Pagan Altar‘s status can neither be understated nor undervalued. Although they’re mainly known within doom metal circles, the fact this band never made it out of this small but devoted niche is among the biggest points of frustration when listening to their stunning back catalogue.
Their knack for making everything sound so right cannot be ignored and though it’s of no doubt the underground’s devotion to the band will leave them humbled, it must also make them question what could have happened if history took a more just course.
With the tragic news of Terry Jones‘ passing leaving a lasting hole, it seems a fitting tribute for Temple Of Mystery Records to re-issue their timeless records. Mythical & Magical and The Time Lord are the label’s most recent two offerings which have come at a time when the record resurgence has made them somewhat of a necessity.
Mythical & Magical is the doom connoisseur’s choice when it comes to Pagan Altar‘s catalogue and is held in such high regard due to it having all the hallmarks of a timeless classic. Each instrument is integral to the balance between their harsh riffs and delicate melodies that make the album as fascinating on its first listen as its thousandth one.
Pagan Altar records are essential purchases for anyone who visits this site and Temple Of Mystery Records have done them justice with these dignified re-issues…
Instantly, the thing that makes these re-issues stand out is the clarity of the sound which comes from each instrument. Though earlier issues of this album had an underground charm to them, these re-issues make the band sound much more grandiose without the recording losing its original quality and sounding too ‘modern.’
Telling you what each song sounds like would be impotent in value as there is a 99.99% chance you’ve heard this album in a previous guise but it is worth noting how glorious The Sorcerer sounds on this particular pressing (for maximum glory, grab one bottle of red wine and a 20 pack of Marlboro).
However, if you are uneducated on Pagan Altar and want a more absorbable record as your gateway, The Time Lord may be your answer.
This release serves as an apt beginner’s guide to the band and has a varying collection of moods which make up the Pagan Altar sound. Highway Cavalier sounds particularly awe inspiring on this release and could have been a perfect 45 Single had the band had the opportunities they deserved.
The Time Lord re-issue also comes with the added bonus of a version of the 1978-79 The Night Rider not heard before this release. This sets the Temple Of Mystery release apart from other pressings and contains a much rawer version of the song than the rest of the release. Listening to The Night Rider demonstrates how much raw power the band had and is without a doubt the highlight of the highlight of the EP. Terry Jones vocals’ on this track go to show just why Pagan Altar became so influential to all the current bands paying tribute to their individual take on hard rock.
Pagan Altar records are essential purchases for anyone who visits this site and Temple Of Mystery Records have done them justice with these dignified re-issues.
Scribed by: Alex Varley