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Pagan Altar - The Room of Shadows

Pagan Altar
The Room of Shadows
by Jason “Monotonija” McCraw at 21 December 2017, 8:12 AM

The UK has contributed countless artists to the undying genre of doom metal, and PAGAN ALTAR are one of those bands who refuse to die, as well. Coming off of the heels of member Terry Jones' loss to a year-long battle with cancer in mid-2015, many fans were surprised to see not only a new EP, but the release of this amazing full-length opus, "The Room Of Shadows", which emerged late this year to make an indelible mark upon the long and illustrious history of heavy metal. This is a record that shares some of the darker sides of England's past, and does so in the form of perfect old style doom metal, which has the tendency to never get old.

"The Room Of Shadows" opens with a stoner epic right from the get go; a track entitled "Rising Of The Dead", whose riffs prove heavier than surgical stainless steel, and vocals share a striking resemblance to those on the first BLACK SABBATH self-titled release. The guitars tip-toe like graceful ballerinas over a thunderous low end massacre that plods along like a funeral march through thick woods smothered in early morning fog.

The second track, "The Portrait Of Dorian Gray", sets the stage for "Danse Macabre" perfectly; a song that ripples with the power of BLUE OYSTER CULT’s "Agents Of Fortune" record all the way through. The album progresses flawlessly song after song, exhibiting nothing short of an utter mastery of slow, chomping, and clean doom metal that would make any English metal fanatic proud.

The album's closer, "The Ripper", is a ten minute-plus ballad of mystical magic that just oozes with emotion and knowledge as it lets one of England's dreariest and bloodiest past memories unfurl its pages before the listener's eyes. The sound, while somewhat refined to a genre, somehow retains an air of originality that makes it a more than pleasurable listen. PAGAN ALTAR has proven that age imposes no restrictions whatsoever on good music, and "The Room Of Shadows", a record thirteen years in the making, is proof positive of just that. This is a perfect entry into the annals of doom metal, and I, for one, will be listening to it many more times in my life whenever I get that itch to hear some good old satisfying doom metal.

Songwriting: 8
Oiginality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. Rising Of The Dead
2. The Portrait Of Dorian Gray
3. Danse Macabre
4. Dance Of The Vampires
5. The Room Of Shadows
6. The Ripper
7. After Forever
Diccon Harper - Bass
Alan Jones - Guitars/Vocals
Andy Green - Drums
Record Label: Temple of Mystery Records


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