PENTAGRAM was formed in 1985 by Anton Reisenegger (vocals, lead guitar) and Juan Pablo Uribe (rhythm guitar), two teenagers whose main interests were underground metal and alcohol. Influenced by the likes of SLAYER, VENOM, KREATOR and POSSESSED, the pair started writing songs in Reisenegger’s bedroom until their live debut on December 28th, 1985 with Eduardo Topelberg of CHRONOS helping out on drums.
The band spent most of 1986 rehearsing and perfecting their sound, until recording their first demo tape in January 1987. With Topelberg now in the band as an official member and Reisenegger handling bass duties in the studio, the “Demo I” included three tracks, “Fatal Predictions”, “Demoniac Possession” and “Spell of the Pentagram”, the first two of which were later released as PENTAGRAM’s infamous 7” single by Switzerland’s Chainsaw Murder Records.
In September of the same year, the band entered the studio again to record their “Demo II”, now with a permanent bass player, Alfredo Peña. Including three tracks again – “The Malefice”, “Profaner” and “Temple of Perdition” – the recording showed a much more mature PENTAGRAM with complex song structures and intricate riffs, yet without losing any of the band’s raw, brutal energy.
Soon PENTAGRAM were playing to hundreds of fans in Chile and being handled as one of South America’s most promising death metal bands in the burgeoning international metal undeground, but the band broke up in early 1988. Internal troubles, the frustration of a record deal that didn’t materialize and especially the Chilean crowd’s custom to spit on the bands that were playing on stage had taken their toll on the band.
However, the PENTAGRAM demos kept spreading worldwide through tape trading far beyond the band’s demise, inspiring a whole generation of extreme metal musicians including NAPALM DEATH, ENTOMBED, DARKTHRONE and AT THE GATES.
In 2001 the band (minus bassist Alfredo Peña, who committed suicide in 1988) reunited for a one-off show in Santiago, only days before Reisenegger relocated to Europe, at what seemed like the final chance they would ever have to play together again. The concert was filmed and later released on CD and VHS.
However, a compilation of the demo material released by Cyclone Empire Records in 2008 reignited interest in the band, so the three original members reunited once again in 2009, touring in their home country and then Europe. The tour included an appearance at the Wacken festival, a headlining slot at the Hell’s Pleasure festival, as well as headlining shows in London and Oslo.
Encouraged by the fans’ response and the renewed band chemistry, they decided to carry on and finally record their first studio album in 2011. Yet the band suffered another setback when drummer Eduardo Topelberg failed to perform during the studio sessions. The recordings were scrapped and the album was delayed for another year, when the band regrouped with veteran Chilean drummer Juan Pablo Donoso (SADISM, EXECRATOR, THRONAFIRE).
In the meantime, the band decided to officially change their name to PENTAGRAM CHILE in order to avoid confusions with the much longer running US doom rock band fronted by Bobby Liebling.
The album, titled “The Malefice”, was finally completed in early 2013. Recorded at drummer Juan Pablo Donoso’s Sade Studio in Chile and HVR Studios in the UK, the main part of the record consists of all-new material written by founding members Reisenegger and Uribe. However, the band also re-recorded their demo material from the 1980s, which will be included in the album’s first edition as a bonus disc.
With “The Malefice” set to be released on September 6th, PENTAGRAM CHILE are already confirmed to co-headline London’s Live Evil Festival in October. The band is also working on a book to document their improbable and turbulent history.