'Last Days Here' Shows That Even Rock Gods Are Mortal

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In "Two Days In April," director Don Argott and editor Demian Fenton followed four college football players as they entered the NFL draft. With their new film ""Last Days Here" (which they codirected), they embed themselves into the demolished life of Bobby Liebling, frontman of the seminal heavy metal outfit Pentagram, as he attempts to rise from the ashes of self-destruction to reclaim his musical legacy.

Football and heavy metal. The two obviously have a lot in common: pain. And Argott and Fenton bring lots of it, hardcore headbanger-style -- which is only fitting given the wealth of material they discover in this seemingly immortal god of doom.

The story of Liebling is the story of his band Pentagram. Influenced by Black Sabbath, Pentagram recorded a lot of original material that was so ahead of its time as to prefigure doom metal. But when opportunity came knocking they blew it, owing in large part to Liebling's addictive and destructive behavior, which delayed the release of their first album by 15 years.

One story goes that Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of KISS came to a Pentagram rehearsal but, after standing around waiting on two tardy group members, left unimpressed. Another time, the band's demo recording session at Columbia fell apart when Liebling bit his producer's head off over a minor issue. Pentagram disbanded and reconstituted so many times over the next few decades that the "group" nearly faded into obscurity. But the name lived on through critical compilations of the band's work, and their die-hard fans have spurred a resurgence through live shows and the release of new material.

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"Last Days Here" catches up with Liebling, now 51, cracked out on the couch in the basement of his parents' crib in the suburbs. A shadow of his former self, he is attempting to exorcise his demons while planning a comeback with new manager Sean "Pellet" Pelletier. Liebling is so wasted from years of drug abuse he can hardly form a coherent sentence, but he resolves to clean himself up. When Liebling begins his rehabilitation you get the sense it's definitely not the first time; and from his parents' reactions, they probably figure it won't be the last. When he falls in love with a woman half his age and decides to move to Philadelphia to be with her, his parents are trepidatious -- but so relieved to see him move on that they foot they bill for his new digs in the big city.

Liebling's sudden move to the City of Brotherly Love highlights his appetite for destruction. His impulsive decision quickly comes back to bite him in the ass -- the scene in Philly is like a car crash about to happen, and yet it's so perverse you can't turn away. His codependent, obsessive-compulsive nature leads to trouble in paradise when his girl gets fed up with his immaturity and bails. And her decision to take out a restraining order against him doesn't help. What follows is relapse, arrest and incarceration. How Leibling gets himself out of this latest jam, with a little help from his few remaining friends, is near-miraculous and underscores the importance of keeping your friends close and your family even closer.

If you thought being a rock god was easy, try walking in this underground icon's shoes to the crossroads of life and death, and think again.