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Pagan Altar : Mythical & Magical

The name Pagan Altar, to all of us that love old school doom metal and metal in general, has a special value and is well respected. The band's previous releases 'Volume 1' ('Judgment of the Dead' on the vinyl release by Black Widow) and 'Masters Of Hypocrisy' were well received and loved by many for their honesty and nostalgic value. As on those two albums, the songs again come from the period between 1977 and 1983 when the band was together and active. Although they have an old-school sound, at no point do they sound dated. One difference between 'Mythical & Magical' and the band's previous releases is that the epic element of the compositions is more prominent. Also, the themes of traditional music are better incorporated in the structure of the songs. The songs are a bit faster and more aggressive than those on the previous albums, with Alan Jones doing longer and more complex solos without losing his touch for creating heavy riffs.

The album has all of the things you know you'll get from Pagan Altar. Highly melodic parts are skilfully woven with heavy dark parts. The eerie vocals of Terry Jones are the perfect supplement for the music and I truly can't picture anyone else singing these tracks or better narrating the stories within the lyrics. I can't really pick a favourite song. For me all of the tracks are on the same level but I was intrigued by the acoustic and folkish 'The Erl King'. Strangely enough the album includes a song called 'The Witches Pathway' which showcases the bands ability to write radio friendly and commercial material. The song also makes me wonder how, considering the fact this material is from the late 70's and early 80's, a period in which just holding a guitar could get you a recording contract, this band had to wait for almost two decades to see their stuff issued on an official release. Anyway, if you are a fan of old school metal you are going to love this album. Don't forget, it’s very rare that you get a chance to hear an old school band that doesn’t sound so much like Black Sabbath.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Samhein
2. The Cry Of The Banshee
3. The Crowman
4. Daemoni Na Noiche (Demons Of The Night)
5. The Sorcerer
6. Flight Of The Witch Queen
7. Dance Of The Druids
8. The Erl King
9. The Witches Pathway
10. Sharnie
11. The Rising Of The Dark Lord

Duration : Approx. 65 minutes.

Visit the Pagan Altar bandpage.

Reviewed on 14-06-2009 by Dimitris Plastiras
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