Aug 16, 2012
Pagan Altar - "The Time Lord" ...
That press release may be a little over the top but there is no doubting what an important band Pagan Altar has been for the development of the doom metal genre. This is interesting because the band has never been a doom metal band really. They formed in 1978 and were part of the N.W.O.B.H.M movement of the early 80's even though they went largely unnoticed for many years. It also has to be pointed out that this new release isn't new at all, it is actually a reissue of early material that originally surfaced on demos and then on the EP of the same name released in 2004. Despite it being a bit disappointing there is nothing new to hear here, it is still a worthy reissue of 5 tracks that have stood the test of time very well indeed. None of these tracks sound too dated but if there is a track that does sound a little weather-beaten, it would be the opening track 'Highway Cavalier' which sounds a little ancient to my ears. The riffing on the track sounds pure early 80's, hear it and you will know what I mean, you just don't hear riffing like this much anymore but any dissatisfaction with the riffing is soon blown away by the killer lead that opens the EP. That tune is followed by the title track which carries a similar vibe although has a more timeless feel about it but from here on, you get nothing but classic Pagan Altar.
'Judgment Of The Dead' and 'The Black Mass' are filled with wonderful melodies, killer riffs, exciting vocals and more hair-raising leads. Most readers of this site would know these songs like old friends but for those that have been living under a rock someplace, this is classic doom-tinged heavy metal - the kind that simply NEVER dates. The best (in my opinion) is saved for last with 'Reincarnation' which is a perfect melting pot of sabbathian meets Judas Priest-esque riffing and melody and then the EP all comes to a all-too quick ending. Whoever came up with the original idea to reissue these classic tunes deserves his or her own statue somewhere. It is about bloody time the original Pagan Altar releases got a make-over and while I would prefer to hear brand new material, this is still an essential release for ALL metal heads, not just doom metal fans. I must also remind you that this is just the first of reissued Pagan Altar albums set to be released by the end of 2012 if the information I have read is correct. It is true that some passages on 'The Time Lord' sounds a little long in the tooth nowadays but the killer riffage, leads and vocals make up for all of those moments.....8/10.
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