The weird English cult Metallers PAGAN ALTAR are back on the front line. Unfortunately, this album arrived too late for me to include it in my Top 20 list of 2006, otherwise it would have occupied one of the top positions.
The songs haven’t changed too much, and why should they. Just like the predecessor “Lords Of Hypocrisy”, the current effort only contains songs which were written between 1977 and 1983 and recorded in 2005/2006. This abundance of songs reminds me of the US Power Metal act POWERSURGE which released one album during its lifetime but recorded enough material for two other CDs that were released much later.
Well, so the music of PAGAN ALTAR sounds nicely old-fashioned and, due to the time of recording, very fresh at the same time. Vocalist Terry Jones still sounds like Mark Shelton (MANILLA ROAD) was singing through a children’s trumpet, which without doubt sounds very original. The guitars have that really warm tone that downright delights me and the music itself will certainly make any fan of really old BLACK SABBATH, DEMON and “And The Cannons Of Destruction Have Begun…”-era WARLORD go crazy.
Overall, the melodies have turned out somewhat more opulent. Unfortunately, this should only excite those of us who are over 30 years old. Even though the album contains nothing but highlights, I would like to make special mention of the uber-ballad “The Sorcerer”. Complimented by wonderful female background vocals and outstanding keyboard sounds, this anthem creates a goose-skin atmosphere that everyone should experience. This album is a sonic force and should be worth the money to any old N.W.o.B.H.M. fan.
(Online March 25, 2007)