"The Room of Shadows"

by Octopi Mills

I have been looking forward to this album. Recorded over 13 years ago and worked on after the death of vocalist Terry Jones, this is reputed to be the final Pagan Altar album. The band has been around since 1978 and would be of interest to folks into old seventies style rock,NWOBHM, doom metal, and possibly to those who are into the music of the classic Manilla Road. Terry Jones givess a fine vocal performance, as always, and has a strange, unique voice that cannot be fully described.

 "The Rising of the Dead" tells a tale of men rising from their graves, whilst "The Picture of Dorian Gray" delves into the Oscar Wilde tale of the same name as Pagan Altar conjure classic things from the shelves of legends, lore, and antiquity- something that evokes the horror writer's atmosphere amongst the olde English countryside to which the men were bourne...The sound is clear and crystalline, and the guitars are masterful and make use of old vintage tones with a use of clean and warm strings and it is obvious the album was mastered and mixed with great care. The old world feel of classic supernatural that Mercyful Fate (possibly my favorite band of all time) conjures is felt here, though in difference of artistic variance. Guitarist Alan Jones must be horribly overlooked in the music realms and his performance is novel and venerable as he moves with skill and ease through these songs that are like musical versions of an old dusty book of thrice told tales. The clear sound brings to my mind October and her clean night airs amidst the oaken groves of olde. 

"Dance of the Vampire" is as old as it is new and brings back childhood memories and the eldritch nostalgia of demons and monsters that have sprang from my toy box to soak in the moonlight…ah, the dusts of  an old attic mind. One feels he has found an old secret ancestral chamber that houses his uncle's old lore where a skeleton stands in the corner on display. "The Room of Shadows" fulfills this wonder as it sounds from the bardic halls and banquets of high praise. Listen, as the child follows his bouncing ball into the room of shadows prepared for you by the Jones name and the fellows called Andy Green and Dicon Harper. These countrymen who hold an old lantern glow like the open road holds the wayward call and the bonfire holds the naked flames of classic magic. The music holds an elder feel; a certain mastery highly sought by certain seekers that  can only be found in the cabinets of the cunning man and the keep of his old heart's glow. "The Ripper" is lovely velveteen horror and intrigue as they continue to channel electricity through mere wall outlets that steal from the elemental air that houses life itself and the secrets of our very creation. The music is inspiring and classic in "The Ripper" and in my mind's eye I see the band's logo; that old,bearded figure watching me. "After Forever" ends the affair in a very fitting manner, like the final end piece to a book, and echoes the fate of what was to come to old Terry and to us all. We will all fall like leaves from the tree, and no man will cheat the Reaper when his glow has grown to barely glowing coal. This being said, let it be known there is a cassette version of this. A album of the year and more, this one is highly recommended for the season, or for a autumnal gift for someone to spin on their record player .... R.I.P, Terry Jones and Pagan Altar