Band: Pagan Altar
Album: The Room of Shadows
Release Date: 24th August, 2017
Label: Self Released
Review by Sean
Ahhhhhh, this is fucking sublime from start to finish. It’s EXACTLY my sort of metal. What it is, is the latest offering from one of England’s finest bands of all time, Pagan Altar, and if you don’t like what they have to offer by the end of listening to this, then I have no hope for you.
Joking aside though, I was in love with this album from minute one. It serves as the perfect send off for a band that is surely one of the world’s most under rated, and a perfect tribute to their singer, Terry Jones, who sadly passed in 2015.
The album was to come out in 2014, but the band didn’t feel it was good enough for release, so it was shelved, and re-recorded this year, and released with its new title, and I for one, am glad they took the time to re-record it, as it truly is a testament to that old school NWOBHM sound that you just don’t really get any more. It stands up against anything else the band have done, and easily goes up alongside their fellow British metallers Iron Maiden or Witchfinder General with how much this album takes on a Celtic, doom-laden sound.
Indeed, aside from one track, ‘The Portrait of Dorian Gray’, and one part of my favourite track, ‘Danse Macabre’, which, I think borrows heavily from Kansas’ ‘Carry On Wayward Son’, the tempo of this album is a very methodical one, never really going much faster than it needs to, and that is a good thing. I said before that this is my type of metal, and it is. I could listen to bands like this all day every day and never have any complaints. I love the work that goes into perfecting each part of a song. The dark, dreary vocals, the guitar work that changes pace and tone without a moments notice, the drumming, punctuating the sound, moving everything along and keeping things kicking when they need to be kicked.
What I’m about to say is going to sound a bit stupid, given that this is a review for a Pagan Altar album, but this album proves why Iron Maiden are truly the best band in the world. They have this sound as well, and it shows talent, craft work, and an ability to keep a sound relevant despite the times moving on. Pagan Altar’s (possibly, but probably) final showing is truly a masterpiece that shows that, had the evil of cancer not struck Terry Jones, they could easily be up there with the best of them, and, honestly, even though there’ll likely not be anything more from Pagan Altar as we knew it, people should get behind this band. They’re a link to where we came from, musically, as metalheads, and despite that, they’re still as great now as any other band on the planet like them. Any. Other. Band. Well done Terry, I hope you’re looking on proud of your lasting legacy to the world. Ten out of fucking ten.
Visit the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Pagan-Altar
Get the album here: paganaltarofficial.bandcamp.com