PAGAN ALTAR – The Time Lord

PAGAN ALTAR is a cult band, from back in the 1970s, playing a mix of Doom Metal and NWOBHM. They put out a self-titled demo in 1982. But as the success didn’t come, as it did with other NWOBHM bands, PAGAN ALTAR was put in the fridge. Until 1998 when the album “Volume 1” was put out, or rather, re-released (so to speak). It was recorded in 1982, but never saw the light of day. The band reformed in 2004 and that same year the EP “The Time Lord” came out as well as the second full-length “The Lords Of Hypocrisy”.

The EP contained 5 tracks, all previously unreleased, but recorded in 1978 and 1979. In 2004 and later it came out on cassette and vinyl. PAGAN ALTAR released their third album, “Mythical & Magical” in 2006, followed by two split releases with JEX THOTH and MIRROR OF DECEPTION. Anno 2012 the Italian label Cruz Del Sur Music decided to re-release the famed EP “The Time Lord” on CD, which had not happened before. This releases occured on the 13th July 2012 and features new artwork. It’s also my first proper acquaintance with PAGAN ALTAR and their music. The EP starts off with “Highway Cavalier”, a short, below 3 minutes song delivering Blues-infused Heavy Metal. As you can expect, it’s old school in terms of music and production. And it rocks! It’s got a nice groove, too, and smokey (by lack of a better term) vocals.

“The Time Lord” is next and quite long with over 8 minutes of playtime. The intro consists of the guitar and drums. When the song does take off, the pace is slower than the previous song. Again those smokey (clean with a rough edge) vocals cannot be denied. The in-between solos/leads give the music a somewhat psychedelic feel. The rhythm guitar on the other hand remains constant, even in the chorus, where luckily you get vocals to distinguish this part from the verses. Almost the entire second half of the song consists of solos, which I can’t disagree with.

In “Judgement Of The Dead” you can hear the noise of the recordings, the vinyl kind of noise. The song takes a Doomy start, in vein of BLACK SABBATH. The clean, high vocals follow suit. As the song advances it’s like BLACK SABBATH meets old MANOWAR. Typical is the rhythm that keeps on going, on and on. Like before, there’s room for solos. So far, I can’t complain. “The Black Mass” is another Doom song, here with catchy licks and rhythm. The chorus is also quite catchy. Music takes the upperhand in terms of balance, which means there’s not much to sing here. This is one of those songs where you just have to close your eyes and enjoy the music. Last but not least there is “Reincarnation”, clocking in after 9 minutes. It begins with a clean, Bluesy intro, almost like a ballad. And the the Doom Metal sets in, still very clean, but that’s alright. The Metal touch gets more prominent at some point. The drums then follow suit, plus the solos come out as do the grooves.

For a first encounter with PAGAN ALTAR, I can safely say it has been very pleasant. Even if I wouldn’t listen to this on a daily (or regular basis). If you’re into old BLACK SABBATH, old CANDLEMASS, DIO, and so on, then PAGAN ALTAR is a band for your collection, as of course is “The Time Lord” EP.

 

Tracklist:

  1. Highway Cavalier
  2. The Time Lord
  3. Judgement Of The Dead
  4. The Black Mass
  5. Reincarnation

 

Line-up on the EP:
Terry Jones – vocals
Alan Jones – guitar
Les Moody – guitar (1-2)
Glenn Robinson – bass
Ivor Harper – drums (1-3)
Mark Elliot – drums (4-5)

 

Current line-up:
Terry Jones – vocals
Alan Jones – guitar
Vince Hempstead – guitar
William Gallagher – bass
Dean Alexander – drums