"Under the Black Cross" (Ibex Moon; 2007)

Reviewed by Metal Mark

"Under the Black Cross" was originally released overseas in 2005, but is just now being released to the U.S. market. Pentacle has been around since 1989 and that may explain the large influence of old style thrash and early black metal influences that dominate this release. 

I can easily hear Venom, Possessed and early Bathory scattered throughout the nine tracks on this CD. The guitar parts are easily the strongest point of this album and the intensity with which they are played overall helps make up for a slight lack of originality. 

Unfortunately, it seems as if the strongest parts of almost every song happen within the first minute and a half or so. Then the band often has some difficulties maintaining the energy level and that does indeed hinder the effectiveness of several tracks. There were several occasions where my attention was drifting in the middle of a song because they were losing a little control and the track would tend to drift away. 

The vocals are harsh and rough, but repeated plays helped me adjust to them and they work well enough. The production of the overall album deserves to be mentioned as well because the slightly raw production keeps the sounds distinct and just enough in-your-face to really take effect. 

Likely, "Under the Black Cross" is nothing you've not heard before, but the overall force with which Pentacle tackle their material help make it worthwhile for fans of thrash. 

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Aug 2022 15:32:20 -0400 .