Pagan Altar – a name that conjures visions of one of the most mystical bands to have ever emerged from the NWOBHM movement – were a band who ably mixed ’70s proto-doom with English folk, hard rock and heavy metal and they were responsible for some of the most resplendent compositions of the era; particularly on the mystical yet sinister Volume 1, and more recently, the awe-inspiring Lords of Hypocrisy and Mythical & Magical.
Pagan Altar’s influence was widespread, spawned by the new wave of british heavy and at the forefront of what would become doom metal, their fusion of traditional heavy metal and the classic doom metal sound they themselves pioneered successfully wound back the clock to the glory days of Sabbath, Necromandus and Witchfinder General.
This updating of folk staples and classic heavy metal is particularly showcased on the outstanding opener “Rising Of The Dead” and the alluring “The Ripper”. A time-warp of NWOBHM licks, impassioned vocals, vintage songwriting and crushing doom metal meets hard rock riffs, the artistry on display here is utterly breathtaking as Pagan Altar take their final bow with pride and integrity firmly intact.
An insanely underrated band; doom metal simply wouldn’t be doom metal if it wasn’t for Pagan Altar.
A bit of history for you: The Room Of Shadows was originally written 13 years ago and has gone through various shapes and incarnations until finally being completed two years after the tragic passing of Pagan Altar’s beloved frontman, Terry Jones. Not only is The Room Of Shadows Pagan Altar’s final record, it’s also Terry’s very last vocal performance and picks up where Mythical & Magical left off. Admirers of their previous works will be pleased to hear that this album is just as timeless, with its epic hard-rocking riffs and enchantingly poetic (yet macabre) lyrics of olde.
With The Room Of Shadows, Pagan Altar’s legacy remains unblemished and this is a fitting epitaph for an often undervalued band. 8/10