Pentagram – All Your Sins DVD

pentagram dvd

You know them. They laugh, talk, seem pretty normal, then they suddenly stop and glaze over. The Affected, they have stared into the eyes of Bobby Liebling

Pentagram has as long a history of spellbinding gigs as that of its figurehead’s appetite for self-destruction. This exhaustive DVD of live performances spans thirty years and is, according to the sleeve notes of long-suffering guitarist Victor Griffin, merely the first such offering. The notes further allude to this episode being the cathartic ‘split’ between the band’s tumultuous past, including their brief stint as Death Row, and their more peaceful present. A collection comprising mostly home videos chosen by the band, it surely meets their collective approval.

Our copy highlights inaccuracies in the list of contents, 1983 being the actual year for the solitary Death Row recording on the first of this 2-disc, seven-hour extravaganza. The vast majority of these outings are in intimate settings and intimately recorded: many stage-side which, of course, leads to some seriously distorted sound, though it does enable the 1993 camera to pick up a “Fuck yeah!” close-up from Griffin. It also gives the uninitiated the chance to see why early Pentagram shows were so legendary – the powerful Doom / Classic metal crossover coming out as a booming groove, Griffin’s leadwork as intricate and stellar live as on record, and Liebling’s outfits and alarming antics bewitching. Bobby’s electric, unnerving, occasionally camp and comedic stage persona would arguably have been less startling, less intense and claustrophobic, without those well-documented issues. Indeed it’s easy to forget that his craft would have been well honed by the time the 1985 CBGB’s antics – climbing all over Griffin during his solos, at one point biting his unfortunate guitarist’s arm – stare out from the screen.

That outing as Death Row gives some of the most striking visuals of the whole package: Bobby appearing to be whacked off his tits, his stare ghoulishly affectionate; then-bassist Marty Swaney doing his best ‘Lou Reed‘ impersonation; the face-paint of Liebling and Griffin, plus the latter’s massive poodled hair, not detracting from the weighty music one iota. There’s a moment, during ‘When the Dreams Come’, where Bobby stares round the corner of a shadow: it’s a one-eyed mindfuck that’ll stay with you forever.

Most of the sets here demonstrate the improvement of a band in terms of both presence and musicianship. By 2010 you’d expect some serious slowing in action but Liebling remained at that time a potent force: eyes wild; bony fingers curling frequently around Griffin’s shoulders; biting the mic stands with an uncontrollable tension. Sadly the last two offerings are a major disappointment, with the tinny sound of the distantly-filmed 2012 Oslo concert leading into two songs from the only multi-camera experience, just over a year ago. Thankfully this makes up merely a sixth of the total which, overall, gives a comprehensive and thoroughly enjoyable, if a little over-long, journey through the live history of one of metal’s most intriguing, enduring, and lovable outfits.



Rob Zombie – The Zombie Horror Picture Show (DVD)


rob zombie DVD cover

A DVD from rock showman, master of horror and satanic circus leader Rob Zombie means much in the way of monsters, pyro and fans dressed as the cast of Zombie’s films. All footage is culled from enormous open air show in Texas the atmosphere of which is palpable. Zombie’s vocals may differ wildly in sound from the way they do on his albums but that hardly matters when you consider he has never been a spectacular vocalist to begin with. Indeed it’s all about the full on gonzo theatrics which we have come to know and love and on that score he does not disappoint.


The set features all the devilman’s greatest hits The Zombie Horror Picture Show (Universal Music) gives us great performances of dancefloor fillers like ‘Living Dead Girl’ and ‘Sick Bubblegum’ as well as White Zombie cuts like ‘Supercharger Heaven’. Giant pseudo pornographic projections and some clever camera work make this a feast for the eyes, particularly where the psychedelic reflective images are cleverly employed.


Yet while the presentation is largely of a high standard which gives you a very real live concert experience, the absence of any extras is pretty disappointing. Save the gallery of images of the band to thumb through there are no interviews, backstage footage, music videos or any other titbits to tempt you into parting with your hard earned cash.


What there is however is lots of shots of bare breasted women which feels unnecessarily tacky. Indeed there is so much footage of topless women in the audience you have to wonder if the roaming cameraman had worked in the glamour industry. At the risk of sounding prudish, there is enough cheap titillation on this DVD without the bare fresh to grope at.


At least the camera work is particularly clever following Zombie as he walks through the audience during John5’s solo break in ‘Thunderkiss `65’. The Zombie Horror Picture Show was never going to be a high art concert experience granted but you get the feeling that a guy like Zombie who is famous for his attention to detail and presentation has allowed standards to slip just a little.



Rob Zombie on Facebook