Scrambled Brains

Pentemple - O))) Presents… [2008, Southern Lord]

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Pentemple is basically a joining of the band Gravetemple (minus Matt Sanders) with the member of Sunn O))) who wasn’t already in Gravetemple, plus one-man band Striborg.  With that established, the band aims for a blend of black metal (in the drumming, infrequent vocals, and imitation lo-fi) with a doom metal atmosphere and droning bass. 

The two tracks “Pazuzu 1” and “Pazuzu 2” (most likely named for either the demon from The Exorcist series or its Babylonian inspiration) add up to ~45 minutes of sounds (or ~76 on the Japanese edition, which adds one more track) that were presumably intended to be, at the very least, somewhat spooky.  However, it’s difficult to shake the impression that this was something of a metal jam band, as the music with which they go on and on makes very little reference to previous sections of the album beyond general atmosphere and the drummer’s perpetual recycling.  There is some pick-up towards the middle of the second track, as the instruments start coming together, and the end does pull off some nice tone convergence, but the first track feels too extraneous.

Those who are already fans of one or more of the groups involved may find it a treat, and the idea of a drone metal super-group is improbable enough to be a little charming in itself.  For those not already receptive, though, the album may likely come off as overly self-indulgent, unfocused, and boring.  Worth using if you’re looking for a soundtrack to a haunted house, though.

Here’s the alternate cover art.

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