Heavy Metal Heart

Last Days Here is one of the most tragic movies I’ve ever seen. It’s also one of the most unnerving.

The film documents the life of Bobby Liebling, the lead singer for early cult American doom band Pentagram, as he attempts to pull his life together, kick an impressively excessive drug habit, and move on with his life with the help of Pentagram fan and friend Sean “Pellet” Peletier.

Pentagram was a band that should have been huge during the time “after Page [Led Zeppelin] and before the Sex Pistols” but who missed their opportunity, largely due to Liebling’s exploits and destructive behavior.

Liebling is terribly sad, a strung out, mentally damaged man living in his parents (who seem a little off their rockers themselves, his parents, in their own endearing way) “sub-basement.”

But beneath the scabbed skin and brutal addiction is—and I know this sounds naive or sentimental, whatever—a lonely, empty, shell of a man who wants nothing more than to be loved. He just doesn’t know how.

There’s testaments to the band’s importance by members of Pantera, Down and other heavy metal bands. There’s some archival footage of the band in their youth. There’s the fawning fan and friend in Pellet. There’s a love story. And all of it adds up to a truly moving documentary about the delusions we live, the walls we build to keep people at a distance, the pain we often inflict upon ourselves. Beneath all the black clothing, the goat heads and the evil, dark, doom-ridden ethos, the film is about a dreamer, a terrified little kid named Robert Liebling who sang for one of the heaviest and  most respected bands in all of heavy music.

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