Here" were first written. As for the trio of "newbies" (all of which are co-penned by Carmichael), their modest attributes can't help but pale in comparison to the glories of old, which may actually explain their short supply. In any event, regardless of this ongoing old vs. new debate, the startling fact is that Show 'em How mostly lives up to its boastful title: younger generations of heavy metal and doom metal fans simply can't get by without their Pentagram.


Formed: 1971 in Woodbridge, VA

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

One of the most enduring and influential underground bands in heavy metal history, Pentagram's career was almost 15 years old by the time they finally managed to record their first album. Though invariably led by mysterious frontman Bobby Liebling, the band's volatile membership made it difficult to maintain any kind of momentum and kept them confined to metal's outer fringes. But interest in Pentagram's convoluted history continues to grow and their crucial contributions to the development of heavy...
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Show 'Em How, Pentagram
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