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PENTAGRAM (When The Screams Come) DVD

A PENTAGRAM DVD was long overdue and there could be no better time for the release than 2011 because this year marks the 40th anniversary of the band. But if you take it accurately, the first phase of PENTAGRAM ended in the very late 1970's. Then there was DEATH ROW, which was actually a different band than PENTAGRAM. Basically, it was Victor Griffin who shaped the sound of the later version of PENTAGRAM and everyone who has doubts about it should simply compare the self-titled debut (better known as 'Relentless') with one of the rare 7"'s from the 1970's. Well, I do not want to spend too much time on this, because I have already said this before at another place. Therefore it's about time to focus attention on 'When The Screams Come', which has been released by Metal Blade Records. First off, the DVD is not totally convincing for my taste. That is not the fault of PENTAGRAM, however, it is the result of the location and, above all, the sound quality.

But first things first: The gig was filmed at 2010 Maryland Deathfest and marks the beginning of the renewed collaboration between Bobby Liebling and Victor Griffin. Moreover, this is also the reunion of the mid-1990's lineup of PENTAGRAM, featuring Greg Turley (ex-Countershaft) on bass and Gary Isom (ex-Spirit Caravan, ex-Unorthodox, ex-Iron Man, ex-The Hounds Of Hasselvander and many other bands) on drums. So there are no surprises with the setlist you get delivered. A pity really, because a few months ago the band played songs such as 'South Of The Swamp' or 'Walk In The Blue Light' on their first European tour in 2009. But that was a completely different lineup, so it's only logical that the 2010 setlist was packed with the biggest hits.

As was mentioned earlier, PENTAGRAM was in very good shape at the Maryland Deathfest, especially Bobby Liebling and Victor Griffin manage to be in the centre of attention, not only because they have the best sound (even though the guitar is much too loud). Unfortunately, the drums have been triggered and that does not fit in with the heavy earthy, soulful sound of PENTAGRAM. The location is also very strange. In the background there is a main road with heavy traffic as well as a parking block, and besides it is almost broad daylight. That is definitely not the best atmosphere for music like this.

All the more interesting, therefore, is the camera work and it seems as if the cameramen were eager to try out new things. Until today I am not quite sure what to think. There is a special charm because it's like a fly-on-the-wall perspective, while at other times it is annoying. However, one thing is certain: this particular style of camera work provides an alternative to the typical highly polished DVD's from other bands. I should like to make the point that I was a little disappointed in the bonus material. You only get an eleven minute long interview with Bobby Liebling and that's it. Well ok, the interview is entertaining and informative but we're talking about a band with a history of 40 years. So what about an interview with some of the ex-members or some rare footage from the mid-1990's? I, for one, have an almost complete PENTAGRAM show from 1996, which has been shot in Rockville, MD at Manny's. What I mean to say is that there is more material of the Liebling/Griffin/Isom/Turley lineup that could have been used. To be honest, it would've been better to add this DVD as a bonus to the first edition of 'Last Rites' (review here) instead of releasing it as a standalone product. Despite all of this, 'When The Screams Come' is a must-have for hardcore fans of PENTAGRAM/DEATH ROW.