Today’s choice of review is the record that showed me that Black Metal at least had one very good band. At that time I hadn't really heard a Black Metal album that grabbed me by the throat. Some years ago, 7 or 8, me and some friends of mine used to order music from Displeased in Holland. Not all of those who had ordered music shared the same taste of Metal, so there was always a wide variety of music being shipped from Zaandam. The package was ordered in my name, so eventually "The Pagan Prosperity" arrived at my address one day. When you have absolutely no expectations before listening to a record and it holds such quality as the subject of today, that's when you get blown away as we say it. I'm quite thankful that I got my ears on "The Pagan Prosperity", because it sparked my interest for Black Metal and I soon found out that there was more than just one good band within the genre.
"The Millennium King" opens this fine work of Black Metal. The screams of Galder invite you into a song and album, filled with dark emotions. It's not Black Metal that relies on speed, more on groove and atmosphere. They use keyboards to enrich their sound, sort of like underlining the point. When we speak of an OLD MAN'S CHILD record it's impossible to not praise the vocal and song writing abilities of Mr. Galder. His vocal are sort of commanding with an excellent raspy edge, in fact they are perfect training material if you are to be an Extreme Metal vocalist. Just listen to the guy on a song like "Behind The Mask", he sounds truly possessed by some demons from that underworld he praises. In the end of the song "Soul Possessed" you can hear him say something like; "Ĺ Fy Faen", which translate into something like holy fuck, signs that the man gave all he got while recording, that's Metal.
"Behind The Mask", as the other songs, lets the bass player be truly involved in the music, giving him the chance to enrich the music, rather than just play along to it. Gonde, known from TULUS, takes the opportunity and plays the shirt of most of the Metal bassists I've ever heard. If you like "The Pagan Prosperity", I'd advise you to take a listen to TULUS as well, big chance it will satisfy you.
As every song on this record is very good, I will give those I find excellent some space. "Doommaker" is simply one the best songs there are, ranking up there with "Knokkelmann" (CARPATHIAN FOREST) and "JesuSatan" (INFESTDEAD). It's starts with a really good riff and then Gonde joins, inviting us into a fest of havoc. Keys are used brilliantly through the whole song, being at all the right places. Just listen to the chorus of this song, it's fucking genius at display. There are even some clean vocal parts here and it may sound the way satanic monks would sound, as it is more chanted than sung.
The other song I want to give some attention is the brilliant "Return Of The Night Creatures", in my opinion Galder does his best performance of the album on this song, his vocals are almost a wall of sound in itself. The rhythm in this song is also kind of odd, as it almost goes in a Power Metal rhythm. In the middle of the song the tact changes and the keyboard are used heavily to indicate a shift of theme. In this new theme some of the same chanting vocals found shattered around the album are present, along with the keyboard. The best thing, however, is the "duet" between the evil monk and Galder, excellent work.
"The Pagan Prosperity" would appeal to a lot more people than to just those who've already heard or bought it. Therefore I hope that someone checks it out after reading this review. If one person did so, I would call this review a success. Now I've done what I can do, it's up to you to do the rest, enjoy. (Online May 19, 2005)