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Pagan Altar - Mythical & Magical (Reissue)

Pagan Altar
Mythical & Magical (Reissue)
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 05 December 2019, 11:57 AM

When Doom Metal arose from the passion of many bands for earlier musical elements that BLACK SABBATH laid during its three earlier albums, many bands embraced the genre. SAINT VITUS, WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE OBSESSED, TROUBLE, CANDLEMASS and others unleashed a storm in the scene with their slow paced tempos and bitter musical ambiances, but never forgetting the melodies. Another name from the past is the English team PAGAN ALTAR, and their album “Mythical & Magical” album is being reissued once more.

On the album, the purest form of Doom Metal is presented, but with some melodic elements from Hard Rock from the 70’s appearing as well on the melodies. Their main difference from many contemporary comrades is their melodic approach that is not as somber and rusty as them. The aesthetic is to create something that can fit into NWOBHM, but being a Doom Metal act. And such music worked on the hands of veterans like them gleam as precious gems. The album was produced by their vocalist Terry Jones (that passed away on 2015) along with Alan Jones (the band’s guitarist), being mastered originally by Michael Hahn, and remastered by Dave Blackman. All to give the band a modern sound quality that could be clean and heavy, but keeping their musical identity. And it works perfectly for the band.

The songs are all fine, but the listeners must pay special attention to the heavy and somber “Samhein” (very good slow tempos, using a heavy work from bass guitar and drums), the thunderous and charming guitar riffs presented on “The Cry of the Banshee” (very good melodies, indeed), the Country music touch heard on “The Crowman”, the NWOBHM melodic weight shown on “Daemoni na Hoiche (Demons of the Night)” and on “Flight of the Witch Queen”, the grasping weaving melodies of “Dance of the Druids”, the accessible Hard Rock essence of “The Witches Pathway”, and the mastodonic smashing weight of “The Rising of the Dark Lord” (good work from guitars and vocals), that are the ones that justify this new reissue of the album.

“Mythical & Magical” can sound a bit outdated for modern fans of Metal, but for those who are into this life for, at least, 20-25 years, will love PAGAN ALTAR’s work

Musicianship: 8
Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Samhein
2. The Cry of the Banshee
3. The Crowman
4. Daemoni na Hoiche (Demons of the Night)
5. The Sorcerer
6. Flight of the Witch Queen
7. Dance of the Druids
8. The Erl King
9. The Witches Pathway
10. Sharnie
11. The Rising of the Dark Lord
Terry Jones - Vocals
Alan Jones - Guitars
Trevor Portch - Bass
Mark Elliot - Drums
Dean Alexander - Drums on “The Cry of Banshee” and “The Crowman” (session)
Louise Walter - Keyboards (session)
Valerie Watson - Vocals (session)
Rosanne Magee - Vocals (session)
Record Label: Temple of Mystery Records


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