Sunday Old School: Pentagram Chile
The power of the metal underground can be a truly astounding thing. At times, it can give a band worldwide exposure and a large following even if they haven’t actually released a full length album. One of the best known examples of this would be Switzerland’s, Hellhammer, which of course evolved into Celtic Frost, but another band which would influence countless metal listeners was a group from Chile, who shared their name with an American group that also didn’t release an album until well into their career, a band named, Pentagram. Pentagram, or Pentagram Chile as they now go by, were formed in the Chilean capital city of Santiago in 1985 by singing guitarist, Anton Reisenegger and another guitar player named, Juan Pablo "Azazel" Uribe. They were strongly inspired by the more extreme end of the thrash spectrum and early death metal bands such Possessed, Kreator and Venom.
After recruiting drummer Eduardo Topelberg from a group named Chronos, the trio began working on their musicianship a little more seriously and eventually recorded their first demo, entitled appropriately enough, "Demo 1." Reisenegger handled bass duties for the record and the band began sending out copies all over the world. Two of the people who got a hold of the demo was the Cavalera brothers, Max and Igor, known of course as the founding members of Brazil’s most famous metal band, Sepultura, who at the time had just released their debut album, "Morbid Visions." They struck up a friendship with the two and there was reportedly intention for Max Cavalera and Anton Reisenegger to record an album together, though to date, this has not happened.
Back home in Chile, Pentagram continued to raise their profile by performing live frequently, helped largely by the addition of Alfredo Peña on bass. They shared the stage with bands such as Necrosis and recorded another demo (called, as you might expect, "Demo II.") The clearly improved talents of the band coupled with their live profile saw them receive interest from the Switzerland based record label, Chainsaw Murder Records, who offered the band a chance to record an EP, which was also released in 1987 under the title, "Fatal Prediction/Demoniac Possession." Despite the release, the band felt that success did not seem to be in their future, owing to the lack of interest from labels all over the world, despite their underground popularity. This, along with other factors, led Pentagram to disband in 1988.
Only three years after folding, Reisenegger attempted to revive the band by reuniting with Topelberg under the Pentagram name. Sadly, in the time in which the group were dormant, Alfredo Peña had passed away and so once again, Reisenegger performed bass on a new demo named, "White Hell," on which the only other musician was drummer, Marcelo Ulloa. This new incarnation of the band never got any further than the demo unfortunately and once more, Pentagram was laid to rest.
In the year 2000 however, the band briefly came back to record the live album, "Pentagram Reborn," making them one of the few groups to have released a live record before a full length studio album. Six years later, Reisenegger found himself in good company when he was hired as the new guitarist for the grindcore supergroup, Lock Up, replacing the recently deceased member and Terrorizer founder, Jesse Pintado. The group was a productive use of his time and he remains a member to this day, despite bringing back Pentagram once more in 2009, this time with original bandmate, Juan Pablo Uribe.
The duo began composing material with the intention of finally recording a full length studio album, though delays were frequent due to commitments with Lock Up. In 2012 however, the two, along with drummer, Juan Pablo Donoso and bassist, Dan Biggin (who was known his work with the Chilean thrash metal outfit, Criminal,) put other things aside to concentrate on the new record. Finally, in only September of last year and 28 years after their formation, Pentagram Chile (as they had officially renamed themselves in 2012,) released their first full length album, "The Malefice," through Metal Blade Records. The record has been met with a largely positive response and the band has since performed abroad for the first time, embarking on a European tour which saw them play in Spain, Britain and Norway amongst other countries. Where the band goes from here remains to be seen, but with an album now out and their name being brought up and spread all over the world once more, one can hope that more new material is on the way
Pentagram Chile - "Demoniac Possession"
Pentagram Chile - "Fatal Predictions"
Pentagram Chile - "Profaner"
Pentagram Chile - "White Hell"
Pentagram Chile - "The Apparition"
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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