Ever wonder how it felt for blues historians to uncover the lost 78s containing Robert Johnson
's timeless Depression-era recordings? Well, if there's a heavy metal equivalent to this experience, then First Daze Here
may well be it. Yet another Pentagram
collection gradually unearthing this once amazingly obscure band's rare singles and even rarer studio recordings, it's not the most comprehensive, nor is it definitive, but it boasts the best selection and certainly the best sound quality. Most of these tracks were recorded between 1973 and 1974 at various low-budget sessions in the Washington, D.C., area by the group's original lineup, and digital remastering has done wonders to resurrect their original power and appeal. What most people don't know is that Pentagram's early work was hardly dominated by the Sabbath
-heavy proto-metal that would characterize their mid-'80s releases. Rather, while this was certainly a core component of the band's sound (see "When the Screams Come" and "Review Your Choices"), their love for the '60s-based psychedelic hard rock of Blue Cheer
was just as pronounced, especially on offerings like "Lazy Lady," "Hurricane," and "Last Days Here." Barnstorming opener "Forever My Queen" is probably their best-known early single, and with reason, as it remains a career high-water mark; but it's long-forgotten gems like "Livin' in a Ram's Head" and the awesome "Be Forewarned" (later given a more traditionally metallic treatment in the early '90s) that will prove especially thrilling to fans of the '70s sonic aesthetic. For them, as well as most serious metal historians, this is an essential purchase.