Monday, August 21, 2017

LP Review: "The Room of Shadows" by Pagan Altar

The Room of Shadows
Everybody loves a story.

Longtime readers may recall my attempts to cast myself as a failed musician, but that's akin to Philip J. Fry being a college dropout....very little effort on my part.

Among the band, which played all originals, had very different ideas about how long it should take to write a song. Free Bird was often cited as the gold standard of how long it could take to make a song.

It took Lynyrd Skynyrd a period of years to finish that tune. So, when my complaining that we'd been working on a song for a couple weeks happened...Freebird would be bandied about.

What is the appropriate time to incubate a song? Or an entire album for that matter? Is it of any consequence to the music if the the entire world has changed in the interim?

Pagan Altar
Well, it took about thirteen years since the time this was written to the time it arrived to my ears. It took nearly a decade a half.

Sadly, The Room of Shadows is the swansong of Pagan Altar. Frontman, Terry Jones, died of cancer in 2015. So, this marks his final vocal performance.

Thankfully it's a damned good one.

They're described as a member of the NWOBHM, but to my ear, there's none of that. It's also in the presser that they're infused with proto-doom elements.

These are all over the place. It doesn't hurt that the aforementioned Jones, has a similar timbre to his vocals as Ozzy Osbourne.

Long considered to be among the first doom bands, Pagan Altar finish out their career by adding in elements of music that are never seen in the genre.

There are a far few speckles of folk music, which is common, but American Folk and European Folk aren't the same thing though the concept is the same.

What Pagan Altar did was add a rollicking pub feel to the music. There's no other band with folk on their bandcamp page that I've heard meld the every man feel of folk music with the vast, grandiose feeling of metal.

Pagan Altar has done that.

It took over thirteen years, but The Room of Shadows came together. It's dark, beautiful, and engaging. Anyone would be proud to  have a cup of tea near the windows.

Release: 8/24/17
Genre: Doom Metal
Label: Temple of Mystery
Formats: LP/CD/Digital

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